Release: June 22, 2018
Label: Century Media
Viktoria is the impending 14th record by Swedish black metal veterans Marduk. Viktoria suffers under the weight of a completely forgettable first half that sounds like the band decided that rather than sprinkle filler throughout the course of the record to just go ahead and put it all at the beginning. From the weak pseudo-punk album opener, “Werewolf,” to the slow, repetitive, dragging, and forgettable “Tiger I,” the first four tracks fail to build any real momentum. It’s not until the midway point, a track called “Narva,” that things turn around. I would go so far as to say that “Narva,” or even it’s direct successor, a brisk, ever shifting track called “The Last Fallen,” would have been better candidates to open the album. “Viktoria” and “The Devil’s Song” are fast, chaotic tracks built around dissonant and often melodic instrumentation. Album closer “Silent Night” is the slow, sludgy track that “Tiger I” wishes it was. Viktoria is a decent record, made weak by poor structuring. Inundating the listener with four tracks of filler right from the outset is not a good way to set the tone for your record. Viktoria is also a good sounding record. All of the instruments fit nicely into their respective spaces. The guitars are tight and defined without sounding thin and sterile and the vocals ride nicely over the top without overpowering anything. The snare drum may be a tad weak in the mix though, particularly during blasting sections. While it may not be as strong as its predecessor, 2015’s Frontschwein, Viktoria is still a listenable and mostly enjoyable record.