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SWEDEN, Norrköping

Date Formed 1990

Categories: Black Metal

MARDUK

Current Members

Past Members

Studio Session Members

Biography

An extreme Norrköping Black / Death Metal band initially going by the sacriligious title of GOD, switching names to that of the Sumerian illegitimate deity MARDUK in 1990. Since then the band has rapidly elevated themselves into the Black Metal premier league by way of a stream of consistently high quality albums.

MARDUK was created in 1990 by ex-Punk Rock act MOSES' guitarist 'Mr. Evil' (a.k.a. Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson). The first demo featured ex-LUCKY SEVEN vocalist Andreas Axelsson. Other musicians included guitarist Joakim 'Grave' Göthberg, previously a member of GRIMORIUM, and bassist Rickard Kalm. MARDUK's less than tactfully titled, and now notorious, 'Fuck Me Jesus' EP of 1991, actually their first demo, at first a cassette tamely branded 'Demo#1', pressed onto vinyl, was graced with a sleeve depicting a naked woman inserting a crucifix between her legs from behind. Unsurprisingly the record was swiftly banned across Europe, naturally only serving to accelerate sales and notoriety.

This same unit This unit cut tracks for an intended EP, the thoroughly brutal 'Here's No Peace', in December 1991 at Hellspawn Studios but these tapes did not make it to commercial release. Instead, the tracks were disseminated in demo form. MARDUK signed to No Fashion Records but by the time the group's debut, the half hour of unbridled aggression known as 'Dark Endless', arrived in June 1992 MARDUK's line-up had shifted to Håkansson, Axelsson, Göthberg, guitarist Magnus 'Devo' Andersson and ex-CHAINED and ALLEGIANCE bassist Roger 'Bogge' Svensson (a.k.a. B. War'). Despite its ferocity, 'Dark Endless', self-produced by mixed by DAN SWANÖ, did involve some degree of experimentation with riffs ratcheted down to Doom ponderosity and near melodic passages. These aberrations were soon to be resigned to history as MARDUK honed their craft.

MARDUK switched loyalties over to the rapidly expanding French label Osmose Productions, a union which would serve the band for a lengthy and productive period. Prior to the ensuing 'Those Of The Unlight' album, released in October 1993, Göthberg assumed the lead vocal role as Axelsson had left to join EDGE OF SANITY. Andersson also left to concentrate on his various project bands; such as ALLEGIANCE, OVERFLASH and CARDINAL SIN. Göthberg joined Andersson as the drummer in CARDINAL SIN before founding DARKIFIED.

'Those Of The Unlight' is generally recognised as MARDUK's zenith of zero tolerance Black Metal. The group captured a sound that married raw Black Metal with an underlying groove quality enhanced by a crystal clarity not normally associated with the genre. This set of characteristics stood the band apart from the faceless pack of bands baying at their heels.

With third album, the blizzard-like blast-fest 'Opus Nocturne' emerging in December 1994, the group would tour Europe the same year supporting IMMORTAL on their 'Sons Of Northern Darkness" tour. In June 1996 the 'Heaven Shall Burn...When We Are Gathered' album, noticably devoid of keyboards, was issued. Here the band presented two distinct new variations to their sound, the album being the first to employ fresh vocalist Legion (a.k.a. Erik Hagsted) of prior BLACK GOAT and OPHTHALAMIA repute, and also greatly accelerating on velocity. 'Heaven Shall Burn...When We Are Gathered' betrayed not the merest hint of respite in the speed stakes. MARDUK also released the 'Glorification' EP that November, which featured the band's cover versions of tracks by PILEDRIVER's 'Sex With Satan' and 'Sodomize The Dead', DESTRUCTION's 'Total Desaster' and BATHORY's 'The Return Of Darkness And Evil'. The limited release vinyl variants also included a take on VENOM's 'Hellchild'

At this point in time MARDUK's line-up consisted of Håkansson, also an active member of ABRUPTUM, vocalist Legion, OVERFLASH guitarist Kim Osara, bassist B. War and drummer Fredrik Andersson. Göthberg had decamped to found DIMENSION ZERO, a high profile union with IN FLAMES guitarist Jesper Strömblad, ex-IN FLAMES six stringer Glenn Ljungström and LUCIFERION and DIABOLIQUE drummer Hasse Nilsson.

For their 1996 European tour MARDUK drafted in their producer and HYPOCRISY and ABYSS guitarist Peter Tägtgren as a stand in member, although plans were laid to convene ex-NECROPHOBIC and DARK FUNERAL member David 'Blackmoon' Parland into the fold. These dates produced the concert recording 'Live In Germania'.

In 1997 the group's 1991 'Here's No Peace' sessions were finally released as an EP by Shadow Records. The band's choice of accompanying artwork, a German WWII Panzer IV tank bordered with the EP title in the of an SS cuffband, was to strongly mould public perception of the band. That October MARDUK utilised Abyss studios with Peter Tägtgren behind the desk to collaborate on the 'Nightwing' album. Surfacing in April 1998 'Nightwing', loosely themed on the exploits of Vlad the Impaler, by way of closing 'Dracul Wayda', 'Kaziklu Bey (The Lord Impaler)', 'Deme Quaden Thyrane' and the triumphal 'Anno Domini 1476', opened up a far wider audience internationally for the band. Those in the Black Metal world who had until now been ignorant of MARDUK's presence would acquiesce to the blistering pace of their blast beat arsenal.

Various members of MARDUK collaborated with Swedish Punk act WOLFPACK to create MOMENT MANIACS. The recordings resulted in the 1999 'Two Fuckin' Pieces' album. Also arriving in March that year, and continuing the band's tank theme, would be the 'Panzer Division Marduk' opus. With advance associations having being drawn towards this album's title, the group's eagle motif and the use of a Nazi war machine on their 'Here's No Peace' EP, MARDUK deftly side stepped any allegations of right wing sympathies by branding 'Panzer Division Marduk' with a British tank. However, track titles such as 'Christraping Black Metal' and 'Fistfucking God's Planet' showed there had been little room for compromise on the religious front. Once again MARDUK had changed tack musically, the album being so witheringly fast that a new terminology of "Norsecore" was now applied, to describe the collision point where Black Metal is performed so fast it meets Grindcore head on. On the road in Europe during October of 1999, the group joined a heavyweight billing comprising DEFLESHED, ANGEL CORPSE, AETERNUS and CANNIBAL CORPSE.

2000 saw the issue of an MCD 'Obedience' featuring MARDUK's rendition of CELTIC FROST's 'Into The Crypt Of Rays'. US editions, put out by Century Media, dropped the original bondage sleeve but added a welcome crop of live tracks. MARDUK members also contributed to the 2000 album 'The Howling' by DEVILS WHOREHOUSE.

The band celebrated their 10th anniversary with the issue of a double live album. 'Infernal Eternal' was comprised of live tapes collected from the French leg of their 1999 world tour. The now rare 'Here's No Peace' EP would also be re-issued once again, this time by by Blooddawn Productions in 5000 numbered copies, adding two BATHORY covers 'In Conspiracy With Satan' and 'Woman Of Dark Desires'.

A fresh studio album 'La Grande Danse Macabre' arrived in March 2001. An American release for this, as well as the 'Obedience' and 'Infernal Eternal' efforts, was arranged with the Century Media label for North and South America. 'La Grande Danse Macabre' found MARDUK at their most dangerously schizophrenic, pitching their trademark Norsecore against sluggish Doom like a psychotic pendulum.

Touring in America found the band as strong support to DEICIDE for a run of dates with other running mates GORGUTS and ALL OUT WAR during May. The group then returned to Europe for a month of headline shows before rounding things off on July 23rd with an appearance at the Belgian 'Grasspop Metal Meeting' headlined by MOTȪRHEAD and JUDAS PRIEST. This bout of touring would land the band in controversy when gigs in Eastern Europe and Russia were cancelled at the last minute. The band had been advised these shows were no longer part of the schedule and curtailed the tour only to find their tour manager had stolen the entire tour income. The felon was later arrested.

Outside activity would find MARDUK donating a set of music to a video for American Motocross star Brian Deegan. Entitled 'Deathride' the track was in fact earlier 'Panzer Division Marduk' material compiled into a medley and overlain with new lyrics.

A projected Autumn 2001 headline U.S. tour with AMON AMARTH, KATAKLYSM and DIABOLIC was postponed when the band ran into customs difficulties due to various band members criminal records. Earlier American officials had congratulated the band in writing for not postponing in the wake of the September 11th World Trade Center and Pentagon disasters. The tour would be re-set for January 2002 but once again MARDUK suffered setbacks on trying to enter the USA as AMON AMARTH and DIABOLIC began the tour minus the headline act.

The new year ushered in a lavish MARDUK limited edition box set entitled 'Blackcrowned' comprising of two CDs of rare and unreleased material, vintage rehearsals, re-recorded archive tracks, a MISFITS cover version plus a video. MARDUK would part ways with drummer Fredrik Andersson during March of 2002. His replacement would be swiftly announced as Emil Dragutinovic of NOMINON, LEGION and occasional lead vocalist with SPAWN OF POSSESSION.

MARDUK looked set to finally tour America throughout the summer of 2002 as special guests to DANZIG. However, literally within hours of this announcement it seemed the Swedes age old problems with U.S. immigration had curtailed these plans. The band would co-headline an impressive cast for European 'Xmas Festivals' in December strongly supported by SIX FEET UNDER, IMMOLATION, KATAKLYSM, DYING FETUS and HATE. Later gigs in Holland added veteran Thrashers EXODUS to the bill.

On September 21st, MARDUK bassist B.War became the proud father of a son suitably named Damien. The band's next recorded offspring would be provisionally entitled 'Funeral War' (later switched to 'World Funeral') and slated for February 2003. The band revealed a cover version of POSSESSED's 'Phantasm' had been laid down in these sessions which duly turned up as part of a teaser EP entitled 'Hearse'. The 'World Funeral' album itself would witness a special picture disc variant, limited to just 1500 pieces.

The band's continuing ascendancy would be further progressed as MARDUK was confirmed as participants in the April 2003 European 'No Mercy' festivals. The group formed up part of a heavyweight billing comprising TESTAMENT, DARKANE, DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, PRO-PAIN, MALEVOLENT CREATION, DEATH ANGEL, and CALLENISH CIRCLE. Fans would be in for a welcome surprise at the 'Party.San Open Air' festival in Germany that August as former vocalist Joakim Göthberg took to the stage to guest on 'The Black'. This performance was captured on film for inclusion in a DVD 'Funeral Marches And Warsongs'.

The band announced an EP release entitled ''Porträtt Av Döda Barn', although this idea was subsequently scrapped. Road work found the band on an extensive South American trek during October and November, performing in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico. However. In an unexpected move, vocalist Legion suddenly quit in mid November. Projected appearances in Greece and the 'Blackest of the Black' festival in London were duly cancelled.

MARDUK's January 2004 DVD compilation 'Funeral Marches And Warsongs' comprised live footage from La Loco in Paris, France, Katowice, Poland and the Party.San Open Air festival in Bad Berka, Germany as well as promotional clips for 'World Funeral' and Hearse'. MARDUK announced their new vocalist in February as being Mortuus, previously known as 'Arioch' as frontman for FUNERAL MIST and TRIUMPHATOR. New recordings set for a 2004 album would see a collaboration between MARDUK and the Industrial militaristic percussion project ARDITI, a venture of Henry Möller from PUISSANCE and Mårten Björkman. In May a further line up reshuffle saw bassist B.War opting out and being superseded by Magnus Devo Andersson, former second guitar player on the first two albums 'Dark Endless' and 'Those Of The Unlight' and recently pursuing his own project LAID TO REST. Due to this change in personnel the group pulled out of their scheduled performance at Germany's 'Rock Hard' festival.

In August former MARDUK members Legion and B.War united with guitarist Jim Durkin of DREAMS OF DAMNATION and DARK ANGEL repute in a new, Los Angeles based Death Metal project. Meantime, MARDUK themseves cut a new album 'Plague Angel' at Endarker Studios in Norrköping. 'Plague Angel' would also be issued as a limited edition vinyl variant in 1000 hand numbered copies whilst another restricted run of CD digipacks added the promotional video for 'Steel Inferno'.

To close out the year, MARDUK, commencing their 'Deathmarch' world tour, would be announced as one of the main attractions at the annual 'X-Mass Fest' 2004 roving European festival dates in alliance with NAPALM DEATH, FINNTROLL, VADER, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and BELPHEGOR. A special EP, dubbed 'Deathmarch', would be made available for release only at these shows. However, on 12th February drummer Emil Dragutinovic had his arm broken in a baseball bat attack, forcing the band to cancel their UK dates.

Meantime, 'Plague Angel' saw a belated US release in March of 2005 through Candlelight Records. Erstwhile band members Legion and B. War also announced details of their new endeavour, the Santa Fe Springs, California based "dark Heavy Rock band" REBELANGELS.

MARDUK toured Europe and Scandinavia throughout September 2005 with support from MYSTIC CIRCLE. However, the last three scheduled shows, in Denmark and Sweden, would be cancelled when the band's bus broke down in Germany. The band closed out the year with the live album 'Warschau', a double concert set recorded on Polish 'Deathmarch' dates during 2004 and limited to 10,000 copies. A vinyl pressing would be restricted to just 500 copies. Meantime, Emil Dragutinovic joined the ranks of REBELANGELS in March 2006.

European headliners in May 2006 saw support from Italian act NECRODEATH. Drummer Emil Dragutinovic announced his resignation in November, shortly after completing his parts on a new studio album, at first dubbed 'Cross Of Iron' before a switch to 'Rom 5:12', conceived at Endarker studio. The band teamed up with MONSTROSITY, SETHERIAL and CATTLE DECAPITATION for the "Chaos Metal Attack Mexico 2007" tour in February.

In April 2007 MARDUK headed up the 'Excess Of Evil' European tour backed up by ENSLAVED, KEEP OF KALESSIN, MELECHESH, GOATWHORE and PANTHEON I. Concerts projected for May 2007 were announced as the 'Earthshaker' tour in union with FINNTROLL. Gigs in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia were lined up for April.

MARDUK set 'Wormwood' as the title of their eleventh album issued in 2009 through Regain Records. The sessions were recorded at Endarker Studios in Norrköping, Sweden with engineer/producer Magnus Devo Andersson.

MARDUK was scheduled to hook up with CEPHALIC CARNAGE, CATTLE DECAPITATIONWITHERED and MAYHEM for the 'Blackenedfest' North American tour commencing Thursday 21st May 2009 in New York City. However, the band was absent from this opening show.

The band teamed up with Polish bands VADER, CHAINSAW and ESQARIAL for the 'Blitzkrieg 5' tour of Poland beginning on 29th August in Warsaw.

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