There is a scent of indefatigable fighting around Marduk. For over ten years this outstanding band has embodied values extremely rare, always strongly determined to go their own way, refusing to adjust, always fighting to stay on top and never backing down. But let's begin from the start about how the charismatic band founder Morgan HÃ¥kansson, firmly resolved about beating the odds and make it as a metal musician first got this leading and legendary act togetherâ€¦
The year was 1990 when Morgan realized his vision of putting together a band that would create the most blasphemous music ever. The band immediately started rehearsing as maniacs and early 1991 the hard work was bearing fruit, resulting in the infamous three track demo tape "Fuck Me Jesus" which came out totally different from anything else going on in the Swedish scene. "Departure from the Mortals", "The Blackâ€¦" and "Within the Abyss" showcased riffing and a lyrical approach that differed by far from the trends in force at a time when the Sunlight studios and downtuned Death Metal with growling vocals was all that there was to the metal community in Sweden. Because of the innovativeness and the devastatingly violent and demonic approach Marduk immediately gained a heavy cult reputation, something that clearly showed at the bands early stage performances. On stage, in front of it and even behind it people were going berserk waving with all kinds of inverted crosses and pentagrams; everything from small picturesque necklaces to wooden crosses big enough to crucify a full-grown man on them. Shortly after the release of "Fuck Me Jesus" Marduk went into the studio again for the recording of the 7" single "Here's No Peace" which contained the brand new song "Still Fucking Dead" and a re-recording of "Within the Abyss". It turned out though that the label that were going to put it out was not taking their obligations seriously and Marduk chose not to release the recording but went on working with their first fullenght album instead, the groundbreaking classic "Dark Endless" that saw the light of day as a No Fashion records release in December 1992, and showed the world that Marduk was a force to be reckoned with. Immediately recognized for their bright potential the band signed with Osmose productions and only 3 months after the release of "Dark Endless" the band ventured into the studio again to begin the recording of what would become "Those of the Unlight" which was released during fall time of 1993. With two albums out on the market and live experience from numerous gigs it was really time to get this warmachine out on the open road for a full tour. Marduk chose to cancel some not so appealing touroffers and went to Norway in May 1994 for the bands first show abroad ever at a Black Metal festival held in Oslo with some of the topnames the genre had to offer at the time. So in June the time had come for the first strike in order to put the name Marduk on the European map. Together with Norwegian labelmates Immortal the band did a full tour under the moniker "Son's of Northern Darkness". After getting back home the work was immediately started up in writing the successor to "Thoseâ€¦". The result Marduk presented this time raised the band to high praise and shocked an entire generation, which had adapted to the sound of the Scandinavian Black Metal scene which Marduk and a few more had set the standards for. Now Marduk hit the world with "Opus Nocturne", a record so harsh, hyperfast and compromiseless that it's like had not been heard before. Now declared classic songs like "Sulphur Souls", "Untrodden Paths" and "The Sun Has Failed" show a very clear indication of where the band was going. Marduk followed up the success in early 1995 with a headliner tour that burned across Europe, the scene were talking intensively about this crushing band and Marduk rose against the metal sky. In the same year "Fuck Me Jesus" was re-issued as a mini-CD because of the heavy cult reputation the tape had achieved, and the big demand that came along with it, and was immediately banned in 7 countries because of its shocking title and explicit cover art. During summer Marduk made their first trip over the Atlantic for a smaller number of shows in Mexico. Autumn was spent writing new songs for the upcoming 4th fullenght "Heaven Shall Burnâ€¦ When We Are Gathered" which was perpetuated in February 1996. For the first time the band headed for the, at that time relatively unknown, Abyss studio instead of Hellspawn studio where all previous recordings were made. "Heavenâ€¦" turned out to be so hysterically fast and utterly brutal that people actually doubted that this was the result of real musicianship rather than manipulated recordings by a studiotechnician. Just a couple of months later the band headed back to the Abyss studio for the recording of the cover mini-CD "Glorification" which was being put out in association of the "Heaven Shall Burn" tour, during which Marduk shocked their growing crowd by performing the material from "Heavenâ€¦" with the same furious intensity, which was displayed on the studiorecording. The "Heaven Shall Burn" tour was the bands biggest success that far and during the tour the band recorded their first live album, on pre-stadium called "The Black Years" but before release renamed "Germania". Including the bands so far strongest material performed with excellent musicianship, "Germania" displayed Marduk's abilities as a live band to fans incapable of experience the liveshows. In March 1997 a shorter second leg of touring was made for "Heavenâ€¦" entitled the "Legion" tour. The same summer Marduk flew out to Germany to perform at the re-union gig of Black Metal godfather's Mayhem. 1997 was also the year when the long sought-after "Here's No Peace" 7" finally saw the light of day issued on Shadow records to tide over die hard fans. During autumn the band visited the Abyss studios once again for the recording of the concept album "Nightwing". Being divided into two chapters where the latter one dealt exclusively with the historical truth about the life and times of the Wallachian warlord Vlad Tepes Dracula, Marduk once again did an innovative move where music and lyrics matched each other to describe different periods of time in The Impalers life. As soon as the recording had hit the record shelves during spring of 1998 Marduk immediately hit the road as a part of the festival package No Mercy. A headliner tour was pulled off as well in the fall of the same year. Always eager to stretch the limits and break boundaries Marduk now challenged the world with possibly the most violent and furious recording ever put onto CD, the eight track, 30 minutes long "Panzer Division Marduk". Featuring blastbeat drumming exclusively accompanied by merciless riffing "Panzerâ€¦" shook the metal community in its foundations as the entire scene had strayed away towards either the new "metal" sound or gothic and romantic melodies. "Panzerâ€¦" was followed up with the bands most ambitious tour up to date, the "World Panzer Battle" stretched over 3 continents, over 100 000 miles and countless performances. Displeased with the backup from their label the band chose to go separate paths with Osmose. A ton of proposals were immediately offered from most established labels in the metalbusiness but energetic and determined to go their own way the band founded their own label Blooddawn productions as a forum for future releases. Early in the year 2000 the first issue got out, the masochistic EP "Obedience". Featuring two brand new tracks and a cover version of "Into the Crypt of Rays " by Celtic Frost Marduk proved to be alive and well despite the break up from Osmose. Within the same year the second Marduk release on Blooddawn was a fact. To celebrate their tenth anniversary a double live album entitled "Infernal Eternal", recorded during the French dates of the "World Panzer Battle", hit the stores on Halloween. Leaven all through by the bands live performing professionalism, including 18 Marduk classics, an exclusive booklet and 3 CD-ROM tracks, all for the price of an ordinary CD, "Infernal Eternal" was cherished as one of the top notch live recordings ever in extreme metal. Marduk continued their Black Metal odyssey by entering the Abyss studios once again in December of 2000 for the recording of "La Grande Danse Macabre", an apocalyptic bloodswirl that showed a different side of Marduk's creative abilities as well as showcasing intense and brutal riffing at breakneck speed. Being put out on their own Blooddawn productions in Europe the band struck a deal with Century Media for the oversea release as well as the American releases of both "Obedience" and "Infernal Eternal". During the year of 2001 more than 115 shows were going to be made on both sides of the Atlantic as a line in Marduk's relentless journey for extreme music hall of fame. The musical onslaught began in Europe where Marduk headlined the 31gig mile eater "Danse Macabre Tour" all throughout the continent. Despite the fact that the band returned home with high fever and pneumonia they only stayed at home for four days before hitting the road again, this time in America on a month long trip with satanic deathsters Deicide. As an opening up for the American audience the tour couldn't have gone better and Marduk ended their stay in the states not only with a couple of headlining shows, but also with a great offer for a second leg of touring as a headliner. After coming home from the states Marduk only stayed home for two weeks and then went to Belgium to headline one of the stages at the Graspop Metal Meeting. The rest of the summer was spent pre-producing and finishing the box set "Blackcrowned".
Unfortunately, as a side effect of the heinous terrorist attacks launched on America on September 11th Marduk found themselves stonewalled by US border control and had to cancel the second leg of US touring for the "La Grandeâ€¦" album which was immediately re-routed by the booking agency though.
During December Marduk toured Europe again, at first as a headliner and then as direct support to Cannibal Corpse on the X-mass festival for sold-out venues in Europe. On the 9th of January 2002 Marduk were scheduled to fly out to Chicago to start their re-routed headlining US-tour. When coming home from Europe the band still hadn't got any of the promised material from the US embassy and could just sit back and hope for things to work out. They didn't. Our heroes tried, not only by themselves, but also through management, record label and booking agency to get clearance in time but nothing worked out.
"We had our hands tied behind our backs while being pissed in the face and could do nothing but swallow." singer Legion snapped at the scorn setback.
Refusing to waste any time Marduk immediately began writing new songs for their upcoming album and making new plans and arrangements. And so in February the time had finally come for the grand release of a unique item in the extreme metal business - the box set "Blackcrowned". Where other band at their utmost put together a picture disc with the current release Marduk presented a beautifully packaged legacy with a ton of unreleased material to display so far unreleased bits and parts of their now 12 year long career.
Things in the Marduk camp were not all golden though. For a while drummer Fredrik Andersson had been sliding further and further away from the rest of the group and grown tired and unmotivated with his musicianship. During March of 2002 Fredrik was requested to leave the band with best wishes for the future. He was soon to be replaced by hungry youngster Emil Dragutinovic, who with his insane and ferocious way of drumming soon found himself well at ease behind the Marduk drum kit.
Summer was coming and with it an unbelievably great offer - to direct support legendary dark act Danzig on a 10 week US tour. Despite backbreaking achievements from both bands and labels Marduk was still not able to get into the US and were therefore forced to cancel - again!
Instead the summer was spent finishing the upcoming eight-fullenght album "World Funeral" and perform at the With Full Force festival in Germany as well as on the Tuska Open Air in Finland.
Autumn was spent perpetuating "World Funeral" in two sessions; a recording one after which Marduk went home to get some perspective on the opus and to start rehearsing live material and a mixing one.
Shortly after the latter Marduk packed their arsenal and hit the road to support Danzig on the European leg of the "I luciferi" tour and as a co-headliner at the annual X-mass festival hitting several parts of Europe.