Sound — 9
In the constraints of black metal, it is hard for songwriting to be completely original and groundbreaking. On Plauge Angel, Marduk embraces this fact, putting out a fairly unoriginal but equally brutal record. Like most of Marduk's material, the emphasis is on the blastbeats and speed; this concept remains the same for Plauge Angel. Drummer Emil's technical and relentless blasting are sure to send shockwaves throughout the listener's ears mere seconds into the first track, The Hangman of Prauge. In listening to the entire album, you only get one, maybe two songsworth of non-blasting, coming in the seven-minute epic Perish In Flames. The albums's biggest downfall is the loss of singer Legion, who is likely the greatest black metal frontman of the last decade. Legion is replaced by Mortuus (of Funeral Mist), who does a decent job on vocals.
Lyrics — 10
Although the legendary Legion is gone, Mortuus' skills as a black metal vocalist fit in perfectly with the rest of the band. What I enjoy most about the vocals on Plauge Angel is the lyrical content. Although most of them repeat at least once throughout the song, Mortuus' delivery is very good. He has a very poetic style of writing, and most lyrics tell some sort of story. My personal favorite lyrics are those to Life's Emblem, where twice there is a dialogue between Man and Death. Despite the overwhelmingly deathy imagery portrayed by all of the lyrics, Mortuus still manages to include enough originality in his writing to garner notoriety. The combination of poetically styled lyrics and enough originality make this record one of my favorite lyrical albums.
Overall Impression — 9
In my opinion, this is one of the better Marduk albums. I am personally still bitter over the departure of Legion, but the remaining cast still manages to put together a kick-ass record. The biggest drawback to Plauge Angel is not the overwhelming blast-beating, but the sheer repetition of the songs. Many of the tracks sound alike and it is quite difficult to follow the guitar riffs. This type of brutality is an acquired taste, but for those enjoy non-stop blast beats and satanic/demonic/deathy lyrics, Plauge Angel is for you.