Sound — 7
When a band dubs itself the most blasphemous band in the world, you can be sure that the music won't be pretty. Needless to say, if you are familiar with Marduk and their past, then you pretty much know what you're in for with Wormwood.
The production itself is raw and given the genre, very fitting. While I greatly prefer the days of when Peter Tgtgren tweaked the knobs for this band, Devo has done a fine job of delivering a production that fits the band. None of the potential brutality is held back by an overly slick production, nor is the sound so raw that you'll end up checking your speakers.
Lyrics — 6
Lyrics and singing: Mortuus' vocals are like whiskey. Some people love them, and some can't stand them. While I do see the charm with his extremely varied approach, ranging from regular growls and screams to what's best described as a lunatic vomiting, I can find them overly theatrical at times, lacking a better description. There are plenty of times where I think to myself, I just wish he'd kept it simple, instead of opting for a more eclectic style.
Overall Impression — 7
Wormwood is a bit of a tough nut to crack when it comes to setting a score, because it is extremely uneven. Marduk made a name for themselves with albums like Panzer Division Marduk where the main formula was everything faster than everything else, and that worked like a charm for them. When listening to Wormwood, it is apparent that they still have the ability to pen catchy, heavy and incredibly fast songs that manage to remain interesting and fresh despite the band's extensive back catalogue. Songs like Nowhere, No-one, Nothing, Into Utter Madness and Phosphorous Redeemer deliver all the rage you could possibly want.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have the mid-tempo efforts. On World Funeral Marduk managed to mix tempos beautifully, making it a listen with commendable flow, but any attempts at re-creating such a flow quickly comes to a halt on Wormwood. And the reason is simple: as soon as the tempo drops, so does the quality of the songwriting. Any momentum built up by the opening fury of Nowhere, No-one, Nothing is swiftly killed by Funeral Dawn, and the sequence repeats a few more times throughout the 45-minute effort.
Wormwood is an album with a lot of good songs, probably more than most people will give it credit for, but the reality is that the album manages to kill the momentum not only once, not twice, but thrice. It is a shame, because Wormwood is an album with a lot of potential, but a few bleak efforts drags it down by a few notches.