Marduk is back with their latest release entitled, Viktoria on Century Media Records, which comes out on June 22. Marduk has always kept us guessing with what they’re going to do next. Those who have followed the band since the beginning realize that Marduk is constantly changing their style and sound every number of years. What remains constant, however, is the Swedish band’s unbridled aggression and incredibly raw feel. This latest release does see the band pivot just a bit away from some of their more recent records and move towards an even faster sound with an emphasis on blazing speed and lighting rhythms.

Viktoria is a faster, punchier, and if you can believe, angrier Marduk offering than we’ve become accustomed to since the addition of Mortuus on vocals. While there is no doubt in terms of the darkness and profoundly violent content found in Wormwood, Serpent Sermon and Frontschwein (their previous more commercially successful releases), I can’t help but hear a slightly more imbricated punk influence in this latest record. In fact, I might even say that I hear a tiny bit of Danzig and the Misfits coming through in the second track, “June 44.”

The first three tracks are brutally fast and intense in delivery. The focus is not so much on texture and complexity but rather a “back to basics” feel with a greater sense of urgency in Mortuus’ voice. The record slows down just a bit on the fourth track, “Tiger I,” but then picks right back up where it started until the end of the record.

While Viktoria certainly displays an intense attitude and takes the listener back to some of the early days of the fast tremolo picking indicative of late 90’s black metal, the record is nicely engineered and mixed by Magnus Andersson, which allows the listener to fully appreciated the full on blitz the Swedish stalwarts are conveying.

In all, Viktoria is going to take some longtime Marduk listeners by surprise. And I will admit, it took me many spins to fully understand it, but there is little doubt that this band continues to put out quality music that is destined to be fully experienced live.

Viktoria releases on June 22 via Century Media Records and can be ordered here.