If I had to pick out a couple of Black Metal albums that were most essential for me getting into the Black Metal genre back in 1994 Opus Nocturne would definitely be one of those records.
Together with the albums The Somberlain by Dissection, Into The Nightside Eclipse by Emperor and Pure Holocaust by Immortal they all meant so much me in 1994.
They were the gateway records that showed me just how much music could have an effect on me and the path my life took.
From the Black/Death Metal feeling in the early days on their only demo Fuck Me Jesus (1991) and the Here's No Peace recording. That were recorded in December of 1991 but not released until 1997.
The debut album Dark Endless also got that Black Death Metal sound. While their 2nd album Those Of The Unlight is pure Black Metal and probably the most unique recording Marduk did in the 90's.
Been many phases during the 29 year old history of Marduk and Opus Nocturne became a end of an era record for them.
It was Joakim Af Gravf (vocalist 1993-95/drummer 1990-93) last album with the band. Also their last release to be recorded with Dan Swanö at his Unisound/Hellspawn/Gorysound Studio.
Swanö whom Marduk had worked with since their first and only demo Fuck Me Jesus (1991).
Have to admit that Opus Nocturne was a bit harder for me to get into then The Somberlain (yeah I know Metal of Death...) and Into The Nightside Eclipse. Remember immediately liking my favorite Marduk songs ever Sulphur Souls and The Sun Has Failed though.
Also Materialized In Stone and the title track Opus Nocturne with vocals and lyrics by Tony "It" Särkkä (1972-2017) from Abruptum, Vondur etc. That one sounds like something Ophthalamia (another band It had formed in 1989) could have recorded it was a very unusual Marduk song.
Just a few listens in I liked From Subterranean Throne Profound; Autumnal Reaper; Wolves (Part 2: Untrodden Paths) and Deme Quaden Thyrane almost as much as my favorites. Opus Nocturne grew into a beast for me.
I could have the CD on repeat for hours and still find new things on each and every song it was truly a magical time in my life.
Opus Nocturne was released late in 1994 and in February of 1995 Marduk together with label mates Enslaved did a tour called the Winter War Tour 95. As they had done on the previous tour with Sons Of Northern Darkness with Immortal a special split shirt was made with the Marduk and Enslaved logos on the longsleeve arms. Those two are my most wanted shirts of all time.
Photos by user "maidenthrone" on tshirtslayer.com.
Marduk and Enslaved's Winter War Tour 95 lasted from the 7th of February until the 26th of the same month with no dates off. They played in Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The first one I got from the Winter War Tour 95 was recorded at Marseille, France on May the 17th. I do remember hating all effects they put on the video but it was still amazing.
It's on YouTube and I'm glad for that because I don't have to mess with my old VHS-cassettes. Even if I got stuff by some bands that's not out on YouTube.
Included the Marseille concert in this post and the setlist Marduk played are:
From Subterranean Throne Profound
The Sun Has Failed
A Sculpture Of The Night
Materialized In Stone
Deme Quaden Thyrane
Untrodden Paths (Wolves, Part II)
On Darkened Wings
Many songs from Opus Nocturne really glad they played A Sculpture Of The Night from Those Of The Unlight but also ones that aren't played now like: From Subterranean Throne Profound, The Sun Has Failed, Deme Quaden Thyrane, Untrodden Paths (Wolves, Part II) & Autumnal Reaper.
Those tour dates became as far as I know the last shows with Joakim Af Gravf as vocalist with the band. Everything he did with Marduk were brilliant in my opinion. Joakim Göthberg which is his real name did a guest appearance on the Rom 5:12 (2007) album.
Joakim was replaced by Erik "Legion" Hagstedt in 1995. Legion was previously in Ophthalamia and were vocalist on their excellent 2nd album Via Dolorosa (1995).
Like many other bands did at the time Marduk started recording at The Abyss Studio for the follow-up Heaven Shall Burn... When We Are Gathered (1996) with Peter Tägtgren from Hypocrisy.
At first I hated the production on that album but now I actually regard it as the best album of the "Legion era". I changed my opinion drastically on that record since I ranked all Marduk albums about 2 years ago. Okay it's almost a tie with Panzer Division Marduk (1999) but a topic for a future post.
The legacy that Opus Nocturne left behind 25 years later is as strong as it was back in 1994. At least for me. Whenever I hear Joakim screaming "praise hail Satan" in the beginning of Sulphur Souls I know it's a 43 minutes ride into the BEST SWEDISH BLACK METAL of the 90's.
It's not my nostalgia for this album talking! As always Praise Hail Marduk!
Bonus! The Marduk and Immortal split shirt from the Sons Of Northern Darkness tour. Picture from user "fab cas" on tshirtslayer.com.