Marauder: Elegy of Blood

Elegy of Blood, the newest by Greek traditional heavy metal enthusiasts Marauder, is at best rote and inoffensive, but its ability to ignite vitriol in the metal community is actually quite impressive.


Elegy of Blood

Label: Pitch Black
UK Release Date: 2013-05-14
US Release Date: 2013-07-09
Digital Release Date: 2013-05-15
Label website
Artist website

Some people like their art to be divisive. Of course, no one would turn down universal acclaim, but there's something about a work of art that splits its audience right down the middle that makes it all the more endearing -- the notion of a cult classic probably wouldn't exist without such polarity. The best part about engaging with the critical mass on a divisive subject inevitably comes in reading the reactions on either end of the critical extremes; after all, The New York Observer has kept Rex Reed on its payroll for this long, even following some pretty horrible and sexist reviews.

It's in this dynamic that the latest release by the Greek traditional metal lovers Marauder, Elegy of Blood, finds itself. The album, the band's fifth in a career running 22 years, is more or less summed up by its GeoCites-worthy sleeve art, which at first glance appears to be the result of a budding Satanist discovering Microsoft Paint and the "copy/paste" macros on his keyboard. It's generic, rote, and assembled with the most rudimentary of materials. A little bit of Iron Maiden here, some Metallica-inspired riffs there, and a heaping spoonful of power metal's thunderous bombast applied liberally -- Marauder has zeroed in on its signature moves and doesn't at all step outside of its cozy wheelhouse. There's an attempt to make the LP larger-than-life by incorporating themes of warfare and empire, with song titles including "Hiroshima", "World War II", and "Roman Empire", but unlike the war-obsessed Sabaton -- who at least injects a cartoonish theatricality into its style -- Marauder uses these themes to form a baseline continuity, nothing more.

All of this is to say that Elegy of Blood is, at its core, inoffensive. Traditional heavy metal enthusiasts are better off with the likes of Dawnbringer, who actually takes the time to reinvigorate old styles, but it's not as if Marauder are disrespectful to the heavy metal tradition. Yet a lot of the first reviews for this record made it seem as if Marauder had committed a cosmic, Illud Divinum Insanus-level crime against metal. "There's a reason why some bands make it, while others just don't," Chris Akin at Pitriff wrote. His 30 out of 100 review was on the tamer end of the extreme, however; one critic at Metal Storm went as far as to declare to the heavens, "I swear to Christ, if I have to hear another second of this copy + paste rhythm guitar tracking that every one of these uncreative excuses for bands use, I'm quitting Metal Storm, and reviewing for good." How an album as utterly banal as Elegy of Blood was able to transcend mediocrity and become a symbol of everything wrong with contemporary metal is astounding, especially considering the heavy lifting that metalcore has been doing in that respect. Plenty of people have found a lot to enjoy about the album. What this divisiveness may mean, then, is that despite being pure boilerplate in its execution of classic metal, Elegy of Blood may be more explosive than its unassuming surface suggests.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.