- "The mind-curdling cacophony of the battlefield! Shape it, savour it, add to it until your senses shake and your minds quiver with deafening bliss!"
- — Anonymous Noise Marine of Slaanesh
Noise Marines are Chaos Space Marine foot soldiers deeply dedicated to the Chaos God Slaanesh who are most commonly found in the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion, but also in other Slaanesh-devoted Chaos Space Marine warbands such as the Flawless Host. Their trademark is the use of devastating Sonic Weapons that confuses and demoralizes enemy forces in a wild show of “deafeningly loud, psycho-sonically and pyrotechnically explosive attacks."
Noise Marines are perfect hedonists, completely dedicated to pushing their corrupted minds and bodies to the absolute limits of sensation. All have spent centuries enraptured in the throes of Slaanesh’s service, and their ceaseless devotions have corrupted their bodies until only the most extreme sensations hold any satisfaction for their pleasure-addled synapses. Now their every thought is bent wholly towards their own self-gratification, and their imaginations incessantly overflow with insane visions of reckless and loathsome indulgences.
Along with the fabled physiology of a member of the Adeptus Astartes, Noise Marines also possess an extraordinary sense of hearing. This auditory acuteness is a blasphemous mutational gift from Slaanesh himself, extending far beyond that of a normal human, and is sensitive enough to distinguish subtle changes in pitch and tone within even the most cacophonous noises. This foul blessing also warps the way their brains interpret aural stimulations, causing them to undergo feelings of intense euphoria and emotion that increase in proportion to the volume and frequencies of the sounds they experience. Noise Marines relish these sensations above all others and are entirely obsessed with indulging their unique abilities, often subjecting themselves to the most overwhelming and chaotic noises imaginable at the slightest provocation.
The most beloved way for a Noise Marine to indulge this craving for deafening sound is to immerse himself in the frenzied clamour of battle. There, the harsh cacophony of combat and the shrill screams of the dying are like music to a Noise Marine’s callous ears, and his mind quickly fills with powerful emotions of unrivalled intensity that rapidly overpower every other concern. However, the deafening roar of the battlefield is still not enough to a Noise Marine, and he adds to the ear-splitting din with devastating blasts from the sonic arsenal for which they are named. Such weapons are frequently incorporated into the Noise Marine’s Power Armour, along with other auditory devices, in order to enhance his already substantial destructive and sonic capabilities.
Noise Marines are completely devoted to the Prince of Pleasure, and the unfettered depravity with which they worship their foul patron is infamous among his many followers. Though their brutal attacks rarely leave any survivors, these Traitor Marines occasionally require sacrifices in their unspeakable rituals to appease Slaanesh. Such victims are truly damned, as they are gradually subjected to the full horror and cruel decadence of their captor’s insane and debauched imagination. Fear is simply another sensation to these servants of Slaanesh, and they delight in inflicting pain as much as they enjoy experiencing it. Yet, despite the novelty and pleasure of death, Noise Marines are in no hurry to partake in it, preferring instead to sample the myriad delights to be found in the service of Chaos. They readily accept the many boons of Slaanesh and eagerly deal with any daemon or warlord able to offer them a delicious new excess. Many even gaze with undisguised envy upon the seemingly immortal daemonic entities who serve Slaanesh and long to experience the limitless freedom these diabolical beings enjoy.
The first creation of the Noise Marines goes back to the days immediately preceding the Horus Heresy. The Noise Marines' name comes from their preference for weapons that use concentrated sound and sonic waves: the Sonic Blaster -- outwardly resembling a Bolter -- produced discordant blasts of sound; the Blastmaster -- a rifle-like weapon that produces different sonic frequencies that overpower senses and can even destroy flesh; and the Doom Siren, a loudspeaker surgically melded into the Chaos Space Marine's body that enhances his own screams into violent torrents of pure sonic force that can knock even the largest enemy off his feet. All of this sonic weaponry is descended from the musical instruments invented by the famed composer Bequa Kynska of Terra, who accompanied the Emperor's Children's 28th Expeditionary Fleet as a Remembrancer aboard the Battle Barge Pride of the Emperor during the Great Crusade. Kynska was a jaded musician always in search of further sensations to create more exhilarating and all-encompassing music, which made her an easy target for Slaanesh corruption. After Kynska accompanied many of the 28th Expedition's Remembrancers to the temple dedicated to Slaanesh on the Xenos World of Laeran, she was touched by the Chaotic corruption of that foul place and slowly sought to create the ultimate orchestral piece that she believed could capture the wondrous sounds she had heard within the Laer temple. Her ultimate masterpiece was a symphony she named the Maraviglia and which she performed for Fulgrim and all the assembled Astartes of the Emperor's Children and their support personnel within the Remebrancers' lounge called La Fenice aboard the Pride of the Emperor. To recreate the sounds she had heard, Kynska created new musical instruments whose sonic powers could also be used for destruction when employed by an individual already corrupted by Slaanesh. As the Maraviglia began, the cachophony of sound unleashed by these instruments acted as a ritual that opened a link between realspace and the Warp and allowed the power of Slaanesh to directly touch the audience. During the "performance" it was noted that the musical instruments were able to produce effects variously disorienting, stimulating and downright murderous.
Chaotic mutations ran rampant through the audience and Astartes and humans alike were so overwhelmed by sensation and uncontrollable emotions that they unleashed an orgy of both sensual hedonism and the most base forms of murder upon one another. Ultimately, the music summoned five Lesser Daemons of Slaanesh known as Daemonettes from the Warp who possessed the bodies of Kynska and several of her singers and joined in the slaughter. During this part of the concert, several Emperor's Children Astartes left their seats and took up the instruments to try and keep the Chaotic music playing and in the course of their untrained fumblings with the instruments discovered that they could unleash waves of destructive sonic power filled with the strength of Chaos. When the Emperor's Children engaged the Imperial Loyalists during the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, some Emperor's Children Space Marines took to the field armed with these modified sonic weapons, becoming the first Noise Marines. The Noise Marines present in the III Legion soon organised themselves into a unit known as the Kakophoni which was under the command of the Legion's Third Captain Marius Vairosean. After the Heresy, the early Noise Marines took their deviant behaviour to a new level through their dedication to their patron Chaos God and over the years of bloody warfare with the Imperium have honed their bodies to possess such extreme sensory perception that nothing can stir their emotions other than the din of battle and the screams of the dying.
Noise Marines in the Screaming Vortex
- "Slaughter them all! Let the air ring with the snapping of bone and the squeals of the dying!"
- —Carmine, Auditorix of the Emperor's Children
The Emperor’s Children are perhaps the most depraved of the Traitor Legions to venture into the notorious Warp-realspace interface known as the Screaming Vortex on the boundary between the Calixis Sector and the Koronus Expanse in the Segmentum Obscurus. Many journey to this turbulent realm to sample firsthand the unique worlds and vile delights of its denizens, while others harbour unspeakably cruel designs for those wayward souls who fail to escape them. These deranged warriors undertake such despicable pursuits with complete disregard for the Vortex’s many dangers and eagerly brave all manner of foes in their unending quest for excessive indulgence.
Though small warbands of Emperor’s Children are not uncommon when it suits their purposes, lone members of this abhorrent Legion are generally the norm. The most common of these are Noise Marines, whose insane yearning for the deafening clamour of battle leads the slightly saner denizens of the Vortex to avoid dealings with them if at all possible. Chaos Space Marines from other Traitor Legions have also attuned themselves to similar auditory excesses, equally as devout in their pursuit of Slaanesh’s gift of song and equally as deadly. Often such encounters end violently or -- if the victim is particularly unlucky -- the Noise Marine might instead take the miserable wretch alive. The destructive power of these fallen Space Marines cannot be denied, and many amongst the Heretics of the Vortex deem the benefits of harbouring them well worth the risks.
A Noise Marine in the Screaming Vortex can indulge in a plethora of uniquely vile experiences and sensations in order to assuage his unrelenting yearnings. Yet, of the many temptations that await them within this turbulent realm, the lust for auditory stimulation is the most enticing of all. Whether achieved through pitched battle, arcane devices, or the abilities of one of the Screaming Vortex’s inhabitants, Noise Marines go to any lengths to attain their desire and are an increasingly common sight among its many denizens.
The following are some examples of the many pursuits a Noise Marine might undertake in his continuous quest for the most extreme excesses:
- Cacophonous Chorus - Disdaining all thoughts of material gain or honour, these servants of Slaanesh pledge their allegiance to whichever Chaos warbands produce the most frenzied clamour before eagerly adding their own destructive notes to the terrible din. This eccentricity often causes the band to change sides multiple times throughout an engagement as the roar of battle ebbs and flows. If the noise is pleasing enough, they might even turn on their would-be allies after the assault has ceased in order to delight once more in the battle’s cacophonous fury.
- Xenoticants - There are many forbidden xenos artefacts and devices within the Screaming Vortex capable of bestowing indescribable sensations on all who dare wield or even look upon them for any length of time. Noise Marines frequently encounter such items in their travels, and many even develop a taste for these exotic delights and inhuman vibrations. Yet their pleasure often turns to obsession as these warriors attempt to contrive ever more imaginative and novel ways of incorporating their discoveries into their ceaseless indulgences. The other inhabitants of the Screaming Vortex refer to them as Xenoticants, and their frantic mania can be either a boon or a bane to those who become entangled in their endless passion for additional relics and alien sensations.
- Choir of Aberrance - These cruel Noise Marines demand tribute in the form of slaves, which they then incorporate into their own horrific glorifications of the Prince of Pleasure. Each captive is fitted with a bizarre array of sonic amplifiers and Vox speakers, which cause the recipient great pain and amplify every tortured cry and terrified gasp to skull-shattering heights. Thus prepared, these pitiful creatures accompany their masters into battle, staggering behind their captors in vast processions bound together with golden chains each adorned with savage and delicate hooks. There, the many cries of intolerable agony, encouraged with blows from cruelly barbed and toxic lashes, rise together in screeching and discordant adulation for the many pleasures of Slaanesh.
Regardless of the warband or Traitor Legion they belong to, Noise Marines wear Power Armour painted in all manner of striking and bold colours. Pinks, blacks and purples are used predominantly in bizarre patterns all over the armour’s legs, arms, gauntlets, helmet and shoulder plates. Their senses are so distorted that only the most extravagant shades and patterns register as pleasing. Noise Marines are also prone to displays of extremely grotesque mutations or surgical alterations, which are considered "gifts" of Slaanesh and are very common amongst all Slaaneshi devotees.
The Noise Marines of Slaanesh are warriors whose senses are jaded and dulled by centuries of hedonistic excess. Only the most extreme sensations stir them, hence their use of Sonic Weapons. The louder and more discordant the noise, the more extreme the emotional reaction provoked in the Noise Marine. Sonic weapons use sonic waves to inflict deafeningly loud, psycho-sonically and pyrotechnically explosive results upon their victims.
- Sonic Blaster - The Sonic Blaster is a Chaos Space Marine sonic weapon used by the Noise Marines. It unleashes waves of crippling and distorted harmonics to rip targets apart. Many Noise Marines equipped with such weapons use them with manic intensity. They run up and down through the various chords and sliding scales so that these devices perpetually howl with a mixture of agony and ecstasy.
- Doom Siren - The Doom Siren is a Chaos Space Marine sonic weapon used by Noise Marines. The device is made up primarily of an arrangement of pipes and tubes that connects to a Power Armour helmet and magnifies the bearer’s war cries and howls of ecstatic pleasure into a manic shockwave of destruction. The Doom Siren mounts onto the bearer’s shoulders, leaving both of the bearer’s hands free to carry other weapons or perform other tasks.
- Blastmaster - The Blastmaster is a Chaos Space Marine sonic weapon used by the Noise Marines. It produces a throbbing bass note which is strong enough to burst eyeballs and rupture organs. At different frequencies the weapon can produce different effects, either harming individuals with a varying frequency or destroying an entire area with a single pulsing frequency.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 160-161
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Excess (RPG), pp. 28-29
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), p. 39
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, Revised Codex)
- Index Astartes I, "Children of the Emperor - The Emperor's Children Space Marine Legion"
- White Dwarf 230 (US), "Bitter and Twisted - Chaos Space Marines"
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Angel Exterminatus (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Warhammer 40,000: Index Chaotica - Noise Marines (Digital Edition)