Marduk w/ 1349
The Annex Wreckroom
June 05 2012
Photos by Robert Lawson
This tour is notable for two main reasons. First, it features four extremely dark and ominous bands. Secondly, the itinerary is simply punishing, performing for example literally every night from June first to twelfth then after one day off another seven shows in a row.
First up was Edmonton's Weapon for a quick set of hard riffing and deep guttural vocals from front man Vetis Monarch. Unfortunately the crowd was still quite sparse during their brief appearance.
Next was Withered from Atlanta with a meaty, muscular mix of thrash and black metal. An interesting aspect of this band's live show is the two guitarists new guy Dylan Kilgore and founding member Mike Thompson trading powerful lead vocals often within the same song.
The group's music is a little more involved than most, their deafening roar was interrupted by sudden complete stops during and at the end of each song. You can't help but be impressed hearing a band play this hard and furious then dramatically stopping on a dime.
The real brutality came about when Norway's 1349 (named for the year the Black Plague hit their country) claimed the stage. These sinister ghouls (including a bassist wearing hooded robes) played an aggressive 50 minute set of frighteningly vigorous black metal. The song "Psalm 7:77" was delivered with particular hostility while corpse-paint wearing lead vocalist Ravn glared bitterly at the mesmerized crowd. The band's most recent album Demonoir from 2010 formed much of the set although older pieces such as "I Am Abomination" and "Sculptor Of Flesh" were also performed with crushing intensity. The furious blur of buzz-saw guitars formed a thick curtain of noise which Ravn screamed himself raw over.
After ten minutes of an atmospheric drone, headliners Marduk took control of the stage celebrating the release of their brand new album Serpent Sermon the twelfth since their malevolent birth in 1990. Performing under a heavy cloak of dark crimson lighting, the band unleashed striking versions of material both new ("Serpent Sermon", a well received "Souls For Bilail") and old (1992's "Still Fucking Dead", "Baptism Of Fire"). Vocalist Mortuus led the charge staring down the assembled with an intimidating presence while jackhammer like drumming pounded behind him.
At the end of the set Mortuus surveyed the damage that had been inflicted upon the exhausted and sweaty human heap at the front of the stage. Many appeared ragged as if they had barely survived a front-lines battle.
He seemed pleased.
Robert Lawson 2012
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