It was about three months ago for the Blackendedfest that found Metal fans on a 24/7 watch based on the absence of Black Metal legends Marduk. International snafus were to blame but now the time had come for the bands return and arrive they would. Three shows delivered justly with no mercy given. The triumphant appearance found Marduk appearing in NYC with Withered, Black Anvil and Tombs. We were on point for the full show and present images of all the performers along with commentary for the curious eye.
Venue: Blender Theater (New York, NY)
Opener: Withered, Black Anvil, Tombs
Label: Regain Records
Back in May the Blackenedfest was unleashed upon the world’s Metal loyalists and this crushing bill was to feature the co-headlining menace of Mayhem and Marduk but international traveling snafus got in the way and Mayhem would make the trek on their own while Marduk remained in their own country. Fast forward a few months after the recovery had begun from the Blackenedfest as a seething Marduk planned a quick visit to our region. The quick tour was exactly that and no more than three dates on the East Coast with tonight’s event being the closer of them all. The band arrived in NYC a day earlier and would do a meet and greet with their fans at the popular Duff’s Bar in Brooklyn and this event was very well received according to reports. I’m not sure if their upcoming album “Wormwood” was spun at the bar, but I would be part of a select lucky media group who were offered the chance to hear the new music on the bands tour bus prior to this evenings show. I had to say that this was some seriously impressive Black Metal and will really keep their listeners on the edge of their seats when it arrives in the stores in the next couple of months. To my knowledge this evening’s show was sold out and that made sense given the fact that it had been a number of years since the band last invaded this territory. The shows would feature Withered and Black Anvil as supporting acts, and tonight’s NYC show found Brooklyn’s own Tombs kicking the whole night off. Here is how the evening went for those who were unable to attend.
Tombs: I had not heard about this band before tonight and had to say that I was very impressed with the Doom Metal that they were dishing out very much. In my opinion they fit right in with the current state of affairs in the Doom Metal genre and when I learned that they were from Brooklyn I was even more impressed because it allowed our region to shine a little brighter on behalf of the format. I felt that they also offered the listener some Black Metal atmosphere and can safely say that I would see them again if the moment arose. There was not much in terms of stage “antics” per se, but the drummer was hitting hard over the guitar riffs and the bass was pounding while the singer screamed his lungs out. They only played about thirty minutes and maybe even less if I had timed it, but it was a good way to start off the evening’s madness. Black Anvil was up next.
Black Anvil: When it came to Black Anvil I could say that I knew the name but had nothing more than the positive praise that was being heaped upon them by other Metal outlets and while I am one who is often bound by his own opinion on things there was just too much good to go on. Fortunately this haziness would be cleared tonight as I got to enjoy what Black Anvil does on the stage. I liked what I was hearing instantly and while I felt the drumming solid and the guitar player rather stoic in his station realized that their bassist/singer Paul Delaney was a madman up there on the stage. Interestingly enough, I researched the band and found them all to be members of the band Kill Your Idols as well which was a Hardcore band and as they played their crushing brand of Black Metal one could pick up those influences in their musical structure every now and again. They are recently signed to Relapse Records and their album is entitled “Time Insults The Mind” which seems to bear looking into based on what was happening up there tonight. They were going over like gangbusters and this is impressive to find for the second of four bands on a bill. I don’t think they played all that long and maybe it was just over a half an hour but their set list ran as follows: “Margin for terror”, “Ten Talons Deep”, “Deathsomnia”, “Ultimate Reality” and “L.T.H.L.T.K”. I might have missed a tune in the list, but this is definitely up the alley of any Old School Black Metal fans since there is a lot of allegiance to the past involved in their sound which does not sacrifice a forward thinking nature either. My view is that we shall see a lot of these guys on shows like this until they eventually become a headliner of note. Impressive work. Withered was on next and we have seen them a couple of times now.
Withered: Tonight would be the third time that I was catching Withered in concert and I had to admit that I liked what I have seen from them so far. The first time was when they opened up for Watain back in October of last year and the second was only recently with Blackenedfest that found them opening up for Mayhem. They had the unenviable position of going on just as the announcement that Marduk was not appearing had happened. It’s a very atmospheric brand of Black Metal that they deliver and it has a really intense sound that manages to crush you when they get into it. There was a noticeable difference in the lineup from when I last caught them as guitarist/vocalist Chris Freeman was not on the stage and in his place was Dylan Kilgore who was handling the same role. The band didn’t make any sort of official announcement to the fans as to whether or not Chris had departed from the group entirely so I will leave my assumptions at he was just not present this evening. Needless to say Dylan did a great job for the group tonight and I found the band as impressive as always and perhaps that this was the best that I had seen them to date. Their set was a little bit longer since they were direct support and while most of their material came from their acclaimed “Folie Circulaire” they would close with a new song entitled “From Shadows”. Now it was time for Marduk to take the stage and the venue was packed to the doors and ready to go.
Marduk: With all of the issues that kept them from being here the last time the band was now back in action on US Shores and ready to deliver their crushing brand of Black Metal for the attending acolytes. The lights dimmed in the venue as a blend of militaristic intro music began and amidst it were the blasphemous cries against religion from a few of the absolute maniacs up in the front. As you gazed around the crowd you would find a decent number of them sporting corpse paint themselves and when the musicians from Marduk hit the stage it was to a roar that I have not heard the likes of in some time. The response was of course deafening when singer Mortuus came out wielding his horns and a gaze that would freeze a person down to the very core. The set ran fast and furious at the listeners in the audience who were moshing and crowd-surfing from the moment that Marduk hit the stage and clearly the band was seeing the havoc that an eight year absence had caused from a very powerful vantage point.
I had never witnessed the chaos that Marduk brings to the stage in the past and was getting my own education in the bands back catalog tonight because when they were last here I was only finally braving this genre in the first place. Having supported it now for awhile it was amazing to watch the masters at the art of Black Metal mayhem in action and while not using the adjective lightly, I could hardly imagine how a Marduk set like this could have ever been properly followed by the band Mayhem anyway. I don’t mean this as a slight because Mayhem has the visual presentation down to a science and it was so successful that it left me looking over my shoulder in the dark streets for weeks, but something about the Marduk set and its overall power and diversity made me feel that it would have been a little tough to beat. Favorites of mine tonight were many and among them I found “Baptism Of Fire”, “With Satan And Victorious Weapons” and the closing “Burn My Coffin” to be my favorites. At one point during the set, and I believe this was closer to the end, Mortuus lifted a chalice filled with blood to his mouth and drank from it. Of course a good portion spilled from his mouth like something out of a KISS show ala Gene Simmons’ Demon, but something about the way the Black Metal singer was doing it made it all the more terrifying and “real”. My only issue was with the heat of the venue as it was painful at points and with a full house you wonder if that is dangerous to one’s health. Also the sound was not at all times on point and made the guitars indistinguishable based on where you were standing. Some fans told me they heard it sound like shit while some others were reveling in what was coming out of the PA. I guess its better to move around a little at a show like this if you can.
It had been announced that the band was going back to Duff’s to absorb a little more Brooklyn culture after the show and Mortuus made sure to tell us all that the band would be back for a proper and lengthy tour which will not only deliver the bands classics but also give us a healthy dose of the new release “Wormwood”. I liked what I heard so much that I will say again that this release will remind us why Marduk is one of the most important bands in Black Metal today. Remember that the bands back catalog was recently remastered by Regain Records and many of the releases feature bonus tracks and expanded artwork. They are worth checking out especially if you have not added any of their music to your collection. Horns up to these Infernal dwellers of the dark.
Withered Set List:
1. Dichotomy Of Exile
2. Among Sorrow
3. the Fated Breath
4. Reveal The Essence Of Suffering
5. Clamor Beneath
6. From Shadows
Marduk Set List:
1. The Leveling Dust
2. With Satan And Victorious Weapons
3. On Darkened Wings
4. Baptism By Fire
5. Of Hell’s Fire
6. Still Fucking Dead
8. Beyond The Grace Of God
9. Materialized In Stone
10. Cold Mouth Prayer
12. Throne Of Rats
13. Fistfucking God’s Planet
14. Panzer Division Marduk
15. Burn My Coffin
This was a sight that many of the Black Metal fans of the region never thought they would see but yes it was true, Marduk was finally here and ready to deliver their supremely dark message. Abandon all hope ye who enter this venue, etc. etc.
After dishing out their upcoming album for media entities on the tour bus, the band Marduk took some time to sign posters for their fans and to enjoy a couple of beers. This was truly the calm before the storm.