@ The Underworld, Camden UK
5th December 2013
Review by Caitlin Smith
Photos by Jo Blackened
To call the Underworld grimy would be an injustice to a venue that has put on some of the best underground gigs over the years. It is however dark and dank, and the countless sweating bodies are only making it worse. Far from being off putting though, there really is no other real way to really experience black metal in all its putrid, vile form. With London being the only show in the UK and rumours that the show had sold out for the night, the venue is packed out with people from all corners of the UK, eager to catch Marduk going old school.
Unfortunately we didn’t arrive till after opening band Critical Solution had finished their set due to over running interviews, but Jo managed to take some quick pics…
Coming over from Norway this band bring to the Underworld a unique brand of thrash metal that night.
Despite forming in 2005 this band are really only starting to find themselves as a band, describing themselves as only getting serious in 2010 when they played at Norwegian Rock Festival.
This was quickly followed by their debut EP in 2011 titled Evidence of Things Unseen.
With the release of their first full-length studio album Evil Never Dies back in May, this band seem to be stronger than ever.
Having seen Valkyrja [4/5] back in 2011 with Gorgoroth and Vader, also in the Underworld, I was already assured that we were going to be in for a suitably degridated performance from the Swedish four-piece.
Having formed in 2004 it’s been almost 10 years since this band first began unleashing hell on the world and they have only gone from strength to strength since then. Returning to the UK shortly after the release of their latest studio album only a month earlier entitled The Antagonist’s Fire.
Turning out in corpse paint, bullet belts and leather complete with studs, Valkyrja may be pretty traditional on the black metal front, but they’re one of those bands that can take a genre that has been repeated 1000 times over and make it sound fresh, new and interesting.
What this band may lack in originality, they make up for in great song writing and a tight performance.
Firing out riff after riff backed by pummelling drum rhythms, this band fire out frost drenched songs pulled from the darkest northern pits.
For a band that have been landing such prestigious slots, this band may still be hanging round the edges of the British underground scene, but with performances like these it shouldn’t be to long before this band command total blackened domination.
One of Morgan’s (Marduk) lesser-known projects is punk metal outfit Death Wolf [3.5/5] take the slot of third support for the night. While he may be the master of 6 strings in Marduk, in this project he proves just as worthy on 4, taking up the bass for this band.
Beginning life in 2000 as Devil’s Whorehouse, a Misfits and Samhain cover band; they changed their name to Death Wolf in 2011. Despite changing from covers to writing original material, the band remains heavily influenced by the bands they started by emulating in an eternal homage to Glen Danzig.
With the release of their 2nd studio album in February this year II : Black Armoured Death, this band are just coming into their element.
Death Wolf are a band made to be seen live. Receiving mixed reviews, their album less than impressed many critics, but what was lacking in their recording was more than made up for live.
Raw, energetic and uncompromising, this band was made to play for crowds and free from the restrictions and pressure of radio friendly production they came out like a beast un-caged.
Maelstrom has a dominating stage presence drove the performance backed by powerful screamed vocal lines. Ozzy may be the Prince of Darkness, but these guys are doing far more than barking at the moon, they’re commanding the night.
Despite festivals like Bloodstock being inundated with Grave [5/5] shirts, I can’t say I ever had an real concept of just how popular and influential this band have really been.
Like so many long running death metal bands, it’s hard to know where to begin, and navigating such an extensive discography can soon see you clicking song after song, with no real idea of progression of flow.
Getting this band right though, and they’re a serious force to be reckoned with. They may have been on 2nd, but for many tonight was a double headliner, and as soon as they start playing it’s immediately obvious why.
There’s a real honesty about Grave: no frill, no posturing, just out and out death metal.
The stage may not have left the band a lot of space but what this band don’t have in movement, they make up for in sheer power. These guys are clearly comfortable both on stage and with each other. While other bands may be pushing to make a show, the violence and desolation just drips off them.
While they may have risen stronger than ever with their latest line-up, later songs like the opener ‘Amongst Marble and the Dead’ and ‘Morbid Ascent’ met with a colder reception.
Grave hasn’t lost it by any means, but there really is nothing like returning to the old album everyone knows and loves and by the look of how packed out the underworld is, they’re obviously still killing it.
Finishing on a song that harks right back to the beginning of their career, ‘Into the Grave,’ the set ends on a high and despite singing about the icy hands of death, the crowd have certainly not been left cold.
There’s really only one way to enjoy Marduk [4/5], and that’s from the pit.
There’s something about standing at the back listening to tunes about violence and death that doesn’t quite cut it, you really need to experience it amidst flailing sweaty punches and staggering bodies. The war is not only be in the songs, but it is also alive in the pit that night, and with Marduk it’s about to get particularly brutal.
It may have been about 15 years since Panzer Division Marduk first rolled out onto the market, but it’s lost none of the sheer destructive power that it had even back then, and the buzz from the venue proves this.
The over-zealous smoke machine may have blocked much of the band from view, but that doesn’t stop the fans of this band from making up for the energy lost in the fog and right from the opening of ‘Panzer Division Marduk’ the Underworld is whipped up into a frenzy.
With some confusion over what they will play after they are through with Panzer Division Marduk which finishes after a mere 30 minutes, Marduk has a surprise waiting after the closing of ‘Fistfucking God’s Planet.’
Almost without a breath, we’re suddenly thrown even further back to 1993.
It may not be their debut, but no one will complain when Those of the Unlight is also played in its entirety. From start to finish this is pure and utter madness, rounding the night off with ‘The Stone Stands in Silent Vigil.’
The battered audience roar one final battle cry. Marduk however chooses not to answer. The area lapses back into a deserted silence – broken cups the only evidence of the events that night.
It may be the fans that cause such rampant desolation but we are left in no doubt that it is Marduk that is in full control of the chaos.
1. Panzer Division Marduk
2. Baptism By Fire
3. Christraping Black Metal
4. Scorched Earth
5. Beast Of Prey
8. Fistfucking God’s Planet
9. Darkness Breeds Immortality
10. Those Of The Unlight
12. On Darkened Wings
13. Burn My Coffin
14. A Sculpture Of The Night
15. Echoes From The Past
16. Stone Stands In Silent Vigil