Released: 2004, Regain Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
“I dedicate this one to Mr. Jesus Christ,” utters Marduk (now ex-) vocalist, Legion before launching into “Still Fucking Dead.” This very scenario sums up what legendary Swedish black metallers, Marduk, have been preaching to the masses since 1991. Finally, after a 13-year wait, those of us on this side of the Atlantic can finally see the legendary band live on their first DVD, FUNERAL MARCHES AND WARSONGS. The meat and potatoes of the DVD is comprised of three live shows taken from the band’s WORLD FUNERAL 2003 tour. Also included are a detailed discography, an extensive biography, a photo gallery and music videos for the tracks, “Hearse” and “World Funeral.” The cherry on top is the eight-page, full color booklet that is designed to look like a tour program.
The first show is from Paris, France and was filmed on April 9, 2003. This show was done in a small club with a tiny stage to what appears to be a packed house. Everything looks so tight and confined, it is almost claustrophobic to watch even in the comforts of your living room. What I also noticed is the number of stage divers. In North America, people mosh for some reason and I saw none of that during the European shows. Here, if someone gets on stage, the club bouncers will tear your arms out of their sockets to get you off the stage. There, it seems like part of the show! Interesting. Of course Marduk’s stock in trade has always been how fast they could play, while maintaining proficiency of their instruments. The Paris show features stellar versions of “Hearse” and “Of Hell’s Fire.” Legion’s screams are also something else on “Fistfucking God’s Planet.” Don’t miss bassist, B. War’s t-shirt that reads, “LEGALIZE MURDER,” either!
Strangely, the second show on the disc is actually the kick-off date for the tour and was filmed four days earlier (no continuity?) in Poland. This one features an identical setlist to the Paris show, but is filmed on a massive stage in front of thousands of people. The band moves around more but at the same time, they occasionally seem lost in such a big space. The filming is superb with sweeping cameras and close-ups, however the sound is a bit echo-y, I suppose, due to the much larger space. “Hearse” also gets A1 treatment here with Legion’s screams following the intro, “The funeral is about to begin…sir!” New drummer Emil Dragutinovic pounds the skins at an inhuman pace, while founding member Morgan Steinmeyer Hakansson tosses out riff after frenzied riff.
The third show is not a complete Marduk set, per se, but rather five tracks taken from their set at Party San in Germany in August 2003. While different songs from the other two shows are a welcome change, the audio mix is rather poor and is, in fact, the worst of the bunch. For long-time Marduk fans, it will be a thrill to see original member and former vocalist Jocke Gothberg singing on stage with Legion on “The Black” from 1992’s DARK ENDLESS album. This is the first time Gothberg has appeared on stage with Marduk since 1995, so it must have been a cool surprise for the German fans to witness. Legion ends the show with “I dedicate this one to Mr. Jesus Christ,” as the band launches into the classic “Still Fucking Dead” from the 1991 EP, HERE’S NO PEACE.
The bonus features are worth a look, too. The videos for “Hearse” and “World Funeral” are ultra-low budget but convey a creepy atmosphere befitting of the songs. Both videos are shot in black and white and are mostly performance footage of the band amidst smoke, skulls and shadows. The biography is very lengthy and detailed and is a very interesting read (just ignore the spelling and grammatical errors). The discography section outlines all the production details, track listings and covers of each Marduk release. The final item here is a photo gallery that is presented in a slideshow format.
I picked up FUNERAL MARCHES AND WARSONGS as an import for $25 CDN. While not a “must have” by any means, this DVD would have been better if an alternate show would have been presented instead of having two shows with identical setlists that were done only days apart. A vintage Marduk show? The first show with Legion on vocals, or the last with Jocke Gothberg? Something along those lines would have made it more interesting, but this DVD is very well put together and sure to please any fan of Marduk or those wishing to be introduced to one of the best bands black metal has to offer.