Marduk + Archgoat + Valkyrja + Attic
@ The Underworld, London
14th December 2018
Review by Demitri Levantis
Photos & Videos by Jo Blackened
A celebration of all things Scandinavian and war-themed metal came to London tonight as Sweden’s leading Black Metal war machine, Marduk descended upon the city on the promotional tour of their fourteenth album: Viktoria.
The stage was set, and the crowd gathered with strong anticipation as the first support band arrived to begin the evening’s terror.
Attic, a traditional Heavy Metal group from Germany who’d brought an altar onto the stage, was the first of the night.
It was intriguing seeing said altar laden with skulls, chalices, stones and other relics of occultism and would have made the regular onlooker wonder if the first band were a serious Satanist outfit – but that idea was somewhat changed when Attic began their show.
Memorable riffs powered from the guitars and vocalist Meister Cagliostro took control of the venue with his wide vocal range.
He was indeed impressive in how he used clean vocals to tells stories of devil worship and horror tales over music a little reminiscent of the NWOBHM scene.
As their tunes progressed, the Germans welcomed the swelling crowd to the Underworld as more and more revellers arrived and took their places, all ready for a fun night of evil, loud battle metal.
There were no pits going on as Attic’s set came to an end but it definitely felt like an appreciation was arising as the cheers went up as they ended their performance.
If you’re a fan of Nifelheim or In Solitude, do check out Attic, for they carry the same occult schtick as those guys, and are a nice nod to the old school days of the genre.
Attic is in no way Black Metal but was a good choice for a gig like this and they put on an impressive display of guitars and drums that fired into the audience to rev us up for what was to come.
So Germany had showcased its talent, now it was time to venture north for the Scandinavian brothers to show their strength.
Valkyrja, a band whom you’d think were Folk Metal given the name, but there was nothing folk related about these boys.
Dressed in old school Black Metal leathers and bullet belts, the sheer sight of these blokes said they meant business, and business was what they brought in its most brutal form.
Violence, death and the omnipotent Black Metal attitude of misanthropy ripped into the Underworld as Valkyrja blasted their way through the set, complete with precision blast beats and tremolo picking that made the guitars sound like an orchestra of chainsaws.
As their set progressed, it felt like a trance had overcome the venue and people like me were swaying to the atmosphere that only Black Metal can create.
Something that told me this band had practised many long hours and their strength and fortitude were on point. It should be noted these boys played their set in almost complete darkness, very fitting for an occult-themed band.
In the arena the anger and excitement was building, for one began to see the audience dig the extreme sound from these Swedes and whilst I don’t recall a pit occurring, one knew this was a band who meant business and the fans had received what they sought.
Darkness and a twilight-esque glow shone forth as Valkyrja blasted tune after tune about the occult and the misanthropic attitude Black Metal is known for.
Valkyrja were in town promoting their fourth album ‘Throne Ablaze’, and they certainly had the Underworld in a blaze of glory once their set had ended.
They were easily the most impressive band of the night for this critic, having only discovered them a few days before, so well done there Valkyrja.
Sweden had given its first barrage of the night, now it was Finland’s turn.
Archgoat, a Blackened Death Metal trio from Turku were up next, here in London to promote their fourth album ‘The Luciferian Crown’, and it was nothing short of hell they brought to earth with their evil sound that left an impression on the crowd like a white-hot branding iron.
What was most interesting about Archgoat is they carried forth such an impressive show without a huge amount of stage persona and also played on a pitch black stage.
In delivering their satanic blasts, vocalist Lord Angelslayer did not move around the stage and remained at his mic the whole time whilst the other two were immersed wholly in their instrumentation.
Movement around the stage is not essential to delivering a good show and Archgoat is one of those bands who prove that right, for the, stripped down and raw tunes pricked the minds and hearts of the London crowd like a crown of thorns.
Desecration of all things religious boomed from Archgoat as their set progressed, so this was no show for the faint-hearted – if you like Black and Death Metal that is fast, raw and brutal with no slow moments, then Archgoat is the band for you.
With their stripped-down take on both the Black and Death Metal genres, Archgoat had the blood pumping raw. Bloodcurdling screams of delight and ecstasy ripped from the crowd as the evening began to reach its vicious peak.
Back and forth the crowd swayed and the spiral of the mosh pit began to take hold as these Finns exacted their bloodthirsty assault of blasphemous metal upon their English fanbase.
These Finns took us to hell and back and it was only fair for the headliners to do the same – but with more weapons and explosiveness.
Marduk, the war machine of Swedish Black Metal, armed with enough audible firepower to remind London of the many horrifying air raids it underwent in the last war.
Here they were once again to show the world the Swedes know how to put murder, death, genocide and occultism to music in a delightfully misanthropic act.
Beginning with their signature tune: Panzer Division Marduk, the Swedes launched into the attack letting the venue burn up in a frenzy of devotion from the fans.
Several mosh pits sprang up quickly and the fun raged forth showing the band and the fans have not mellowed at all over Marduk’s 28-year history.
It wasn’t just war that reigned down from Mortuus’s mike and the impressive guitars of Devo and Morgan, these boys took the Underworld on a journey across their history to enchant and enslave the listener with odes to the darkest and creepiest horrors and spiritual practices.
If you want to know what a satanic battle of epic proportions would sound like, then Marduk is the band to go to, especially if you want a nice long barrage of blast beats and buzzsaw strings to pump up the testosterone when you need to be at your strongest.
It definitely felt like a battle had commenced for the circle pits ravaged the revellers like a swarm of stormtroopers pillaging a lonesome village.
As I watched in awe of the hefty, testosterone-fuelled attack in the arena, I noticed several people being escorted out by security for being too violent, so this was the place to be if you dig that kind of thing at a metal show.
Marduk played with military-style throws draped over their amps and the fateful dark of the venue made one feel this was what an audible assault on the psyche feels like if you decide to take the Swedish route.
I’ve seen Marduk around eight times over the years in more than one country, and it is reasonable to say that they do not disappoint when showcasing their talents, it’s no wonder this was a sellout show tonight. Well done once again Marduk, you really had the city on fire this evening.
Panzer Division Marduk/Baptism by Fire/Werwolf/Of Hell’s Fire/The Levelling Dust/Cloven Hoof/Throne of Rats/Burn My Coffin/Equestrian Bloodlust/The Blond Beast/Into Utter Madness/Wolves/The Black…
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