Marduk @ The Underworld, London

February 26th, 2015

Review by Demitri Levantis
Videos by Jo Blackened

The true sound of the most evil music imaginable was brought upon the quaint city of London on the evening of Thursday 26 February.

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Swedish Black Metal veterans Marduk took to the stage at the Underworld, Camden promoting Frontschwein – the group’s 13th studio album.

Opening up this night to remember were Liverpool’s Ethereal, having just released their debut album, Opus Aethereum. And what a showcase it was for the band’s new release. Their performance was vicious, raspy and laden down with all the anguish and morosity you’d expect from a band who fuse symphonic, death and doom metal in a mixture that preserves its rawness and delves into the most uplifting and enchanting of euphorias. The band sounded just as good as they do on CD and frontman Naut certainly welcomed the audience to a memorable evening by greeting the front barrier mid song.

Up next were French quintet Bliss of Flesh, who put on a formidable performance but it didn’t jump out at me as anything new. Compared to Ethereal, Bliss of Flesh lacked stage charisma and exhibited signs of a band entering their days of producing bog standard music until a sudden new change comes out of nowhere. Their performance was in no way terrible – it just didn’t amaze me. Worth watching but not a band I’d go see again.

And then the headliners began to pour in with Belpehgor, all the way from Austria with their tenth studio release Conjuring the Dead released last summer.

I’ve usually regarded Belphegor as Austria’s answer to Behemoth, but this gig made me think otherwise. Granted, this was an excellent performance of some of the best European Death and Black Metal, but again there wasn’t the same stage charisma as their Polish brothers in arms. Belphegor tore through several classics and many all new tunes and left the audience feeling as satisfied as a sweaty room full of extreme metal heads can ever be. Very good but some improvement on stage presence later I think.

Rounding off the evening, the veterans of the Swedish Black Metal scene Marduk who brought topics of war and genocide into the black metal canon gave us the angriest performance I’ve seen in quite some time.

Vocalist Mortuus has to be one of the angriest frontmen I’ve ever seen, and because this was an indoor gig it made the extremities all the more powerful with people crowd surfing and more than one pit going at one point.

Marduk gave us a tirade of new material alongside some of the classics from their Panzer Division and Wormwood days. They even played sever tracks from first album Dark Endless, pleasing any aged and experienced fans in the crowd.

Overall, this has to be one of the best shows I’ve taken in this year. Black metal appeals as more of an indoor genre and I’m pleased this was not open air, for within the walls of the Underworld I was exposed to some of the most brutal music concocted by members of the greatest modern musical culture.

Excellent job Marduk. Please visit the UK again soon!

For more videos of this gig, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Altercarnated/videos

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