The Swedish black metal panzer battalion under the moniker of Marduk is without a doubt one of the most resilient and enduring extreme metal acts in the scene. That being said it’s been a while since Marduk invaded Zagreb; last time I have seen them was during the Serpent Sermon period in 2012 and I must admit the show was so-so mainly because of the drummer’s (Lars Broddesson) back problems which made him leave the band after. The next time Marduk visited Croatia was in Rijeka and by chance or better said “the fucking tour bus broke down” that was their last day on tour. I was not there but I was told that it was very much by the numbers with that bad vibe in the air because they need to cancel the rest of the dates.
So these guys have much to make up for it, and they bloody did it. But we will get to that.
The venue of the warzone event was Vintage Industrial Bar which had become The Place for most of alternative events which of course includes all of genres of metal. For all the right reasons; the place is big but small enough that it covers even casual and smaller acts, the sound is most of the time great, very clear and the schedule is rigorously honored.
Same with this event, the gates of Equestrian Bloodlust had opened a bit after 20:00 and the first band, German based heavy metal act Attic has started playing. And by heavy metal act I mean a total King Diamond rip-off, with faster tempos and occasional blast beats.
That’s right; Mercyful Fate/King Diamond clone is on tour with Marduk.
Nevertheless, a very tight but very by the numbers performance plagued by the buried vocals of Meister Cagliostro underneath the instruments, despite his casual finger pointing on the monitors. Which is a shame because when you can hear the guy in the slower parts of the song Dark Hosanna he really can pull a falsetto with a bit of a Rob Halford flavor in the mix. The musical sections are good and at moments impressive with Dissection style riffs with fast in your face solos. The other stand out track was “There Is No God”, but in all honesty it sounded like a shorter version of Satan’s Fall by Mercyful Fate. It’s really one of those acts that emulate their idols too much that only effect they give is to listen again those bands that inspired them to begin with.
2. Satan’s Bride
3. The Hound of Heaven
4. Dark Hosanna
5. There Is No God
6. The Headless Horseman
After the 6th song “Headless Horsemen” and some 35 minutes setlist Attic had left the stage and Valkyrja had started the line check shortly after.
Swedish natives same as Marduk also play black metal but in a very different vein, so they complement each other quite well so it’s no surprise that they toured together thoroughly this year and the last during the Victoria Europa tour.
Valkyrja as well are promoting their new album named “Throne Ablaze” released on World Terror Committee which covered most of their setlist. Same with Attic the dialogue with the crowd was put to a minimum and to be honest; at first two songs I was bored to death. Only during the third song “Madness Redeemer” I was getting the vibe that guys were building and that darkness was spreading during the whole set. I was liking it more and more by every minute. The sound was immensely better than on Attic despite the vocals (again) being sonically absent during the set. The dark lightshow was greatly helping with the whole image of the band that looked like they took an extensive vacation in some old Nordic cemetery before guys from Massive Music dug them up again and pointed to the tour bus. A great performance and with an even greater vibe which led to its climax during the last song called after their last album “Throne Ablaze” which I’m definitely checking out on first occasion.
1. Intro (In Ruins I Set My Throne)
2. Crowned Serpent
3. The Cremating Fire
4. Madness Redeemer
5. Opposer of Light
7. Oceans to Dust
8. Throne Ablaze
The next and the last dark act of the night is a band with almost 30 years of blasphemous existence and 14 albums under their darkened wings: Marduk. When this panzer tank got up the stage you realized is what you had seen so far were mere infantry. They opened with the first two Panzer Divison Marduk numbers and just sonically destroyed everything in sight. First that I must mention how Mortuuses vocals were very clear and audible. This is my fourth time watching them and I already had been accustomed that his voice gets lost in the sonic assault. But this night was anything but that; everything was pretty much clear, from Devo’s thunderous bass, Morgan’s shredding guitars and the new drummers Bloodhammer war blast beats.
Yep, to my surprise and everyone else’s: Widigs despite having impressive performance in the band and definitely being of the standouts in the last two albums Frontschwein and Victoria had left the band to pursue other non-musical projects.
But after hearing Bloodhammer just blasting its way through the songs and at the same time adding its own flavor I don’t miss Widigs one damn bit. The bad side is that the band despite promoting the new album Victoria is only playing two songs of the album and sticking to the set list of the past year. So the set list pretty much looks like a best of then anything else.
Back to the performance in question: Mortuus and the rest of the guys have a total command and presence on stage showing no sign of getting tired. However, the damn fans were not working so the club was steaming hot and looking like the third act of Total Recall movie with Schwarzenegger; no fucking air! So much that Mortuus had skipped a few vocal lines in the fast Cloven Hoof. Despite that watching them you forget that Morgan, Mortuus and Devo are deep in the forties and have more presence and energy then the most of the young bands of today.
After last two so-so performances in Croatia (Zagreb/Rijeka), Marduk had once again conquered Croatia with victorious vengeance.
Till the next time on the battlefield,
1. Panzer Division Marduk
2. Baptism By Fire
4. Of Hell’s Fire
5. The Levelling Dust
6. Cloven Hoof
8. Throne of Rats
9. Burn My Coffin
10. Equestrian Bloodlust
11. The Blond Beast
12. Into Utter Madness
14. The Black…