Marduk, Immolation and Origin @ The Fleece, Bristol
Weekday gigs are often strange affairs and especially so in Bristol where the local metal scene will invariably turn out in droves for bands such as Alestorm but often overlook the more extreme end of the spectrum, ironically leaving some gigs as barren as the graveyards and mortuaries that provide a wealth of lyrical inspiration. Luckily for Marduk however, this Wednesday night sees a crowd who are more than willing to have the midweek blues literally beaten out of them, Scandinavian style.
First up is Origin, with their brand of technical death metal that seems to this scribe to be an odd choice of opener for a legendary Swedish black metal band but regardless their ultra-tight, hyper-fast metal elicits a lot of movement from the crowd.
It’s been four years since New York death metal powerhouse Immolation graced UK shores and it’s like déjà vu as that too was in support of Marduk. It might be all genial banter with the crowd between tracks but when it comes to it this band can dish out an arse-kicking. As with every performance of theirs, the group are as tight as the nun’s cunt pictured on that infamous Marduk album cover. Robert Vigna provides Bristol with a masterclass in both death metal guitar work (those impossibly perfect pinch harmonics!) and mesmerising stage presence but it all seems to peak a little early with ‘Father, You’re Not a Father’ and ’90s death metal classic ‘Into Everlasting Fire’ placed near the beginning of the set. An hour of blasphemy, filled to the brim with great riffs and flawless guttural vocals, flies by and it is time for a distinctly Swedish chill to creep down the River Avon on this balmy evening.
Marduk get straight to the point as the title track from latest album ‘Frontschwein’ is rolled out amid blue lighting and dense dry ice, followed instantly by another new number in the form of ‘Blond Beast’ – a track that proves disco beats are sometimes called for in black metal. For us with a taste for Marduk’s older meat and potatoes black metal riffing it’s not long before the ’90s are alive and undead in the form of ‘Still Fucking Dead’ and ‘Of Hell’s Fire’. Tonight Marduk treat us to songs from across their career, blending as always the steamrolling, war-inspired death noise of tracks like ‘Panzer Division Marduk’ (highlighting drummer Fredrik Widings ridiculous capabilities behind the skins) with the Satanic, religious fervour of songs such as ‘Souls for Belial’.
Closing track ‘Wolves’ illustrates that Marduk, though remembered mostly for sounding like the audio equivalent of running across no-man’s land in a Hi-Vis jacket, can pen moody, considered and all-out classic black metal that works well in the live arena. As consummate and professional as their death metal counterparts on the night, Marduk illustrate just what can be achieved with some relatively simple (by comparison) riffs and structuring.
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