It might be cool outside as darkness falls but inside The Dome at Tufnell Park, London it’s sweaty and hot. Why? Because Marduk are in town.
A lengthy career spanning almost three decades, black metal legends Marduk have stopped in London to deliver a ritualistic and blasphemy filled sermon. With a new album (Viktoria) out in less then a month, the band’s impact on heavy metal in general can’t be denied and their live shows are well-loved. This is the final stop in the UK on a huge May tour called March of Blood and Iron.
Being sold out, it’s no shock that The Dome is heaving with bodies as the crowd rapturously awaits. The lights go out and the roar of approval that comes is deafening. How do you describe what follows? Imagine the heaviest black metal played at an unrelenting pace. A sonic wave that erupts from the stage, knocking bodies over as the fury is unreleased. It’s savage but not lacking rhythm, you can pick out the elements and no instrument overshadows the other.
On stage for an hour, at first it doesn’t feel long enough but true to form, Marduk make you feel every minute of their time. Those expecting an evil and brutalising experience won’t be disappointed but it has to be said that Marduk are way more engaging then expected.
While vocalist and frontman, Mortuus sticks to the script when talking to the masses (“London, let me hear you?” “London, are you awake yet?”) he is charismatic enough to get the reactions he wants.
All of that is a positive but perhaps the biggest takeaway from this show is just how good Marduk are. Somehow tracks that sound alright on record, sound even more immense here. The drumming…wow…it can’t be praised enough. Fredrik Widigs, the newest member of the band (2013) is an absolute machine bringing an extra level of heaviness. Not to take anything away from anyone else, the whole band are stunning.
Is it perfect? Well that depends on your taste. An hour of Marduk is just about enough and you can both see and hear the crowd flagging by the end. This isn’t helped by the band leaving the stage 35 minutes in and again 15 minutes later. It only lasts for a couple of minutes at a time but it’s enough to see the “Marduk” chants not seem so loud come the end.
It’s an impressive showing from the black metal stalwarts tonight. They might not have reached the heights of some of their peers but their popularity is plain to see.
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Marduk at The Dome, London (25/05/18)