International tours are pretty rare these days, so any opportunity for catching a gig should be taken. Marduk had to postpone their 30 year anniversary tour for a year, but were at last playing Europe again. With three dates in the Netherlands, I picked the one in Tilburg, as it was logistically the easiest. Changes to the corona rules forced this gig to be a seated gig and so instead of playing in the smaller hall of venue is was moved to the main stage shortly before. Well I hadn’t really been to a seated gig, so that would be a new experience at least.
As I arrived the venue was still mostly empty. The main hall had a large number of rows of seats and I picked one in the first couple of rows. Not that these seats were any comfortable at all. Anyway after a while the Dutch band Doodswens (death wish in Dutch) started to play. I expected a two-girl band, but there was only a girl on drums and two guys on guitar. The sound quality was not very good, as the bass drum was way too loud in the mix, so it was quite hard to pick out what was really going on. It was black metal with mostly simple riffing and songwriting. Not all that entertaining but not really bad either.
I hadn’t heard the band Valkyrja before. A Swedish black metal band that had been around for quite a while as well. This was pretty much black metal by the book, fairly melodic and formulaic. Some of the lead guitar work played by the guitarist who also sang was quite interesting, particularly it was fairly technical and he was singing at the same time. The sound was better than the previous band, but still not great.
Then it was time for Marduk to play their Christ Rapnig Black Metal. I’m mostly familiar with their albums from the 90 and no so much with the material after 2000. And they opened with some of the newer songs. There is some cool riffs and leads guitar work in it though. Maybe I ought to check out the rest of their discography some time. But the reason for me to go was that they also played a lot of earlier material. Like Materialized in Stone which I think is their best song, Those of the Unlight, Beyond the Grace of God and even The Funeral Seemed to Be Endless off the debut album. They also played Sun Has Failed off Opus Nocturne, along with some newer songs. The however skipped a lot of the mid era albums, like La grande danse macabre or Wormwood. Never the less the set list was a pretty good overview of their discography. To remain seated however was a bit of a difficult thing for part of the audience. After a couple of songs people started to get off their seats and even a mosh pit formed. Security intervened for a bit and people were urged to take to sit down again. Something that remained hard for many. And during the encores – Slay the Nazarene and Panzer Division Marduk, a new moshpit was formed. Metal gigs just aren’t meant to be watched sitting down – it just is weird. Anyway the gig was quite cool, with cool set list even though I’ve never been a huge fan of Marduk – I enjoyed this rare opportunity to see international live bands. Hopefully there will be more, but the near future looks quite bleak.