Gig report: Marduk / Doodswens / Skaphos / Moorah, Croatia, 1.6.2022

Gig report: Marduk / Doodswens / Skaphos / Moorah, Croatia, 1.6.2022

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Marduk, Skaphos, Moorah ViB Zagreb, CRO 1.6.2022.

Or a Warzone of Chaos & Confusion

First of June marks Marduk‘s glorious return Zagreb, Croatia on their tour celebrating 30 years of blood and iron. This time their comrades in arms are young black acts; Doodswens from Netherlands, Skapos from France and Moorah from Czechia. I will be perfectly honest with; I’m going into these bands with fresh ripe ears because frankly, I never heard of them.

The chosen warzone of chaos and confusion (I’ll explain that later) is Vintage Industrial Bar which almost a tradition Marduk and this night will not be any different. The venue, if I’m not mistaken is their live concert since the pandemic, a detail that would come again later.

Start of the event was pushed back a bit to with the last minute news that Doodswens had canceled their performance because of personal reasons (so I heard) so the first band Moorah started in 20:00 sharp.

A quite young black metal act formed in 2019 as Moora and has one album behind. Despite the genre, the mood and attitude of the band was relaxed and laid back. Even Count Hroozah (founder of the band) learned a few Croatian words which always a nice touch. The sound even in the first row is quite clear and hardly missing a single note. The music I would call more of a minimalistic black metal, a lot of slow and in times interesting mid-tempo parts with songs long as 8 minutes. The biggest eye-catcher was the keyboard player who for some reason reminded me of mixture of Geoff Nichols and Michael Kamen.

You only wish that these keyboards were more often utilized, the guy pretty much 75% of their gig hanged around and this kind of minimalistic music such thing as keyboards are desperately needed. To be perfectly honest; most of their material performed sounds like songs at first revision and definitely needs a few twist and turns before you call it a material worth your while.

Right after Moorah the stage will begin to be flooded (no pun intended) with decoration and banner by Skaphos from France; fishnets, banners with some Lovecraftian piranhas, long spikes and the whole seven seas from Hell.

And hell started; the band’s music and performance was relentless and punishing from start to end. Imagine Akercocke, but underwater. That’s how it sounded like. The bands drummer Paul Sordet is something else. The guy annihilated the drum set. Have in mind also that the band little had taken breaks between the songs, if there was any. So a huge kudos to the band for such stamina and powerful performance. If I have to complain about anything are there vocals that either inaudible or just fucking noise that gave little to already solid musicianship.

After Skaphos cleared their set it was time for the four piece armada from Sweden. You could imagine how much this tour is big for Marduk, it’s their 30 years of existence (not counting those 2 years of the pandemic) and there’s gonna be big flags, banners, torches…

Nope, two medium Marshall amps, a dozen beer cans, few water bottles (the vocalist needs to keep his hair wet after all), a killer drum set and a medium sized with Marduk‘s signature wolf on it.

I took some before the gig started, your usual sound check ended up with two guys scrambling around the stage monitors plugging and unplugging cables. There was something amiss.

Nevertheless, Marduk arrived on the stage. This is my fifth time seeing them and I’m still at ave with their stage presence and commanding vibe. With the same vigor the first sonic assault was Werwolf ripping us to shreds.

Being in the first line of fire has it benefits in seeing the band less than one meter from you, but you can witness all the fuck ups as well. First sign of trouble was that the mic cable was to short and Mortuus could barely move without pulling it off or poor Morgan stepping on it.

Second was the vocalist had more than your usual grim face when he was looking at the stage monitors. Something did not worked. So much that he dropped the mic at the beginning of Those of the Unlight.

Yes, Mortuus dropped the mic and left the stage. Scratching that one off the personal bucket list.

Now, you would think that Daniel Rosten is playing a diva and such. Thing is that his stage monitors did not worked and he was more or less performing blind. Imagine being in a band like Marduk which is constantly on tour and you are screaming your ass off half of the year, every year. You need preserve your voice any way you can and this shit happens. You would do a shitty performance at the best or damaging your vocals chords at worst and struggling with the next 20 dates of the tour, just because some moron did not knew what he was doing.

Luckily in the middle of the same song he returned on the stage after the tech guy tried to fix the monitors. Simon reseted the part where the vocals starts so Mortuus can go smoothly.

This something that needs to be mentioned in how much the drummer was not only insanely on point but how much he saved the whole band during some minor fuck ups and resetting a certain part of the song or riff so the rest on the band can get back to the track. The guy is a fucking powerhouse.

Setlist was impressive, gone are the material from ROM 5:12 and Wormwood with keeping the war thematic tracks with several old material from Legion era and their severely overlooked first album Dark Endless. Unfortunately the band struggled with the seemly unending technical problems with the tech guy with those two red point lasers hoping on and off the stage trying to correct the situation.

And that’s not all; there was virtually not fucking air in there. Combining that with the smoke machine that instead of cooling you off a bit it smelled like someone threw in a dozen Marlboro ashtrays and turned the fucker on.  Being a big fan of the band for good 15 years the experience was on half enjoyment and one half morbid curiosity of “what the shit is gonna happen next?” Even Morgan was kicking the damn monitors around the stage. If you managed to piss off a stoic guy like him you know you are screwed. I really don’t know who is the blame here; the owner of the club, sound/tech guy… I have no clue, but whoever it is he should throw to a pit full of Rottweilers on angeldust.

But the band bloody pulled off and I think few bands could have kept it professional as much as they did and again, as always pulled of great performance.

Setlist:

  1. Werwolf
  2. The Hangman of Prague
  3. Seven Angels, Seven Trumpets
  4. Those of the Unlight
  5. Frontschwein
  6. Materialized in Stone
  7. Beyond the Grace of God
  8. The Funeral Seemed to Be Endless
  9. Warschau III: Necropolis
  10. Viktoria
  11. Bleached Bones
  12. The Sun Has Failed
  13. World Funeral
  14. Wolves

Encore:

  1. Panzer Division Marduk

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