Marduk, Withered, Tombs & Black Anvil @ Gramercy – pics
words by Black Bubblegum, photos by Chris La Putt
Mortuus of Marduk is angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry.
Three beers and as many bands into the blackened bonanza at Gramercy, nature was calling. I scooted downstairs to a mostly empty bathroom where every stall was open but all of the sinks were occupied. Standing at the sinks were four men applying a base coat of white to their face, adding black around their eyes and upside-down crosses to their cheeks.
Mental note: corpse paint and beige khaki shorts is not a good look.
Gramercy’s doors swung open for me a little bit before 9:30, missing Black Anvil & Tombs (who by all accounts, destroyed… me = not surprised) but just in time to catch Withered for the umpteenth time in a year. Vocalist/guitarist Dylan Kilgore was absent for the second time in recent months (similar to the tail end of Mayhem fest), but their new guitar player was a suitable replacement. In fact, the road has been good to Withered; every single NYC performance is better than the last, with Saturday’s performance topping them all. It is debatable, yet entirely possible, that Withered were as or more powerful than the mighty Marduk.
Besides some of the more familiar landmarks in their setlist (from their two LPs Folie Circulaire and Memento Mori), Witheredalso revealed “From Shadows”, a new song which, according to members of the band, will be recorded in the coming months for a new LP(!). The track retains all of the Withered signatures of subtle melody, blasting power, and unplanned left turns. Get psyched.
To chants of “Panzer Division Marduk”, the Swedish black metallers took the stage clad in all black (doy), 14 hole combat boots, and the requisite corpse paint. The band was gloriously powerful, and I couldn’t help but wonder about how the band would have fared on Blackened Fest. Would opening for the extremely theatrical Mayhem diminish their impact or would Cephalic Carnage‘s relatively clinical approach made them seem all the more punishing? Either way, dem boys were good. The sound was well balanced for Marduk from multiple points of view (as it was for Withered), with my single complaint being there wasn’t enough guitar in the mix (which is probably is due to the fact that the band had one guitarist).
Before the set, multiple backstage sources were spreading the word that the band had gallons of cow blood prepped for use during their set. Gallons, I cannot verify, but vocalist Mortuus (also known for his work in Funeral Mist) did pause for a moment mid-set to “drink” a chalice filled with cow blood, most (all?) of which ended up on his chin and chest. Yummy. It was highly theatrical and down right hilarious/awesome. To quote Bon Scott: “If you want blood, you got it!”
Marduk has said in the recent past that these three dates are just a taste before they embark on a full-on US tour in the winter. Let’s hope that NYC gets another date… just don’t count on me to get made-up for it.
More pictures below….