On June 19th, Marduk and 1349 graced the stage at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, CA. making the wait for their return to the United States worth every minute. With a line-up including Weapon, Withered, 1349, and Marduk, there is absolutely no way that the show couldn’t be amazing. Weapon, with their powerful vocals and Withered’s trance-like riffs, they were definitely the right choices to open. The short time between the bands was a very welcome surprise, but it didn’t sacrifice the sound quality. All the bands had a perfect mix of guitar, bass, vocals, and drums, without trying the audience’s patience with long sound checks. Both Weapon and Withered played a satisfying amount of songs, although I wished 1349 and Marduk had longer set lists. It wasn’t short, I just couldn’t get enough.
1349’s stage presence embodied the same dark brilliance as their songs, creating one of the best live shows I’ve seen. Their energy and “true to the studio” live sound brought the crowd into the show, causing an impressive circle pit, and a legion of headbanging and screaming fans. As their set went on, it made me regret even more that I missed their headline show the day before (due to lack of money, not lack of will, I’d like to point out). 1349’s performance raised the anticipation for Marduk even higher, leaving the stage with the audience breathless. As the house lights came back on and the filler music resumed, a peek at the stage, which exhibited Marduk’s logo, hit me with the realization that after waiting for so many years, I was finally about to see Marduk. Following in suit with 1349, their sound was perfect, as well as everything else.
Like Ravn, Mortuus commanded the audience with his stage presence and crowd dominating vocals, only proving further, that he was the best replacement vocalist for Legion in 2004. If I hadn’t already picked up a copy of Serpent Sermon (review can be found here), I would have bought it right after I heard their live version the album’s title track, and Souls for Belial. They made the album one of Marduk’s best, and were the hightlight of their setlist. Both of those songs, along with all the of the others, was a barrage of intense vocals, guitar, and bass, which created mixed emotions of absolutely loving the song, as well as dreading the end of it.
When it finally came to a close, the merch stand was filled, and fans left completely satisfied. Not only were the bands amazing, but the House of Blues knew how to put on a great show (easy parking, nice security guards, air conditioning, etc). A large portion of the day after the show, for me personally, was dedicated to browsing youtube for recordings, reliving the night before, and hoping to see both of them again in the near future.
Beginning as a 4 piece band, 1349 has has been a large part of the Norwegian Black Metal scene, by touring and consistently releasing chaotic albums with ingenious riffs and chaotic harmony. 1349 is not only one of the best bands in the genre, but they are also living proof that the genre is stronger than ever.
The Age of Metal had the chance to sit down with one of the two original members, Ravn, and discuss touring, their DVD, recording process, among other things.
Photos from the show can be found here: