TEMPE, ARIZONA 3/10/2013

It was with much ecstatic emotion that I finally got to see Marduk live after waiting over half of my life to witness this. My goodness, the band that put out the “Fuck Me Jesus” demo which Relapse once called “The most blasphemous artwork ever created!” in their catalog in the mid-90s was finally going to blessedly curse me with their presence! Was it worth it? Were the supporting acts worth seeing, even if Moonspell and Inquisition were eating up time spent in lewd anticipation for Marduk? Listen here to my tale…

First, we see a band called Willow from Flagstaff embrace that stage. With nothing more than a drummer and a lead guitarist who also handled vocal duties, Willow played a rather short set to a sparse crowd while the sun was still out. While hardly anything original or groundbreaking, Willow did bring a raging-fast and aggressive twenty-ish minutes of traditional black metal without anything left to the wandering imagination. For a rather sparse amount a time, this regional act garnered a positive reaction from the early arrivers.

We then encountered The Foreshadowing from Italy. I had yet to hear about these guys and honestly did give it my all to indulge, but it really wasn’t meant to be. My mind wandered and their offerings simply went in one ear and out the other. It seemed a bit too Shadows Fall for my liking, which is none whatsoever about that trite act. Oh well, win some, lose some!

Inqusition came on stage next. As I was incredibly stoked to see them, I had no idea there was only a drummer and a lead guitarist. Is this to be the norm for black metal these days? Certainly if a band can execute their message well enough, the two instruments alone can provide a destructive force perfectly minus any bass, believe it or not. Inquisition’s vocals are certainly among the band’s high points, and although their set was fairly short for a band, Inquisition’s savage assault upon us coupled with their frog-croak vocals were damn plenty to give a salivating audience a show of unprecedented rawness and brutality. There was truly nothing negative to be said about their act!After The Foreshadowing came Death Wolf. And yes, they were once The Devil’s Whorehouse. And yes, it’s comprised of Marduk members. And yes, they were about as exciting as watching water freeze or concrete harden. Literally, I was daydreaming about baseball as if I were having sex with the wife I don’t even have, and I only casually like sports as is. Death Wolf reminded me of even worse Godsmack or other horrendous mall metal acts. Their set simply couldn’t have ended soon enough!

Moonspell may have been the wild card and mixed bag amongst the roster, with their ever-evolving gothic rock sound taking precedence over any black metal sensibilities they may have had early on, While maybe a tad out of place on this bill, Moonspell aggression and talent shined through vibrantly for those who came prepared to embrace them. Though far from black or death have they strayedd over the years, Moonspell hit every note and chord perfectly and were a worthy runner-up act regardless. They were spot-on in every way for a solid live act.

And this, came the headliner Marduk and all the legends surrounding them. Finally! It seemed to good to be true, and in a sad sense, it really was. Don’t get me wrong, Marduk played quite the variety of tracks throughout their long career, even some early death metal material they they’ve all but ditched for the last two decades. And that was indeed awesome. However, due to such a large and crowded bill and the fact that curfew needs to be in full effect, Marduk had to wrap up before midnight, which led to a set of slightly less than 45 minutes. It was almost criminal for a band with such a long history and so many releases, and their set ended abruptly after announcing their last song for the night. Blazingly fast and packing an amazing blitzkrieg wallop, Marduk did create a seismic impact with their short set, but it wasn’t anywhere near what anybody had it mind and left everybody feeling slightly gypped after.

Well, overall it was great to see several long-running acts while surrounded by dozens of metalheads from varying generations, but the band we wanted to see most got horribly compromised due to a rash of bullshit laws. And that really stung. Well, in the end, Marduk was seen by maybe hapless souls, even if for a brief amount of time. May there be many more chances and may them scorch the earth even worse, ideally without any other forms of interference! (FA)