MARDUK, a name that brings a smile to these lips, and also conjures up memories of my early interests in Black Metal as they were one of the first bands I’ve ever heard that were indeed Black Metal. So, as you can imagine, I was pretty bummed when Legion called it quits. I mean it’s not like he had the best vocals, but they sure were recognizable, with his signature growl/shriek and whatnot. But all things changed when MARDUK announced that their new singer would be none other than Arioch (now Mortuus) from the almighty FUNERAL MIST, one of the best Black Metal bands EVER with one of the most fucking scary vocalists EVER.
So, celebrating MARDUK’s 15 (which is about 60 in band years) year anniversary Morgan and crew decided to release a live album and this made yours truly extremely happy, as I’ve yet to hear a fantastic Black Metal live album outside of “Death Comes In 26 Carefully Selected Pieces”. This is a very fitting “anniversary” present as “Warschau” contains songs from the oldest album, “Dark Endless” to the newest “Plague Angel” and the whole set is a great summary of all the sounds that MARDUK has gone through the last 15 years.
The sound is quite good, the guitars are crisp and the bass is thundering. The drums are a bit dominating at times, but nothing is ever completely drowned out. Mortuus’ vocals are great, really great, I knew that he had an original and powerful voice, but he does the same sound live and it still comes off as powerful as it does in the studio. The absolute best part about the production though, is being able to hear the feedback from the mics and the pickup of the guitars, hell even the snare shots sound different at points. I love this, as it means nothing is triggered (save double bass) and there were no studio overdubs, an actual live recording is what you get here. It all adds to the real aspect of this album. MARDUK blows through the entire set (which is a little under an hour and a half) with no audible errors, save a double bass speed adjustment, MARDUK has really turned into a powerful and tight musical act, capable of reproducing every aspect of their sound in a live setting.
Of course most of the set includes material from the “Plague Angel” album, but this is a tour for “Plague Angel”, I like this as “Plague Angel” in my opinion is a fantastic album, with much more mature lyrical content and some furious songwriting as the soon to be live classic “Warschau” is a great example. But classics like “Burn My Coffin”, “Azrael”, “Panzer Division Marduk” and the unholy “Wolves” never get old. It is odd that key live songs like “Christraping Black Metal” and “Fistfucking God’s Planet” are missing, perhaps to make a statement (“We’re a WAR band”)? Either way, the set is fantastic and the order of the songs is great, making the whole show enjoyable and flow extremely well.
It’s odd though, as Legion was very crowd friendly, to hear a MARDUK that isn’t as interactive. Now, it’s not like Mortuus ignores the crowd, he greets them and talks to them, but it’s just not the same casual way Legion did. I suppose though, it fits MARDUK’s image better though.
A great album by any means, I mean it is MARDUK live, performing some of their best material with the new (better) singer. Can you go wrong? No you idiot, you can’t. This is a win-win deal as not only this one of MARDUK’s best live performances but it’s also one of the best live Black Metal albums ever. Recommended to basically anyone, and if you’ve already got this album, pick up the new MARDUK DVD “Blood Puke Salvation” it’s fantastic as well. Extremely well done boys, I’m looking forward to when you come to the ‘States…..whenever the hell that’s going to be.
(Online March 17, 2007)