The third leg of the March of Blood and Iron Tour 2018 stopped in Budapest Friday,the 4th of May. Having already seen the 3 bands present on the bill before – Infernal War, Ragnarok and Marduk – I decided to go to the venue (Supersonic Blue Hell) out of curiosity and why not, for a pleasant way to spend Friday night.
Since the venue is 10 minutes from my place, I arrived there around 19.30, just in time to grab a drink and enjoy the opening act, the Poles from Infernal War. As you may know by now, their Polish date in Rzeszów was cancelled due to some assholes sabotaging the venue, in a desperate way to stop the so called “neo-nazi/satanic panic”. I won’t go into further details here, but I cannot and will not agree, never in a thousand years, with such a mindless behavior.
Anyway, the show in Budapest was under no risk of getting cancelled so the band walked on the stage at 19.30 sharp and delivered a brilliant performance of an insane black/death metal assault.
For this tour the band recruited as session vocalist the “crazy” Heretik Hellstörm, best known for his apparitions in Ragehammer or his live sessions with Outre. His absolutely insane performance brought serious consistency to the band’s music, from the savage headbanging to the powerful singing. The drummer Stormblast, also a live member in Azarath, crushed his kit ferociously, setting the rhythm to an uncontrollable speed.
2 years ago when I saw Infernal War for the first time I was really not very impressed by their music, but now, with this line up they really caught my full attention for the duration of their 45 minute set. I really enjoyed the subtle death metal riffs and tempos, which blended perfectly with the ferocity of the black metal parts and created a sonic “chaos” on the little stage of Blue Hell. I like this type of black metal, well executed and in your face, it strengthens your capacity to adapt to this shitty world we live in.
To see exactly how powerful Infernal War were, check out the below video for my favorite track from the Redesekration album, Spill the Dirty Blood of Jesus.
After the Polish assault, the stage was changed to better suit the next band, Norway’s Ragnarok, a band I very much listened to at some point in my youth. Since the last time I saw them live, almost 6 years ago, many changes took place in the band, with Jontho switching the drum kit with the microphone, since the former vocalist HansFryste left the band 4 years ago. I kinda lost Ragnarok there, since HansFryste was really a very good front-man, exactly what the band needed, and Jontho was better placed behind the drums.
But nevertheless I was curious to see how Ragnarok sounds like in 2018 and, even I did not follow the band’s discography anymore (I never listened to the Psychopathology album) I really hoped I will (still) enjoy the old songs, even in a different and quite new version.
As any Norwegian black metal band which respects itself, Ragnarok walked on the stage covered in corpsepaint, blood, with chains and leather and all the gimmicks. I kinda felt that by using the blood they wanted to be more into what the scene is today, rather than sticking to their old tools of the trade and maybe they succeeded at it, I don’t know. What I do know is that I was not impressed by their show, something was missing and even if they are extremely talented musicians, from my point of view the show was completely linear and flat.
The classic Ragnarok songs Pagan Land, Blackdoor Miracle or In Nomine Sathanas lacked that certain something which I felt attracted to years ago. Don’t get me wrong, their performance was not bad at all and the public confirmed that, appreciating their effort made on stage with cheering and applause, just that I most likely had some higher, more nostalgic expectations.
After Ragnarok left the stage, the longest change over occurred, allowing the techs to make room for the main attraction of the night, the mighty Panzers from Sweden. Marduk is a name which needs no introduction and which unfortunately has gained a notoriety among the left wing side of the world, which reflects in shows getting cancelled or stupid allegations being made. But the band doesn’t care and they carry on their banners of war and blasphemy. And that is all that counts.
That is why a Marduk show should never be missed, since this band, since day 1, has proved to have a backbone and an integrity which unfortunately many others lack so deeply.
They are one of the few bands out there who still practice what they preach no matter the reactions and I appreciate that very much, especially today, when politically correctness kills us all.
Just prior to the tour, the band released the first track from the forthcoming album Viktoria and I was extremely curious to hear how the 2 minute Werewolf will sound live. Besides that new song, Marduk played another new one, Equestrian Bloodlust, so I am pretty sure the new album will kick ass since day one.
Walking on stage while the air raids started to sound menacingly, the band attacked the audience with the 2 opening tracks from their highly acclaimed album Panzer Division Marduk, the title track and Baptism By Fire.
The set list was extremely diverse, with 14 songs chosen from the band’s impressive “modern” catalogue (Nightwing, Panzer Division, World Funeral, Plague Angel, Rom 5:12, Wormwood and the latest release so far, Frontschwein), without forgetting their origins and greeting the audience with the incredible The Black… from the very debut album Dark Endless, as an encore.
One of the main reasons I love Marduk, besides having one of the best black metal front-men in its ranks, Mortuus, is the fantastic ability to sound as if there are at least 3 guitars in the band, while in fact there’s only one. The ferocity of the riffs, supported by the insane blast beats, are so fucking well executed that one can actually imagine being crushed to death by a division of German tanks. At least this is how I feel their music live and I fucking love it.
Marduk grows old, but they become better and better with each passing year and that makes them one of the most impressive live bands ever. They delivered a straight in your face show, with no unnecessary gaps (just a well deserved break in the middle of the set when the instrumental Deathmarch allowed the band to recharge their batteries backstage) and they just let their music talk. Mortuus is the same cynical front-man, “provoking” the audience to react in one way or another, while Morgan shreds his guitar with the precision of a sniper who shots his deadly slugs.
Overall the Friday show was full of adrenaline and I am glad I saw some good bands at work, doing what they do best, with the same dedication and passion. The tour is ongoing so if you want to have a really good experience, do not hesitate and support the bands, they really deserve it.
Marduk Set list:
Panzer Division Marduk
Baptism by Fire
The Blond Beast
Of Hell’s Fire
The Levelling Dust
Throne of Rats
Between the Wolf-Packs
Burn My Coffin
Into Utter Madness