MARDUK's attempts to play WeHo this year have been cursed. Back in June, MARDUK was supposed to play the House of Blues with fellow black metallers MAYHEM but were forced to cancel the tour because of visa issues. The good news about that is now we have been able to digest their newest offering, Wormwood, prior to their show and its going down well. The album was recently heralded by Decibel as the #9 extreme metal album of 2009 (BARONESS's Blue Record was #1 - catch them at the Troubadour on 12/3), and by my personal guide to music too few know about, Aquarius Records, as "black metal record of the year":
In the beginning, Swedish black metal horde Marduk were a special breed, a sonic panzer division onslaught, that mostly consisted of locking into a riff, dropping in an insanely fast blast beat, and then letting rip, rarely veering from their course. Fast and furious and heavy. Lots of folks thought they were boring, but for us, the sound of Marduk was transcendent, mesmerizing, hypnotic, cyclical, it was trancelike, and we loved it.
The something changed, and Marduk began to morph into something new, something much less one dimensional (even though it was a great dimension), their sound began to drift more toward the avant garde side of BM, becoming more gnarled and convoluted and fucked up, where was once old school classic Swedish blackness, aligned with the Scandinavian pantheon, was now some strange modern avant black weirdness, now more in line with groups like Deathspell Omega, Funeral Mist and the like, which make sense considering Funeral Mist vocalist Mortuus joined the group right around this shift.
Wormwood is not inherently a 'weird record', it's not fucked up and freaky the way Furze or Necrofrost are - the weirdness here, the strange song structures, the freaked out non black parts, the fucked up samples, the drones, the doomy breakdowns, they're all seamlessly integrated into Marduk's sound, for every blast of Swedish blackness, there's some soaring melodic almost NWOBHM sounding melody, for every stretch of doomy pound, there's some gurgly bass heavy creep, the whole record is twisted, but subtly so, it's not about being weird or fucked up, it's about making a truly original piece of black art, which by its very nature IS both fucked up and weird. But the fact that's not the be all end all, keeps Wormwood from being gimmicky, instead it's a fierce and furious ultra heavy black metal record, with lots of twists and turns, which in a nutshell, means quite possible black metal record of the year for sure.
The postponement also gave MARDUK an opportunity to assemble a lineup for their U.S. Plague Tour that includes some of the strongest bands in their genre, along with thrashers MANTIC RITUAL. Now comes news that the tour's December 4th stop at Key Club has been cancelled for reasons that have nothing to do with the band and everything to do with the venue (Key Club is closing as of 12/1 to re-model - there are no more shows on its calendar). The promoters, Church of the 8th Day, have scrambled to save the show and have found a new room deep in the bowels of downtown Los Angeles. In our view, this change is another welcomed twist of fate. Black Metal in WeHo is a paradox; an undiscovered part of downtown provides the natural setting. Here's the full announcement:
The “US Plague Tour”, featuring MARDUK, NACHTMYSTIUM, BLACK ANVIL, MANTIC RITUAL, and MERRIMACK that was scheduled to stop at the Key Club on Friday, December 4th, has been moved, due to the Key Club closing it doors to re-model. The new location for the show, is the Salon Royal (Royal Hall) in downtown, located at 8637 South Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90002. Parking is provided, with an entrance through the “Steel and Lube” entrance.
A statement from Jordan of Church of the 8th Day, the promoters for the show:
“Since everyone has been asking, what and where the Royal Hall is, I wanted to explain, and send something out to clear things up. The Key Club canceled the show, about two weeks ago, leaving us just a few weeks to move it. Since we had two stages worth of bands booked, it was near impossible to move the show to anywhere in Hollywood, at a reputable club, as everything was already booked. We found a place in downtown, which is a banquet hall, and we are going to build it into a venue from the ground up, with two full stages and great sound, full bar, and a BBQ. There have been numerous events held there, including the Bestial Legion Fest. If you purchased tickets through one of the local bands, your tickets will still be valid at the new venue. If you purchased your tickets through TicketMaster, you should be receiving your refund any day. The Key Club said they will be issuing refunds, but they haven't been responding to us about the progress of it, so if you'd like to call and find out, go ahead. You can now purchase tickets exclusively through our new ticketing website, 8thDayTix.com. We're sorry about the confusion, and hope to see everyone there. More information can be found at www.churchofthe8thday.com.”