The day had arrived. I would FINALLY see one of my absolute favorite Black Metal bands, MARDUK, live at Reverb in Reading, PA. As you know, this is a venue I love with a fiery passion. Mark Kohl always puts on excellent shows, and as a result, my happy ass is there whenever I can be! It had been a while since Mike Sievila Photography and I got to hang out and work a show together, so in this case the stars aligned perfectly. When you factor in that the always fucking awesome ABYSMAL DAWN was in a support slot, you can bet your ass I was guaranteed to be in attendance.
After stopping at Maria’s Restaurant and Lounge (NO visit to reading is complete without a slice of their “need a forklift to carry it” pizza!) for some tasty treats we made our way to the club. We had a lot of fun chatting with the door staff outside while waiting for me to get the OK as to when I’d be interviewing MARDUK’S Morgan on-site (Oh, did I not mention?), and all the fellow fans we encountered were in great spirits, anticipating a great show.
And speaking of great shows, lemme tell ya about what ABYSMAL DAWN did on this night. They put on a FUCKING. DEATH METAL. CLINIC. So many heads were banging and so many fists were raised the minute they launched into “Human Obsolescence” from latest album Obsolescence. This only continued as tracks like “In Service of Time”, “Rapture Renowned”,“Grotesque Modern Art”, and “Servants to Their Knees” ripped through the club like a knife through flesh.
One of the best new songs “Inanimate” followed, and then, sadly, there was only one more to be played, “The Inevitable Return to Darkness.” One of my favorites from the group, it was a fucking pleasure to see and hear it in this live setting. All told ABYSMAL DAWN set the venue on its ear, and vocalist/guitarist Charles Elliott, bassist Eliseo Garcia, touring guitarist Vito Petroni, and drummer James Coppolino have a lot to be proud of. Not only did I hear a lot of people raving about their live set, but I also saw a LOT of ABYSMAL DAWN shirts on the backs of people that didn’t have them on earlier. And I think that speaks volumes.
Now it was time for MARDUK!! There were visa issues in the past, and other things that kept me from seeing them before, but tonight they would not be stopped. A military-style barrage in a one-two-three attack opened the show with “Frontschwein” and “The Blonde Beast” from latest record Frontschwein, then “Of Hell’s Fire” from the Nightwing album. The crowd was going batshit, and rightfully so. Especially when the band ripped into tunes like “Throne of Rats” and “Cloven Hoof.”
One of my favorite moments of the night though, was when they played “Wartheland” from the new album. I fucking love this song, and live it damn near burned the house down. The same can be said for “Panzer Division Marduk”, “Legion”, and “Wolves.” This crowd was goddamn rabid and it felt like their fire would never be fully stoked no matter how much coal the band shoved into them. They just wanted more and more. Closer “The Black Tormentor of Satan” seemed like it did the trick to satiate the Black Metal appetite of everyone in the room, but who knows? These metalheads looked like they could go all night and then some.
All told though, this was an excellent night. Finally seeing MARDUK live, and on top of that, getting to see ABYSMAL DAWN as well as hang with them again made for one helluva night. Good food and drink with Mike Sievila beforehand was pretty goddamn cool, too. If you’ve never caught either of these bands live and in the flesh, all I can say is you need to remedy that, and remedy it soon.
LIVE IMAGES: MIKE SIEVILA PHOTOGRAPHY
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO