Night of the Living Corpses
Marduk, Angelcorpse and Enthroned at the Hard Club, Gaia, Portugal on October 20, 1999
by: Pedro Azevedo
I was driving to the Hard Club on this wednesday night, following my usual route, which was rather deserted on that particular midweek night. It was already time for the concert to start as I descended towards the riverside and the Hard Club. That was when I saw parts of the empty road before me torn asunder... as if there were open graves in the pavement. But no, I did -not- end up having to fight off any recently unearthed undead cadavers; just some measly road works that made me take a half-hour long detour. I therefore missed the first two bands of the night: Goldenpyre and Firstborn Evil, both Portuguese.

It was only when I arrived at the Hard Club that the "corpses" started to appear almost everywhere: two most likely corpse-painted black metal bands and also Angelcorpse were scheduled to play; some of the attendants also wore corpse-paint (as one should expect); and after the concert I saw an announcement which stated that Cannibal Corpse would be playing at the Hard Club the following month.

The Belgian Enthroned ended up being the first band I saw that night. Not being familiar with any of their records, I was also unimpressed with their live performance and therefore felt no desire to seek their work on CD. Not that their show was especially poor, but they just played some rather unremarkable black metal, without any outstanding brutal or artistic elements.

Despite the presence of Marduk, the band I was looking forward to the most was Angelcorpse, and they did not disappoint. Having listened to their _The Inexorable_ record [CoC #44] quite a lot during the days that preceded the concert, I knew they could play some very intense and enjoyable death metal and had a feeling they might be able to make it work live. And they did. Their live show is quite close to the original songs, and they managed to incorporate some major energy in their performance and made an impression on most of the crowd. "Stormgods Unbound" and "Begotten (Through Blood and Flame)" -- my favourite songs on the CD -- were especially outstanding live, as I expected. Fine performance; for me, they were the best band of the night.

Finally, an almost god-like reception for Marduk from the crowd (a very significant part of which had to travel north all the way from the Lisbon area, since Marduk only played in the Hard Club). As their latest effort _Panzer Division Marduk_ (which I hadn't had a chance to fully analyse yet) was considered by many as a masterpiece in black metal brutality, I was looking forward to seeing what they could do live as well. The result was a mild disappointment -- a bit similar to what happened with Dark Funeral [CoC #39]. Marduk's live performance was brutal and effective, but lacked the ability to be anything more than that -- it didn't captivate me. The level of their brutality didn't blow me away, neither did the quality of their live riffs or vocals. Not that any of those elements weren't decent -- they just didn't live up to my expectations. Vocalist Legion's delight with the crowd's "Marduk, Marduk" chants was rather exaggerated and his reactions further subtracted from what could have been a dense black metal atmosphere, but which they never were fully able to create (despite Legion's firebreathing show). Entertaining, but overall not as good as I expected.

When the concert was over, I was already thinking about the Cannibal Corpse show scheduled for November, especially since Aeternus were the main support band. However, I ended up missing that show (but at least CC didn't play my favourite song of theirs, "Blood Drenched Execution") and also Primordial's Iberian tour in early December, which I -really- wanted to see. All this due to -very- poorly timed illness, which lasted for less than a month but still made me miss both concerts. And over here months usually pass -without- any interesting concerts whatsoever...

(article submitted 15/1/2000)

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