The Voices From the Dark 2013 Tour, featuring Sweden's black metal juggernauts Marduk as headliners, along with Moonspell, Inquisition, The Foreshadowing, Death Wolf, and a host of other bands, made a stop in Poughkeepsie, NY on a frigid night that also was a celebration of sorts for local merchant Steve Keeler and his store Rock Fantasy, having been in business for 27 years. His shop is located in Middletown, NY, and if you haven't checked it out please be sure to head on over as he has a huge selection of heavy metal & hard rock CDs, DVDs, concert shirts, posters, memorabilia, pinball, and much more.
As I arrived at The Chance around 9PM, I missed out on the wealth of local metal acts who graced the stage (this show started around 6) as well as The Foreshadowing & Death World, but within minutes the black metal duo known as Inquisition were on stage and pummeling the audience with their unique and brutal set. With just a guitarist/vocalist and drummer, it's a pretty sparse scene when watching Inquisition deliver their brutal assault, but make no mistake about it, these guys have a huge sound. Dagon looks practically naked out there in the middle of the stage with just his trusty guitar and no one flanking his right or his left, just Incubus sitting at his drum kit behind him, so it makes for a fascinating view as the wall of sound comes cascading around you. Their music is crushing black metal, littered with massive guitar riffs, wild vocals that are a mix of frog croaks and robotic voice box statements, and acrobatic blast beats. The band played a selection of songs from throughout their long career, and the crowd ate it all up and wanted more. I'll admit I'd never heard this band until tonight, but for me they were by far the most impressive (and surprising for me I guess) band of the night and I'll certainly be seeking out their recorded output promply.
I've seen Portugal's Moonspell numerous times before, and the are generally always pretty solid, if at times a tad pedestrian. On this evening, I found them to be more enjoyable than previously, though somewhat of an odd fit for this tour. The band play a mix of melodic death metal, traditional heavy metal, and some gothic tinged rock, and they certainly had plenty of fans in the audience who sang along to every word. Vocalist Fernando Ribeiro is one of the better frontmen in all of extreme metal, as his theatrical and lively persona really conveys the emotion in the music quite well, though at times during this evening he seemed to be trying too hard to get the audience to clap and chant along to the songs when they were clearly already enjoying themselves. Some newer tracks from their most recent album were played, along with some old favorites, making for an enjoyable set that paved the way for the headliners Marduk.
If you've never seen Marduk live, well, let me just say that they are as 'relentless' as they are on album, even more so. Dressed in their camouflage garb and warpainted faces, Morgan, Mortuus, Devo & Lars hit the stage at nearly midnight and just pummelled from start to finish with a furious set of old and new Marduk war themed black metal classics. There's no subtlety at all in a Marduk live set, save for a couple of tunes where the band approach almost doomy delights, which is a nice break from the non stop blasting. Vocalist Mortuus has settled in nicely as the frontman for the band (they have had plenty of different singers over the years) and really knows how to work the crowd while Morgan rips off one volley of rapid fire guitar riffs after another. At the end of the night, the crowd was exhausted from a relentless set (and a lot of bands!), with a healthy dose of the most recent album Serpent Sermon, plus some from the excellent Wormwood, but of course some older favorites including their legendary "Panzer Division Marduk", which has become somewhat of an anthem for the band.
A killer night of extreme metal for sure, and good to see some heavy sounds returning to The Chance!