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Marduk circa 2009

By: Stefan Raduta - Special to Blistering.com

So we lived to see it happen. Marduk, the most devastating Swedish black metal war machine in existence(and let there be no doubt about it!), has finally set foot on American soil after eight long years in which almost everyone gave up even their last hope. The announcement of the Blackened Death Fest was the tour all of us waited for so many excruciating years, but it quickly turned into a painful disappointment starting with New York City, on May 21st. Everyone’s papers were fine, but Mortuus hadn’t received his visa as promised due to bureaucracy. People were devastated, literally crushed. Everyone was there for them, this was such a blow to each person present. As much as many love Mayhem, without Blasphemer on stage they were just going to be a cover band. Some cursed their fate, turned around and just left home, pissed as hell. I stayed and really made myself enjoy Mayhem, thinking that Rune was with them. But it’s all over now.

Last night on August 15th, Marduk simply pulverized New York City. Marduk crushed us. They let loose their hellish flames and swallowed us as a whole. They knew they owed it to us, and they gave such a sick performance I’m sure it will stay in people’s minds forever. Those who’ve seen them for the first time were obviously the first victims, but nobody really stood a chance. I’ve seen a lot of shows in my life but nothing can top the carnage last night. Song after song (so many old classics, damnnn!) they just plunged the knives even deeper, showing no mercy. The Swedish wolves devoured every soul ahead of them.

“We’re hungrier than we’re ever been!” were Daniel "Mortuus" Rosten’s last words to me before he went backstage to get ready. Throughout the whole interview he looked like a man with a purpose, not a single smile but genuine and respectful. He imposes respect, with or without corpsepaint. After what I witnessed last night I’m absolutely persuaded he is one of the most (if not the most) ferocious vocalist in the entire black metal scene.

This is the first in a sort-of exclusive chat right before the show with the man himself, Mortuus. It will be followed shortly by a very revealing discussion with he who started it all, Morgan "Evil" Steinmeyer Håkansson.

Blistering.com: I’m curious about the circumstances of you joining Marduk. How long had you known Morgan before that happened?

Actually I never knew Morgan personally before joining the band.

Blistering.com: Was Legion out of the band by then?

Good question…I think so, he was out officially by then.

Blistering.com: How did he approach you, since you didn’t know him?

I was of course very familiar with the band’s music and history. He called me two weeks before, and we had a serious conversation. We discussed about the band…he told me his vision, where he wants to take it next, and he asked me where I stood on that, what my vision would be. We realized immediately that we had a lot of things in common, lots of similar interests, but ultimately we both had the same goals…not only as to the next level Marduk should be taken to, but Black Metal as a whole.

Blistering.com: How long did it take until he said you were in?

Actually that was before this discussion I think…I don’t remember exactly, but he made it clear from the beginning that he wanted me on board.

Blistering.com: read statements that your work on Funeral Mist’s “Salvation” was the factor…I bet you were excited as hell when he came with the offer.

I was excited, of course. How could not I have been? Especially after we had the talk I told you about, when we discussed about the goals of the band, about what I would bring…I felt very confident about. If Morgan hadn’t given me full freedom, I would most likely not be in Marduk.

Blistering.com: You never toured with a band, as a vocalist…Mortuus: No I never did.

Blistering.com: He only knew what you can do from listening to Funeral Mist…and you did have to fill in Legion’s shoes. That had to be his main concern, that you can do that night after night.

You should probably ask him that…

Blistering.com: Right, but here is what I really want to know: Were you confident you could pull it off on a full tour, night after night?

Absolutely. I know very well what I’m capable of. I know that what you hear on the records is what you will see and feel on stage. But I guess for him it was a gamble, in a way…

Blistering.com: You’ve seen Marduk with Legion…what did you think about his presence on stage as a whole, not only his voice? He was an intense guy…

I like his voice on some of the albums, not all of them though. Panzer Division Marduk is the one that really stands out for me.

Blistering.com: Seeing him on stage…have you ever thought that “I could be better than this guy?” Or if not that, did you think you could take it to a whole new level?

The thing is, I have a very clear vision of what black metal should be. That’s what you’ve seen two nights ago on stage, and that’s what you’ll see tonight on stage as well, as simple as that. My vision of black metal is probably different than his. I’m not saying that I dislike what he did. I just think it’ different.

Blistering.com: Salvation is believed to be the album that started the whole Orthodox Black Metal movement. People look at it as probably the most important step, its cornerstone. This music is not what it was ten years ago…if you look at what’s happening in France, Deatshpell Omega, etc…

First of all I should say that I could never take credit for starting this kind of genre…you had bands like Ofermod who at the same time were doing the same thing, so I don’t want to take credit for anything, I just had my own vision. But these sort of things really don’t matter to me, labeling things for example. I like the idea of Orthodox black metal in one way, but on the other hand I don’t like it, I hate it even, because all black metal should be Orthodox. It shouldn’t be necessary to add this name to it. Also for the record, if some think that this name is added to just mock Christianity, they’re wrong, it’s nothing like that. It’s more like the purity of the music, it’s sacredness.

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