TMD’s EXCLUSIVE SHOW REVIEW: DIMMU BORGIR At The Marquee in Tempe, AZ – 5/18/07
May 27, 2007
What a wonderful night of death! The Invaluable Darkness tour with Dimmu Borgir, Unearth, Devildriver, and Kataklsym stopped in Tempe Arizona on May 18th and played to a sold out crowd at the Marquee. You could feel the anticipation rising as soon as you got in to the parking lot.
Revenge is a meal best served cold.
And with that line Canadian death metal legends Kataklsym hit the stage with Like Angels Weeping to start the night on its brutal course. The first thing I noticed is that the place is packed! Sure, it’s sold out – but that doesn’t mean everyone goes in for the opening band on a bill such as this. Considering the band has been around since 91/92, it’s nice to see that they are getting much deserved attention on this tour.
The crowd ate up every second of Kataklsym’s performance, a set that almost seemed too short considering how well received they were by the crowd. Didn’t take long for the bodies to start flying as the fists pumped the air.
The broadness of their music was displayed throughout the night as they gelled older more disordered tunes with the simplified yet crunching riffs of newer tunes. Even though the band was opening the night, the performance was heavy enough to rival more established headliners.
This band would easily fit high up on the second stage at Ozzfest. Why they haven’t gotten on that tour yet is a mystery, considering how bad this year’s second stage lineup is.
While Kataklysm seemed to have silently challenged the remaining bands to continue with what they started, Devildriver did so effortlessly. The crowd was ready to go. Lead singer Dez knows how to work a crowd and did so from beginning to end.
At most points throughout the set, the crowd’s volume rivaled that of Dez’s, especially with what is fast becoming their anthem – I Could Care Less. Forget about hearing Dez during the chorus! Their set, as a whole, was definitely a nod to the old school of metal. Straight ahead riffs and thundering drums that leave you looking for the truck that just ran your ass over. I definitely didn’t expect to walk away too impressed from their performance, but the first thing I noticed is how much better, how much more ferocious, the tunes are live compared to just listening to their CDs. Not all bands can achieve that. And the frenzied crowd’s response to them made it that much more intense.
Death of the night’s momentum came next when Unearth took the stage. Now is as good a time as any to hit the beer lines. Seems I wasn’t the only one with the same thought.
Out on the patio (“smoker’s lounge”) after a few brews, I suddenly realize things have gotten a little colder. It seems as though things have gotten quieter as well, and there isn’t a bird chirp to be heard. HA! Dimmu Borgir must be getting ready to hit the stage.
Amidst typical red stage lights and background fog, the curtain is opened to find the band standing on risers during the intro music. Somewhere off in the distance, Satan kicked up his feet and turned up the volume.
At the sight of tonight’s headliners gearing for action, the crowd went ballistic. Bodies began to fly almost as soon as the first growls emitted from Shagrath’s mouth – and with good reason: this is Dimmu Borgir’s first tour, not counting the European summer festival performance here or there, since 2004’s Ozzfest. Security doesn’t know who to keep an eye on – the band behind them or the crowd in front of them.
Touring in support of In Sorte Diaboli (“Really, the best interpretation is ‘in direct connectivity with Satan’” according to Shagrath), the stage lights are arranged strategically around them to create a dark and brooding mood, only to be shattered by the brazen clarity of white lights shining straight down on bassist ICS Vortex during the vocal switch. It was rather refreshing to see a little theatrical mix thrown in to a stage show and not just typical spotlights.
Looking around at the hellish lights as well as the rapid crowd, it’s kind of hard to believe self proclaimed “true” black metal enthusiasts knock the slightly more melodic approach Dimmu seems to be taking with their current disc. I suppose that happens to any band when they start to become popular. Dimmu is simply standing up front in a genre that hosts more than its share of copycats.
“C’mon Phoenix!” Shagrath hissed, as the band continued its metal wrath through a setlist that seemed to have been well balanced between old and new, and seemed to have given everyone something they wanted.
The band only has a few more dates left on this tour in the US before heading over to Europe for the rest of the year, so if you missed it, you should really kick yourself.
Sorry for the lack of setlists, the club confiscated my pen – apparently they thought it could be a weapon of mass destruction.