Traveling thousands of miles to perform in front of a couple hundred people would put a lot of artists off. Especially when you spend all that time putting on your make-up. But the sparse crowd at the Marquis didn’t seem to bother Switzerland‘s extreme metal pioneer, Tom G. Warrior (and his new band Triptykon) or the corpepainted guys in Norway’s black metal 1349. The dual-headliners performed like they had a sea of black-clad metalheads in front of them.
We got to the venue at 9:00pm, just in time for Triptykon‘s set. I was shocked that the place was almost empty. Even the floor right in front of the stage had less than 100 people. I was also surprised that Triptykon were playing before 1349. I realized it was a dual-headlining show, but expected Triptykon to be the main draw to this show. Technically they are a brand new band, but really they are just a continuation of Tom‘s last band, Celtic Frost; a band that was a huge influence on bands like 1349. Most of their set was actually made up of Celtic Frost songs, but I guess the new band just doesn’t have the same following. It’s too bad too, because they put out one of the best metal albums this year.
From our spot directly in front of the stage, the sound was awesome! Long, drawn out songs of doom and gloom with Tom‘s signature grunts and growls mixed in with clean vocals, V. Santura covering most of the death-type vocals and female bassist Vanja Slajh with her stoic composure, black hair and intense stare…the visual aspect of the band matching the noise they were making.
For some reason I always thought Tom was a much bigger man. Being new to the metal scene of the past decade or so, I never saw Celtic Frost live and my only exposure to Tom‘s physique are promo pictures, most of which make him look like a beast with long hair coming out of his beanie covered skull. But in real life, the guy is short…real short.
The set was plagued with technical issues, but most of these were dealt with in between songs and didn’t affect the quality of most songs, except when the bass drum broke in the middle of Abyss Within My Soul. The problems did mess up the flow of the set though. With this type of music, you expect one song to bleed into another. But there was downtime after every song as they tried to correct the issues. Lost momentum is not something you want at a metal show. That being said, Tom filled the time with his sense of humour, joking if he was American he would call the Denver crowd ‘awesome’.
So, overall, I am glad I saw them live once, but these are songs I would prefer to listen to in the car or on headphones. They are long and repetitive, and in a live setting you can really feel how hard and heavy they are, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little bored during the 20 min The Prolonging that closed their set. A song that was a highlight of the show for me for the first 10 minutes or so.
1349 are a band that I was looking forward to seeing again, but after Triptykon’s set I felt like I had taken a beating and my ears were paying the price. I stuck around for one reason, drums. I love watching the drummer in 1349. I saw them open for Cannibal Corpse and he killed it! But at Marquis, they had the drums down low in the back and I couldn’t even set the drum kit. The sound just wasn’t what it was for them at The Gothic either and after about 45 mins I decided to take my leave. They had the energy, they had the small crowd in a frenzy and Ravn was taking advantage of the small stage by throwing himself over the audience…so I did enjoy what I saw, but at 11:30pm it was time for me to head home.