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Live Review: Witchcraft, Dead Child, Kingdom of Magic at Marquis Theater

See a slideshow at westword.com/slideshow.

Witchcraft, Dead Child, Kingdom Of Magic Wednesday, August 6, 2008 Marquis Theater Better than: Whatever passes for OzzFest these days.

The cyclical nature of music has, by this point, become unsurprising. What was once edgy and rebellious eventually becomes comodified, then loses it’s luster and is left for dead by the side of the road, only to be resurrected ten years later and dressed in new (vintage) clothes. That’s certainly the case with metal over the last couple of years. And while some bands try to pass as true believers, it’s curious that they weren’t so interested in carrying the torch during the genre’s more barren years during the ’90 and the early part of this decade.

Cut to tonight and the Marquis Theater, where the kids came in from the rain to see some of this new breed of metal. Lately Denver has been the epicenter of a wave of bands that straddle that line between punk weirdness and metal ferocity. Leading the pack is Kingdom Of Magic, whose music teeters drunkenly between both genres. Unfortunately, thanks to a mixup at the door, I missed most of Kingdom’s set. What I did see, though, reminded me of the best moments of Motorhead and the Melvins.

Dead Child is relatively new, but its members have been a staple of indie rock for the last twenty years, having played in acts such as Slint, Shipping News, Crain and Tortoise -- all of which makes the band’s sound even more puzzling. Recalling Master of Puppets-era Metallica, Dead Child ripped through a set that barely clocked in at thirty minutes. Lead vocalist Dahm rarely acknowledged the crowd, preferring instead to let his vocals do the talking. Still a young band, Dead Child seem to be window dressing its influences, trying to find out what works best. Hopefully the group will mature into something less derivative, but for now, I’ll stick with my Nuclear Assault records.

Hailing from Sweden, the motherland of doom metal, headliners Witchcraft took the stage ready to give sermon’s from the “demon book.” It’s hard not to like Witchcraft’s music, which when it was on tonight sounded like the best moments of Sabbath, Pentagram and even Zeppelin. Certainly the band has refined its sound, to the point where it should be playing arenas. Instead, tonight, the band played at the Marquis for a crowd that was equally as enthusiastic to revisit the past with them.

-- Jeremy Brashaw

Critic’s Notebook

Personal Bias: While I like the new spat of metal, and especially doom metal, I just can’t get into all the lyrical fantasy stuff that bands such as Witchcraft and Dead Child propagate. Random Detail: I felt bad for the two guys who unsuccessfully tried to start a mosh pit throughout Dead Child’s set. By the Way: In case you missed it, Dead Child will be hitting up Denver again in less than two weeks on Monday, August 18.

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