Mordred, live in London

Mordred live at the Islington O2 Academy

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

There was a time in the early 90s when Mordred playing at The Marquee in London seemed to be a biannual occurrence. Of course, that venue has long since gone. And the band themselves disappeared around the same time.

Well, The Marquee may not have returned, but Mordred certainly have. What’s more, they’re as good as they ever were. Frontman Scott Holderby might be a little more, erm, rotund than he was in Mordred’s comparative glory days. But his energy and vivacity are unimpaired, as is also the case for the rest of this Bay Area squad.

This is arguably the band’s classic line-up, the one featured on In This Life, the 1991 album that should have made them major players. And despite the bijou size of this venue, not to mention the fact that there’s barely 100 people in here, this is a massive performance.

Sidling on with no intro and no introduction, Mordred might have looked as if they were unsure what to expect, but quickly find their rhythm with State Of Mind and Spectacle Of Fear. They don’t turn the calendar back to the early 90s because this isn’t a nostalgia trip. While the set is pretty much what the band would have played when they last played in the UK over 20 years ago, it’s delivered with a sense of pride and power that shows a primal dedication.

Holderby loses no opportunity to express the band’s delight at being back onstage together, and their gratitude to those who’ve braved the Bank Holiday rain to bop and jump along to Fragrance Of Vagrants, Killing Time and Spellbound. There’s even one new song, current single The Baroness, showing the band are still capable of writing significant music.

Highlights, though, are the raptastic Esse Quam Videri and a stunning cover of Thin Lizzy’s Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed. But the whole occasion is simply a joy. The atmosphere, the musicianship, the song choice… it all works. And Mordred’s combination of metal, funk and hip-hop sounds convincingly contemporary.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021