Posts Tagged ‘Glasgow’

My first gig of 2020 was one that, originally, I was just going for the support act. I fucking love Behemoth, and to be honest hadn’t really been into Slipknot for a long time. But I guess the 15 year old hiding in me somewhere said ‘you need to go to that, it’ll be fucking cool’. Well the little bastard was right. Another trip up the road to the Big Smoke, Glasvegas, my former home, is always welcome as well. A couple of beers on board, I swaggered on down to the Hydro ready to join the throngs of ‘goths’ ready for some headbanging.

But first, the original reason for my purchase; Behemoth were fucking outstanding. Nergal and crew showed why they deserve to be on stages this size all the time with a gloriously brutal and grandiose performance. Nergal stalks the stage, with every guitar riff dripping with Satanic menace. Couple that with throat shredding versions of ‘Daimonos’ and the superlative ‘Conquer All’ and they laid a very tough challenge at the feet of our headliners to follow them. They even got fire, which I was surprised at since normally support acts have gotta tone it down a bit. Not bible tearing though so…

But follow them, Slipknot surely did. As much as I’m sure many of my generation will hate to admit, you wouldn’t be into death metal and the like if it wasn’t for Slipknot turning up when you were 13 years old and fucking destroying your perceptions of heavy music. ‘Iowa’ did that for me, and I only realised how important that was when I witnessed 14,000 people going absolutely insane for this band. The Hydro has never been louder, as the band smashed through powerful versions of all their classics. ‘Duality’, Before I Forget’, ‘Eyeless’, ‘Wait and Bleed’; this was a veritable greatest hits by a band whose accessibility does not prevent them from being intense and heavy as fuck.

This was a gig that was utter joy to behold. Slipknot at full power are a tight, fire breathing machine of chaos. Explosions, flamethrowers, flaming baseball bats; everything you could want. And as a sold out Hydro screamed every word, you couldn’t help but be intoxicated by it. Closing with ‘Surfacing’, we all went home exhausted, sore throats and necks, but knowing we’d seen something special. I’ve seen both Sabbath and Slayer retire at the Hydro, but neither were as visceral or as energetic as this.

It’s going to be difficult to be impartial for this, as Sahil and I have been friends for a while and I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed his music, so the chance to see legendary Indian death metallers Demonic Resurrection live at last was a chance I couldn’t miss. But to be fair to him, I’d have told him if they weren’t very good. Which is not true, they were awesome.

First of all though, Wretched Soul were an excellent support band, with their razor sharp death metal hitting every sweet spot in the place. They have a huge melodic streak straight through them, that gives their records a bit of variety. They are ferocious at full speed, but they have some absolutely brilliant ‘Painkiller’ moments where the vocals shriek high and the twin galloping begins. It’s quite a thing to be that heavy and yet that fucking catchy and epic. I salute you sirs, and recommend people buy ‘The Ghost Road’, for that is a killer record.

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But the main reason I’m here is for the mighty Demonic Resurrection. The Demonstealer is an unassuming, charming and humble bloke who becomes possessed by nightmarish demonic voices when the superlative death metal maelstrom begins. The technical madness of ‘The Demon King’ and ‘Krishna – The Cowherd’ were particularly mindblowing. On record, Demonic Resurrection have many subtle little flourishes that disappear a little on the live stage, but if anything their music becomes more ferocious. The musicianship in the melodic genius of ‘A Tragedy Befallen’ is incredible, and the savagery of ‘Dismembering the Fallen’ is tangible. Demonic Resurection are a mighty live proposition, and despite there only being a small crowd in attendance we all fully appreciated the effort and journey they’ve been on to entertain us.

This is my second trip to Lords of the Land, and both years have not disappointed in terms of lineup. Last year I got Autopsy, Primordial, Mayhem and Marduk to name a few, and this year’s lineup was just as impressive. It kicked off at the ungodly hour of 11am, so unfortunately I missed legendary thrashers Lawnmower Deth which was a bit of a bummer, but got there just in time for Vallenfyre who were stunning. Their dense, death/doom rage was a perfect start to my afternoon, and the likes of ‘Merciless Tide’ and the devastating ‘Splinters’ cast a long shadow over the bands to come. Unfortunately it seems like the last chance to catch them in Scotland as they are hanging up their instruments this year. A sad loss to the community.

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Cannabis Corpse are the death metal guilty pleasure we’ve all been waiting for. You’d think that weed jokes and death metal would get old but it is genuinely impressive that we’ve got five records out of this idea… Live they are great, shredding old school death metal riffs that obviously praise the mighty Cannibal Corpse but some other nice Floridian elements keeps them from being a one trick pony. Plus, how can you disagree with ‘Lunatic of Pot’s Creation’, Blunted at Birth’ and the genuis ‘Staring Through My Eyes That Are Red’?

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If I’m honest, I wasn’t at Lords of the Land to see Discharge. I like some of their stuff but I’ve never seen them as a must-see-live band. Their live performance is absolutely great however; full of raucous punk and thrash energy, vocalist JJ stalks the stage with bug eyed intensity and at one point lost his mic in the fray. That’s the manic energy brought by the likes of ‘Corpse of Decadence’ and the hardcore classic ‘State Violence State Control’. Eve though I had penciled them in as much lunch break band, I’m glad I didn’t miss them, because they were great!

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Carpathian Forest seemed a little like the odd one out here on a bill with them as the only black metal band, but their snotty punk attitude fit right in. Flanked by leatherclad and corpse painted giants, Nattefrost scowled and spat his way through a raw and fearsome set of nasty black metal. They did a super sinister Cure cover (‘A Forest’) that fit in perfectly with the likes of ‘Black Shining Leather’ and ‘Morbid Fascination of Death’. I don’t think they quite got the response they deserved from the crowd, but it was a fun show.

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Demolition Hammer were rapturously received with a set of high energy deaththrash driving everyone to bang heads and mosh like crazy. It is clear that they were a big draw for a lot of the fans there (going by the speed that their shirts sold and the fact that it was probably the busiest set of the night). They killed it with the likes of ‘Downwind Death’, ‘Infectious Hospital Waste’ and the particularly well received ’44. Caliber Brain Surgery’. They were ferociously fast, and barely stopped for breath, and the crowd ate it up.

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Unleashed, however, were treated like gods when Johnny Hedlund and co strode upon the stage, bringing us mighty death metal about Vikings and warriors of old. An iconic back catalogue helps, and the likes of ‘Midvinterblot’, ‘To Asgaard We Fly’ and the awesome ‘Hammer Battalion’ cause fists to be pumped and the pit to go crazy. Unleashed are a well honed Swedish killing machine, and with a setlist drawn from past to present, they did indeed achieve ‘DEATH METAL VICTORY’!

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Anyone would have struggled to follow that, and Bloodbath did have a couple of technical difficulties at first but once their sickening chainsaw groove kicked in, they were unstoppable. A guy near me was a bit derisive of Nick Holmes to start with, but quickly shut up when the realisation hit him of how good the Paradise Lost frontman’s doom growl fit with the crawling morbidity of cuts like ‘Beyond Cremation’ and the devastating ‘Eaten’. Grinding Swedeath guitars spilled ‘Cancer of the Soul’ upon us, and the buzzsaw ‘Bathe in Blood’ was another highlight.

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And so to Dark Angel. To be honest, my brain and legs were starting to fail on me by this late hour (11 hours by this point does not do good things to your back) and so I had to sit down for anout half the set. But these thrash legends were absolutely excellent and I was inspired to get up again! And could I not, with a setlist jammed full of high energy thrash classics like ‘Time Does Not Heal’, ‘Perish in Flames’ and the stunning ‘The Burning of Sodom’. Gene Hoglan is an absolutely monster behind the kit, and treated us to a drum solo while some amplifier issues were sorted out. Technical problems only stalled us momentarily and the evening was brought to a triumphant ending by a band that I’ll never forget.

Once more, Lords of the Land delivered big time. The bands were all great, any of the members I met wandering around were cool as fuck and my only real gripe was the lack of Cannabis Corpse merch! Other than that it was an awesome day once more, and for a mere £40 a ticket you’d struggle to find a better bargain in modern metal gigs!

It’s been almost 12 years since the last time I saw Sepultura live, when they supported In Flames on the Come Clarity tour. I don’t really know why I missed them so many times, I’m still a huge fan and have never stopped listening to their music. I guess times never matched up. But GODDAMN have I been a fool in that regard.

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First off, this is a new venue for me, the SWG3 in Glasgow’s West End which is an old warehouse that they’ve converted into what looks to be a fine arty venue. I missed Fit for an Autopsy’s set due to taking so long to find the venue but the last track I walked in on sounded great. It was my first time seeing Goatwhore live, and their vicious deathly black metal was particularly visceral tonight. Tracks like ‘Chaos Arcane’ roaring with barely contained malice really sets you up well for an evening of brutality!

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Next up were Obscura, whose fret shredding magnificence was almost too much to handle at points. Spiralling solos ripped through the SWG3 crowd, while brutal death metal riffing sent the pit crazy. It was a technical overload, with the likes of ‘Anticosmic Overlord’ and the mesmerising ‘Ocean Gateways’ absolutely slaying the denizens who stood open mouthed at the maddening guitar work.

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Finally the best part of the evening. Sepultura are, frankly, incredible live. Derrick Green strides onto the stage, the most unfuckwithable frontman in metal and roars with power as the band slam through a set that would invigorate even the most jaded metal fan. Their material from new record ‘Machine Messiah’ slides straight in between the classics and sounds just RIGHT, and when Andreas Kisser tells us that it is Green’s 20th year as a member of Sepultura, you realise that he’s been there almost twice as long as Max was. That is amazing, and Sepultura have thrived with him. Squeezing in some stuff from ‘Against’, we end with Brazilian classics ‘Arise’, ‘Ratamahatta’ and the building shaking ‘Roots Bloody Roots’. This is a masterclass in heavy music and no one leaving the building that night would disagree. Massive, essential and brutal, Sepultura are awesome.

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Ticking another off my ‘must see live’ list, New York death metal legends Suffocation came to one of the smallest and therefore best venue in Glasgow for a gig that was probably the best death metal gig I’ve been to since Decapitated years ago in Ivory Blacks. I’d read multiple posts about who was supposed to be supporting; some said Hammercult, some said Power Trip, so I made sure I was down early to find out. Turned out there was only the one support, but it was an excellent choice.

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Local heroes Scordatura was that support, whose death metal onslaught was precise, brutal and even managed to get a respectable pit going early on. They were an excellent choice because you can feel how much the headliners have influenced them. I have their awesome ‘Torment of the Weak’ record, and they threw in a  few new songs from their newest album ‘Self-Created Abyss’ that I haven’t got yet but will definitely pick up. Nuanced, chugging carnage.

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But Suffocation blew them out of the water. You’d expect that though, coming from these almost 30 year veterans. A devastating mixture of brutal slam and technical wizardry, their new material from this year’s ‘…of the Dark Light’ struck like bombs and while unlikely to receive as rapturous a reaction as the classics, led to streams of crowd surfing and as violent a pit as I’ve seen in years. ‘Liege of Inveracity’ and the fiery ‘Effigy of the Forgotten’ were the highlights closed by the staggering ‘Catatonia’ to send everyone home exhausted, sweat drenched and very very happy.

The Lords of the Land festival in Glasgow has some serious issues to contend with this year. First of all, how was the lineup ever going to match last year’s Carcass/Obituary/Napalm Death/Voivod magic? And secondly the small matter of the Heavy Scotland event in Edinburgh on the same weekend, featuring Grave, Arch Enemy and Behemoth, as well as others. Well, the lineup proved to be as competitive, if not superior, as you could want. I mean, black metal and death metal legends colliding with thrash and even a bit of grind and doom. FUCK YEAH! The old Barrowland ballroom played host once again.

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Opening at the unbearable 12:30pm slot, Rotten Sound were fucking ace. The half hour slot is designed for grindcore bands, and Rotten Sound played to an impressively full Barrowlands considering the time of day. They were sharp, visceral and, best of all, allowed me the opportunity to get a hold of an HM-2 pedal tribute shirt. Killer start to the day, that only improved with the advent of Memoriam. Coming from a guy who named his blog and inspiration after a Bolt Thrower song,  I can honestly say that Memoriam are more than worthy successors to the crown. Karl Willets was in fine form, and massive riffs cascaded upon us lucky few. Willets remarked that this was a celebration of life through death metal, and nothing is more true.

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Next up was the hilarious vitality of Acid Reign, old school British thrash that felt so alive and vital it made me smile. So did the stage banter, with ‘Hello Edinburgh’ getting a particular chuckle. They were high energy, frontman H racing around the stage, encouraging all kinds of crowd participation and almost shitting himself when caught stagediving and taken to the back of the room before being ran forward and chucked back onto the stage. Mental. Mental is also how you would describe the aural waves of terrifying brutality emanating from Dragged into Sunlight, who took the stage behind clouds of smoke and a ghostly, huge candelabra. Their blackened sludgey noise was fearsome, and the fact that the band spent the whole show with their backs to us added to the esoteric mystery surroundng them.

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I took a break from the action during Venom Inc, so I couldn’t pass comment on them but I got back just in time for Marduk’s ‘Heaven Shall Burn’ set which, like every Marduk show, was full throttle black metal of war and darkness. Yet again I had the pleasure of getting ‘Accuser/Opposer’ with Nemtheanga live, and they closed with ‘Panzer Division Marduk’! Speaking of Primordial, they have become a band that have transcended beyond what we would consider simply ‘pagan black metal’, becoming the embodiment of what Bathory strode towards. Nemtheanga’s vocals command immediate attention, like a monstrous and apocalyptic preacher. The stunning ‘Babel’s Tower’ and the enthralling ‘The Coffin Ships’ were particular highlights in a flawless set of blackened doom grandeur.

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The stage darkens, smoke billows from under the drumkit and deep, blue lights shroud the oncoming storm of black metal perfection that is Mayhem, and ‘De Mysteriis de Satanas’ complete. Worth the price of admission alone, the howling ‘Freezing Moon’ and savage ‘Pagan Fears’ remind you about how all black metal owes so much debt to this record. Atilla Csihar’s vocals sound like the voice of Satan himself, and draped in a black cloak and then as a demonic priest, he embodies the dark magic infusing each frozen riff. Hw can anyone follow this?

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Well, Autopsy with every vintage death metal riff ever just about managed. You don’t realise just how much they’ve influenced the genre, until you think about how every ‘old school’ death metal band basically stole everything fom them. Rabid fury crashes into sludgey, evil riffs while vomitous vocals spill from behind Chris Reifert’s drumkit. Despite the fact that we are approaching 11 hours into the day, I think that this was the best moment of the night. Tiredness overwheming us, the first time these legends have graced Scottish shores in 27 years mean that we were reinvigorated enough to show them our appreciation.What a fucking triumph.

A damp Thursday night in June saw me travel to Nice n Sleazys in Glasgow to see Legion of Andromeda, a band who did me the great honour a year or two ago of using one of my quotes from my Sleeping Shaman review on the front of their debut full length, ‘Iron Scorn’. So I wanted to go and support them on their live adventure!

First up though, and my greatest revelation of the evening, were the superlative King Witch from Edinburgh. Despite being short a bassist due to illness, their powerful, soulful groove was mesmerising. Imagine the primal power of Conan or High on Fire but with female vocals. Speaking of the vocals, frontwoman Laura has the kind of voice I could spend the rest of my life listening to; a mix of Mount Salem and Grand Magus that set every song on fire. Awesome stuff, which sent me directly to the merch stand to get a shirt and an EP. Expect a review imminently.

Next up was the reason I was there initially, Legion of Andromeda. I thought they were uncomfortably dense on record, but nothing prepared me for their live performance. It was truly, painfully apocalyptic. An incessant strobe light pointed directly into the crowd made the experience even more of an endurance test, but their tar thick, dense assault is like staring into the maw of infinity and feeling your very veins vibrate. Translation: very loud but very good!

Last but not least were Glasgow drone doom lords Ommadon, who played for a full 53 minutes without stopping once. If Legion of Andromeda were the black hole of infinity, then Ommadon are the immense beast of unfathomable decay that crawls out from that hole and destroys the universe. They were vast; wreathed in smoke and drenched in distortion, and their primal, Neolithic waves of riff rolled over us all. An earth shaking close to a great evening!