It is actually sunny in Glasgow, and as I near the venue, the skimpy vests, skirts, and shorts turn to boots, black denims, and black t-shirts with band names that resemble a game of pick up sticks (younger readers may have to refer to parents on that one). The mood darkens, like approaching Castle Dracula, and the adrenalin starts to rush as you realise you are about to witness the brutal depths that only these genres of metal can convey… led by Marduk.
Due to interview duties, I only managed to catch Origin as they were introducing their last song, but I instantly fell in love with them. Lead singer, Jason Keyser was on a rant. The first words I heard him speak were,
“Get off your phone you twat… I can see the light on your face… just fuck off”.
Well said, sir. I could scream that at every gig I go to. Once he had settled down, he got a bit more humorous, as he gets the death metal fans on one side of the hall. Black metal fans on the other, and you just know a wall of death is about to ensue. However, there is one hard-arsed thrash metal fan in the middle, who is just not going to budge. As the songs begins, all hell breaks loose, and I know I am in for one crazy night.
Now there is something that I have to get off my chest. There is one word in the English language which is the bane of bands, fans, and promoters everywhere…
Yes, curfew. Everyone had just three hours notice that the door opening times were changed. All bands had to play a shortened set, This of course impacted on our ability to review all the bands, as arrangements had already been made to interview Ross Dolan from Immolation at 6.30pm, but the doors opened at 6pm and the opening act were on stage by 6.15pm.
Secondly, well done to all those that attended this gig. I know people that travelled from Edinburgh, Livingston, and Dundee. This is true commitment to follow their favourite bands. What was even more impressive is that this took place on a Tuesday night. The Garage was packed to the rafters. Huge congratulations to the promoter for having the cojones to take this challenge on, and he was well rewarded by the beaming smiles at the end of the night.
So… Immolation… where to begin? There simply aren’t enough positive adjectives in the dictionary to describe the high intensity performance from these New York legends. The lads kicked off with ‘All That Awaits Us’, and ‘Swarm Of Terror’. Ross then took the time to acknowledge the turnout by saying it was great seeing such a huge crowd for a Tuesday night, and that the last time they played in Glasgow was in 2007, but he promised a swifter return next time, to loud cheers.
The intro to ‘Father, You’re Not A Father’ kicked off a massive mosh pit, and Ross was doing the whirlwind head banging whilst pounding his bass. What an impressive sight. His hair was almost hitting the stage floor, it was that long. I was concerned for a moment that it might have got caught in his bass strings. No need. He knows what he is doing. ‘Into Everlasting Fire’, ‘Echoes Of Despair’, and ‘World Agony’ continued the unstoppable force that is Immolation.
Robert Vigna is one seriously talented guitarist. Some of the solos were simply breathtaking in their virtuosity and complexity, ably backed by Bill Taylor (Guitar) and Steve Shalaty (Drums) who kept the Immolation juggernaut thundering along.
‘Burn With Jesus’, ‘Unholy Cult’, then the title track taken from possibly the most important album in Immolation’s history (given the circumstances and connection to 9/11, a dark period of New York’s history which had a massive impact, not only the city of New York, but the band themselves), ‘Kingdom Of Conspiracy’. This kept the momentum of a crowd that refused to tire, and the band continuing to hit full speed ahead. The guys were clearly being encouraged by the energetic response shown by the sweaty hordes of metal heads, moshing, raising horns in defiance, and singing along.
45 minutes into the set and we still had ‘Majesty Of Decay’, and ‘What They Bring’, then we neared the finishing line, when all bodies were sagging, Immolation breathing hard, then ‘Spectacle Of Lies’ kicked in, and one final push, clashing bodies and serious head banging ensued. Glasgow will hold them to that promise of a quicker return, especially when Immolation have confirmed that there will be a new album, scheduled for release in November 2016, because we love these guys.
With the near-impossible task of following, Marduk set the tone for the final part of the night with opener ‘Frontschwein’, and to the credit of the crowd, they somehow found an inner strength to hail their approval by creating a pit worthy of the inner circles of hell. The most blasphemous band on the circuit continued their bombardment with ‘The Blond Beast’, ‘Of Hell’s Fire’, and ‘Still Fucking Dead’. The passion and intensity of Marduk’s set continued with ‘Azrael’. There was no let up in the pace, intensity, and atmosphere, as we were sucked deeper and deeper to bowels of hell. Vocalist “Mortus” continued to spit out venomous lyrics with ‘Throne Of Rats’, ‘ Cloven Hoof’, and ‘To The Death’s Head True’. One of Marduk’s great strengths is the ability to write songs like ‘Panzer Divisions Marduk’, combining his love and admiration of tanks and hatred of the one above.
Finally, we got to the last song of the night, ‘Souls For Belial’ a great track to end a blistering night, and suddenly the house lights went up and the sense of shock that it was over so soon was palpable, but no one felt short changed, even though the band had to cut a couple of songs from their set, due to that infamous curfew.
All in all, this was one of the finest gigs that G2 is likely to have witnessed on a Tuesday night. Again, huge credit to those that turned up from near enough the whole country. It is people like you that keep the heavy metal live scene going strong. As battered, bruised, and exhausted as I was, this was one of the most memorable gigs I’ve had the pleasure being part of. If you get the chance to catch either band on tour, GO! You will be in for one hell of a night.
Review: Craig Travers
Images: Ritchie Birnie