Lords of the Land – Glasgow Barrowlands – 1.4.17

It’s been a hectic and exhausting weekend, but I’ve still got a couple of hours before I get home. I’m starting this just as the train is about to shoot through back into England. 

Acid Reign in Manchester were absolutely stunning and well worth a twenty hour long day to see the gig and ultimately making me feel tired for so much of my trip to Scotland. 

Live they are such a fun band to watch. H’s sharp wit is something to behold when the drunken hecklers try to get the upper hand. All the classics were there, the pair of new songs were also aired and some album deep tracks. If seeing Two Minded performed by H wearing a Donald Trump mask doesn’t make you laugh then I don’t know what will. 

It only felt like I was home for the blink of an eye before it was out of the door again to jump on a train to Scotland at 8am. A little over three hours later and we were in the Buckfast capital. Just over an hour later we were catching the final strains of Rotten Sound. I got us lost trying to find the Barrowlands, and time wise they should’ve already been off the stage when we arrived, so we weren’t expecting to see any of the Finnish band. They were the first band on, and unless times had been changed and I’d not seen, a long day was already made longer as the first band on we’re already fifteen minutes or so late in finishing.

For reasons unbeknownst to me Memoriam were up next for a paltry thirty minutes. Possibly the band with one of the biggest buzzes about them at the moment and they were on ridiculously early for their Scottish debut. A healthy crowd greeted the death metal supergroup who seemed plagued with onstage sound issues. Compared to the last time I saw them, yesterday seemed pretty flat in comparison, still great to see though. 

And if things couldn’t get weirder then they did with Acid Reign for another half hour blast. This was a proper greatest hits set compared to what occurred the night before. H encouraged the stage divers to come over to stop the security guys getting bored – and they duly obliged. At one point the band’s front man took to the air himself and ended up being carried from the stage pretty much back to the sound desk then returned to the stage at alarming speed. Band of the day for me. 

We took the opportunity to refuel outside of the venue during Dragged Into Sunlight and we returned shortly after Venom, Inc had begun. With the trio of personalities on the stage you knew what you were going to get. An hour of the Venom back catalogue played better than what is now billed as Venom could imagine. 

Death metal stalwarts Marduk eventually hit the stage almost forty minutes after Mantas and company had departed the stage. I didn’t get to see all of their set as I was well and truly flagging by this stage. I watched up until Glorification of the Black God then had to rest these ageing and tired limbs. 

Irish black metallers Primordial followed and I saw the start and end and they pulled a huge crowd. They’re not a band I’ve ever got into and I prefer the vocal delivery that Nemtheanga delivers with his Bathory inspired band Twilight of the Gods. 

Mayhem – the Norwegian black metal pioneers followed in a cloud of smoke and blue light. The two things I recall from the bit I saw was that drum kit is huge and why are they all wearing cloaks now! They seem to have reinvented themselves drastically since the last time I saw them indoors, when they shared the stage with severed pig heads and I fell asleep during their set, something that nearly happened again. 

Belatedly it was finally time for death metal legends Autopsy to close proceedings. This was their first Scottish show in twenty seven years and their first British appearance since Bolt Thrower’s charity London event back in 2012. There’s never anything flashy or spectacular with a live Autopsy show. Just heads down and flat out uncompromising brutal death metal with a singing drummer. 

It’s a shame timings seemed to be out of the window as they completed their set with Charred Remains just after midnight to an ever dwindling crowd. The audience the previous two bands had on comparison was obviously bigger. The times seemed to be an issue beforehand with those people using public transport afterwards and it ended up looking pretty embarrassing from where I was standing. 

It was a decent day out, maybe too much of the stuff I’m not fond of consecutively, which made it feel like it dragged badly at points. Let’s see what happens next year. 


Surrounded (By Death)

War obsessed death metal troop Memoriam only formed in 2016, but last weekend their debut album For the Fallen was released by Nuclear Blast records. 

The West Midlands quartet might be less than two years old, but they have a plethora of experience to back up their stratospheric rise. Between them they have been involved in bands since the mid 80’s and released dozens of albums with the likes of Benediction, Sacrilege, Cerebral Fix and the mighty Bolt Thrower. 

Memoriam were formed as a tribute to Bolt Thrower drummer Martin ‘Kiddie’ Kearns who passed away in September 2015. That event effectively signalled the end for the legendary British death metal band and the attentions of vocalist Karl Willets turned to this reluctant super group. 

In the live arena and throughout the album you get the feeling that this could have finally been Bolt Thrower’s ninth album in their thirty year existence. It’d be interesting to know if any of this material was potentially part of the alleged scrapped album. 

Their appearance at the Glasgow Barrowlands on Saturday will be only their sixth show (as far as I am aware) and their third on British soil, and I’ve managed to experience all three. This year sees that figure expand exponentially as they are scheduled to perform at a slew of European festivals during the summer with a few more low key UK dates slotted in. 

With only a disappointing thirty minute set to fill at the weekend it will be interesting to see what gets altered after their headline show at the Asylum in Birmingham just before Christmas. The eight track album on its own is almost forty five minutes long and they’ve reflected on their heritage by slotting in a couple of Bolt Thrower tracks and a Sacrilege cover at shows. 

After all these years it seems a bit surreal having two bands playing the circuit and both having Sacrilege songs in their repertoire. Bass player Frank Healey is in the ranks of Memoriam whilst guitarist Damian Thompson is plying his trade with Warwound, who have rerecorded an old Sacrilege track, with Tam singing for the first time in decades, for their forth coming debut album (which sounds mighty fine). If those two bands ever ended up in the same show together it could be something to behold. 

It’s also nice to see Memoriam keeping things fan friendly in this day and age and continuing the low cost ethics that Bolt Thrower were renowned for. The above mentioned Birmingham show cost a fiver to get in. I think shirts at that show were £10 and they’ve said shirts at the Glasgow show will be £15. A lot of the gigs I’ve attended recently seem to carry a £25 – £30 price tag for a shirt. At the Netherlands DeathFest earlier in the month most shirts cost €20, apart from the heading band Abbath who were charging €30. Surprisingly they were probably the only band with a significant amount of merchandise left on the Sunday evening.