Obituary + Exmortus + Titan Breed @ The Classic Grand, Glasgow

Date:7th March 2018
Review By: Pete Mutant
Photography By: Gavin Lowrey

Obituary were back in Glasgow and touring the UK not too long since they headlined the Battle Of The Bays tour towards the end of 2016. I was at that gig and it was a sizable package with some massive names in Exodus, Prong and King Parrot and it was a cracking night of music. This night we were a little more…low key but still, we had some strong bands playing in thrash outfit Exmortus and local high flyers in Titan Breed.
Obituary were here for the first time since releasing their self-titled monster of an album last year and we were all looking forward to getting a decent dose of it tonight. First up though, we had the local heroes in Titan Breed who have been going from strength to strength since winning last year’s Metal 2 The Masses, pipping other local bands such as Necrocracy to play the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock Open Air. The five piece were in a good place tonight as who wouldn’t want to open for legends such as Obituary?
Titan Breed [3.5/5] came out to an alright sized crowd as they opened up with ‘Crushed Under The Crown’ and wasted no time in getting right to it. Their big vocalist in Johnny Malice provided the huge booming screams whilst guitarist/vocalist Pete McCoy filled in with the clean vocals, bringing in some tidy leadwork to break up the groove.
They are a very groove based band that can also inject a bit of pace in when they see fit like in the next track ‘Everytime’. Other guitarist Stewart ‘Raggy’ Brown even brought some lead in as a a torrent of sludge poured out from the band.
Titan Breed are very good at what they do and switch seamlessly between the more harder hitting crunchy southern riffs into the more melodic passages with some tight rhythm coming from drummer Lewis Kelly and bass man Mark McMillan.
It was the bands 20th ever gig tonight and they were performing as a solid unit. They went into ‘Warsteiner’ from last year’s EP ‘Edge Of The World’ which brought in a great break into effect and kept the mantra as heavy.
They brought the set to an end with ‘Descend Ito Isolation’ and there was a fair few heads banging. More melody came through with some groove and a damn catchy riff which was well utilised. There was more clean singing in this one but big Johnny Malice was there on hand to force the issue when required especially during the strong chorus. The drums built to the big break before it was brought to a triumphant end. A solid set to open the night with plenty more to be expected in the near future for this band.
Setlist
  1. Crushed Under The Crown
  2. Everytime
  3. The Key To Fear
  4. Warsteiner
  5. Destined To Fail
  6. Descend In Isolation
Next up Exmortus [4.0/5] were an interesting proposition for me. Their discography is laden with some excellent modern thrash metal mixing neo-classical elements with some good old Californian flair; these Whittier residents have earned their right to tour with a big hitter such as Obituary.
They opened their set with ‘Rising’ the opening track from 2014’s ‘Slave To Te Sword’ and the very fast and techy thrash ran rampant.  Fast picking and fingers flying all over the fret board with some pretty substantial bass coming through as this seems to be the way of things at the Classic Grand. I mean, I love when the bass comes through, and Cody Nunez is a great bass player, but there are limits and the sound at this venue tends to swallow all the sharpness of the music.
Exmortus are a sharp band after all who play razor edged thrash metal that shines a sheen brighter then the sun itself so it’s a bit of a loss when it’s dulled so. Anyways, the music raged on well as ‘For The Horde’ went into the infallible ‘Death To Tyrants’ which started with some great opening lead work which built on the backdrop of some sweeping rhythm before combining in harmony to a tidy wee riff. Vocalist, and owner of the pretty Jackson Flying V, Jadran ‘Conan’ Gonzalez made all the complex rhythms and leads look awful cozy up there on stage. His partner in six string wizard digitry Chase Becker was an avid soloist himself of course and pulled off some wondrous bouts of artistic shredding throughout the set.
We got a taste of something new in ‘Make Haste’ which made use of their Neo-classical elements with bags of pace and illustrious combinations of sweeps and nimble shred work before another new track in ‘Feast Of Flesh’ which introduced a more purer version of thrash to the set. It was fast but it wasn’t as focused on squeezing in as many notes as possible and concentrated more on the impact of the chunky chords for the structure of the riffs. The lead work, naturally, kept the talent on show and we got some nice harmonies going.
The set finished with ‘Metal Is King’ and was just about as much as one would need of all this flair and shred. It was great but a bit similar overall and I don’t think their set needed to last any longer than it did but it was a good near 50 minutes of pure skill and shred which the crowd lapped up in droves. This was their first performance as a band in Scotland after all (well, Chase Becker has been here several times with Warbringer before) and they would be more than welcome to return in the future. Blinding stuff really.
Setlist
  1. Rising
  2. For The Horde
  3. Death To Tyrants
  4. Immortality Made Flesh
  5. Foe Hammer
  6. Make Haste
  7. Feast Of Flesh
  8. Moonlight Sonata (Act 3) 
  9. Metal Is King
 
Time for bay area’s finest death metal band in Obituary [4.5/5]. The night had plenty of variety on display but now it was time to get old school and to bang heads to some of the best death metal still going. The band walked on minus vocalist John Tardy and introduced the set with the ridiculously heavy ‘Redneck Stomp’ which instantly had the crowd starting to shake things up. Screams of “hey, hey, hey” were cried and crowd surfers began to emerge from the horde; the pit was primed and ready. Our vocalist emerged finally to great cheers from the crowd as we went into ‘Sentence Day’ from last year’s self-titled sledgehammer. We went back to the almighty ‘Cause Of Death’ for ‘Chopped In Half’ and the music was being churned out with some dirty bottom end greatness. The riffs were flying and crushed at each bridge, each bar, each break and basically throughout all the modes and shits through the songs.
‘Find The Arise’ kept us back in the early days of Obituary before we went way forward to ‘A Lesson In Vengeance’ and the fans were having a blast. Shouts of “love you Trevor” rang out across the floor and the whole band appeared to really appreciate. Drummer and John Tardy’s brother Donald stood up on several occasions to acknowledge the crowd’s effort. There was a ton of energy flowing with the pits in near constant motion throughout. It was nigh on impossible to stay still after all, with the tremendous drilling of the music penetrating down to the core and was shaking the foundations of the mind, body and soul, throwing us into fantastic fits of twisted euphoria.
 The blend of the old and new stuff worked well and we were being exposed to a thoroughly thought out set. We went back to ‘Cause Of Death’ for ‘Dying’ then to ‘Slowly We Rot’ for ’Til Death’ and the love just kept on pouring from all angles. It was a sick and perverted love for such brazen aggression but it was a true joy to behold. Sadly the set was nearing its end but we got one more track in ‘Don’t Care’ before the band walked off. Surely this couldn’t be the end and, obviously, it wasn’t. The band walked back on stage and picked up their instruments again for the encore and it was going to be a big finish.
‘Turned To Stone’ brought us back from the brink of unnecessary boredom caused through the encore’s disruption of fine metal. There’s a simplicity to it all but it is elegant in its simplicity and the momentum the music carried, although being fairly consistent in its mid-tempo range, was just ferocious in its delivery. Everything from the blasts to the pinched harmonics, dirty driven chords and squeals worked as a binding agent for this brilliant blend of brutality. For the penultimate track, we went ‘Straight To Hell’ which continued the onslaught before we came to the eventual end of the set.
It was always going to be ‘Slowly We Rot’ that the band bowed out on and it was the right way to bring the night to a close. That song is just the full embodiment of the band from the slow churning haunt of the intro to the cacophonous journey through to its end you get a taste of the ethos of this band. There was a great sense of a bond in the room between the band and the fans and all seemed grateful for the night’s music. Obituary are simply just one of the best live bands going and deserve all the plaudits they receive. Here’s to many, many more years and many, many more visits…hopefully. Their next visit to Glasgow cannot come soon enough.
Setlist
  1. Redneck Stomp
  2. Sentence Day
  3. Visions in My Head
  4. Chopped in Half / Turned Inside Out
  5. Find the Arise
  6. A Lesson in Vengeance
  7. Brave
  8. Dying
  9. No
  10. Til Death
  11. Don’t Care

Encore:

  1. Turned to Stone
  2. Straight To Hell
  3. Slowly We Rot
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