Date: 11th March 2018
Review By: Pete Mutant
Photos By:Ryan Whitwell / Shotison Media
Venom Inc. were back in Glasgow after playing last year’s Lords Of The Land festival at the Barrowlands and have since brought out their first album separate from the Venom canon in Avé. This time they were bringing a very mixed package with Survive, Aeternam, Man Must Die and Suffocation along for a very wild ride. So we had some very old school metal, some thrash, some death and some oriental themed symphonic metal to contend ourselves with this evening which would take place at Audio in the city centre.
It was a packed billing and there was barely any time to spare in between bands. Sets were kept tight and the stage banter was fraught and kept to a fair minimum as we had five bands on tonight’s roster; all of which were fairly well established and had a lot to offer on an individual level. It would have been more although for some reason Brazilian thrash group Nervosa were not included on this night of the tour and they would have made a cracking bit of icing on an already pretty sweet cake.
Unfortunately, I missed the Tokyo thrash outfit Survive so my first taste of music that night came in the form of Aeternam [3.0/5] who had joined this tour for their first time playing in Scotland.
The four piece outfit from Québec, Canada have three albums under their belt with addition of ‘Ruins Of Empire’ coming out last year and we started off with the opening track of the album in ‘Damascus Gate’. There was plenty of pace and the sound was emphatic with the symphonic backing to the music.
It didn’t blow me away but they were appealing and their oriental influences were crafted well into the tone of their music.
The third track ‘Praetor Of Mercury’ was when things got more interesting with some excellent riffs thrown in and some passion coming from Achraf who was trying to get the crowd involved. There was a decent enough size of crowd and we were near half capacity at this point.
The punters seemed to be enjoying the set with some heads banging through the quicker and heavier parts, There was hooks and grooves in abundance through ‘Hubal, Profaner Of Light’ but we lost a little of the levels in the leadwork through this one.
It was a solid introduction to the band who sounded like a mix of Septic Flesh, Nile and Opeth all squeezed into one outfit.
Frontman and all round behemoth of a human being Joe McGlynn absolutely dominated the scene with a commanding presence and audacious delivery that shook the walls of the Audio. He had not qualms about getting the crowd hyped up and involved as did his counterparts who combined well in providing the brutality.
The noise was overwhelming as the track built and the blasts compounded the destructive noise that the band generates. There was no let up as we moved into ‘Gainsayer’ then the ridiculously heavy ‘It Comes I Threes’.
It was a relentless set, high octane and built for maximum impact within a tight window of time. Man Must Die were bringing in the heavy weaponry from their most recently released albums ‘No Tolerance For Imperfection’ (2009) and ‘Peace Was Never An Option’ (2013) with the former’s title track being the next on the list.
‘Slave To The Animal’ brought in some great hooks with guitarist Alan McFarland laying down some nice combinations of chunky riffs and fast paced picking. Drummer Tony Corio was a beast with the sticks and put in some varied rhythms that were compounded by the seismic blasts and, when galvanized by James Wright’s bass, we got a full on assault to the senses.
The last track for Man Must Die was one very apt for this day as when the local derby is on in Glasgow, things get heated and there is a tense atmosphere in the city. ‘Sectarian’ was introduced by Joe stating his hatred for all things football and the baggage it carries which was more than apparent throughout his guttural tirade of straight up aggression.
It was a poignant song which brought their set to a dramatic close. Top stuff.
Next up were the legendary Suffocation [4.0/5} who were back in Glasgow not long since their last headlining show back in August. Then they had Kevin Miller on the vocals as Frank Mullen had taken a lesser role in the band and has since now completely quit the band.
This time, we had Ricky Myers who was once again at the scene, trying to fill the void that Frank Mullen has left in the band. It was my first experience of Myers at the helm and we got started off at a slower pace with Thrones Of Blood but it sped up and we got some big slams which got the crowd going.
There was a small pit which burst out once Suffocation got started and they were kept inspired as ‘Return To The Abyss’ went into ‘Effigy Of The Forgotten’.
Terrance Hobbs and Charlie Errigo were immense on the guitars, making the complex structures of the riffs look easy and they were blasting out flurries of notes in their solos which had all the shred, squeals and all round goodness that you could desire. Myers was leading well but his voice was cracking a little when addressing the crowd.
His voice still held up where it counts through the songs which was all that mattered and the crowd was loving it. This was by no means as crazy as the last time Suffocation strolled into town though but it was still a lot of fun and there was plenty of movement.
We got some more newer material in ‘Clarity Through Deprivation’ which had some brilliant back and forth between Hobbs and Errigo before we went to the tremendous ‘Pierced From Within’ which always hits the nail on the head with a malevolent accuracy.
The set was nearing its end though and we got ‘Liege Of Inveracity’ before the final track of the night ‘Infecting the Crypts’ took us back to ‘Effigy Of The Forgotten’ once more. Myers stopped the band before the slams and introduced them properly with a heavy dose of brutal vocals. The crowd went at it when the slams hit and it served as a blinding exit for the New York death metal titans.
It was now Venom Inc.’s [4.0/5] moment and they had the tough job of following up the previous acts and bringing the night to a close. The name they carry is one of grand proportions and I have seen the Kronos led Venom and was very much looking forward to this version of the Geordie metal legends.
They came on and opened with ‘Avé Satanas’ from their debut album and it wasn’t a very impressive start. It’s as if they never got past first gear but this all changed as we went into ‘Welcome To Hell’ from the classic canon and with the extra pace injected into the music, the crowd woke up again and resumed the amicable aggression towards each other.
Bassist and vocalist Demolition Man brought in the third track ‘Metal We Bleed’ with some strong and accurate words that summed up our love for metal music. We did finally get into third then fourth gear and the sound of the old school Venom was proved to be alive and well in this very recent track from ‘Avé’.
Mantas was providing some smashing riffs and some impressive leadwork which was getting better and better as the set wore on. Same could probably be said for drummer Abaddon as it was a bit of a slow start which vastly improved as each song went into the next.
We were getting a large dose of the classics but there were a few other from ‘Avé’ that made their way through. We went all the way back to ‘Welcome To Hell’ again with ‘Don’t Burn The Witch’ before going to their latest work with ‘War’.
This is where we got the first crowd surfer of the night and it would not be the last. Mantas was always at the front of the crowd getting up close and personal with the fans who were more than willing to display their affections be it through cheering, chanting Venom or just getting in a clasp of his grip in between songs. The band had prepared a solid set for us which was bound to pull the heart strings after all as we went into ‘Black Metal’ then ‘Countess Bathory’ before the band left the stage and we had to wait for the encore to begin.
The band walked back on and some in the crowd were singing “there’s only one true Venom” until Demolition Man said that it was enough and spoke of their travels across the world together, bringing metal to people all over the planet.
When they got back to the music, ‘Sons Of Satan’ got the crowd to expel large amounts of energy as the pits were in full flow and crowd surfers were becoming more frequent with one hilarious fail staining the memory. The music was of great quality after all and the band have shown that they can still pull it off after so much time.
They ended their set with ‘Witching Hour’ with gave us one last piece of fast and heavy music for the night. It was a great package that was put together and the music was varied and stacked with quality and talent; flair and skill; legends and lesser known bands which all combined to make another top night for metal in Glasgow. We really are getting spoiled nowadays, can’t complain though.