Brujeria + Venomous Concept + Aggression + Sangre @ The Cathouse, Glasgow

Wednesday 22nd May
Photography By: Miguel de Melo
Review By: Pete Mutant

Brujeria were back in Scotland a couple of years after supporting the likes of Napalm Death and Power Trip in Glasgow. Glasgow again would be the city, but this time we’d be getting a headline spot, leading their own sizeable package with the somewhat supergroup of Venomous Concept, the high octane Canadian thrash outfit Aggression and openers Sangre, who have joined the party all the way from California.

I hadn’t seen any of these bands before but was excited to see the main two acts in Brujeria and Venomous Concept whilst having little prior knowledge of Sangre or Aggression. An intriguing prospect all round with a diverse range of styles here to fulfil the needs of the many. Well, not really the many at first as the Cathouse was rather empty when I arrived.

There were maybe about 20 people scattered around as Sangre [2.5/5] were midway through one of their songs. Brujeria’s very own El Sangron fronts the band and he was giving us the lowdown of the tour so far. They were going to try something different next with a new track which, unfortunately, bombed a little. Just a song where nothing really worked together, but the vocals were solid, as were the drums from drummer Josh Durante.

Things did improve as ‘Death March’ came next with an ominous drum roll until the pace quickened and the groove came out. The solo in the last track was rather poor but this one from guitarist Mike Reyes was vastly improved and well executed. Things definitely picked up a bit as forces combined very well. They had one track left and this one was about the school shootings in America which was emphasised by El Sangrón, being a father of kids himself.

‘American Nightmare’ got a few down the front headbanging, with one crowd member giving a bit more than the others. It helped salvage the performance a fair bit but as a whole, it wasn’t the best first impression and it won’t be considered a performance for the ages. They were on early and the crowd wasn’t there in droves so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt as they did have some fine moments and sometimes the new stuff just doesn’t strike the right note.

Next up we were heading north up the western coast, all the way to Vancouver, a place old school thrash act Aggression [3.5/5] call home. The flag of Nova Scotia was draped over one of the amp cabs as the band walked on and kicked off straight into some heavy, thrashy crescendo before kicking into high gear with ‘Halo Of Maggots’. It was quality from the start as the riffs flew about and the high octane pace was unrelenting. You could see the large figure of vocalist Brian Langley sporting a kilt, but the vocals were practically inaudible. It took until you got one of his higher pitched screams before you could really get much out of the sound.

The instruments were less affected and we were getting some great flowing riffs with some very tight leadwork. ‘Strangulation Ejaculation’ got a few laughs as we next went into ‘Dripping Flesh’, which turned the dial to rapido. The snare was unrelentingly getting smashed by drummer Ryan Idris during this one and he was also showing off a variety of controlled techniques which were coming through nicely. The vocals, unfortunately, still weren’t. Shame that.

 

We went to the first track the band wrote after reforming in 2014 in ‘Defenders Of The Old’ which had a very 80s thrash sound and some lovely riffs in it. The set took a slight dip in drive and effect during the next track but was regained by the penultimate track, ‘Rotten By Torture’. The final track of the set was ‘Demolition’ which sounded as close to a Venom cover as you could want. Langley’s vocals did get through a little bit but they were fast, high and pretty funny. “Namanamma na, namanamma na” etc. It was a pretty fun set with plenty of quality and a few laughs so not bad at all.

Setlist:

Halo of Maggots
Unleashing the Ghost
Strangulation Ejaculation
Dripping Flesh
Defenders of the Old
Stench of Your Mediocre Existence
Rotten By Torture
Demolition

The insanity levels were going to be pushed up past eleven next as one of the most intriguing prospects of the night in Venomous Concept [4.0/5] were taking the stage. They’ve been existence for a while but they have not been round to Glasgow as a unit in any recent years. They played at Bannerman’s in Edinburgh three years ago but that might as well be on Planet X as far as I’m concerned; Glasgow all the way. They were pumped and full of whatever greasy electric dynamo  juice they could find as they opened with the frantic ‘Half Full?’.

It was frantic, chaotic and full on for the first few tracks before we slowed down for the much darker and sludgier ‘Farm Boy’. That song was so heavy and it eventually did accelerate towards the end. Frontman Kevin Sharp was all about the verbal tirades and they were hard to keep up with. It was half mad and half hilarity. He kept referring to guitarist John Cooke as “Johnny Ding Dong” and was ripping on his “shitty pedals like Trey Azagthoth”. Not much of a style comparison to Trey, but John Cooke was some other kind of beast, as were the rest of the band.

The mad soundbites of narration cut the path for the next few songs and we even got an auction to buy Johnny Ding Dong, which only got a couple of quid raised, but I guess it’s better than nothing. Shame that, as they were all worth their weight in gold. There were just the four of them: Shane Embury on the bass, John Cooke on the guitars, Danny Herrera on the drums and Kevin Sharp with the tongue and lungs. His story telling was mad, his vocal delivery was excellent and he did not need any shoes to get about the stage. Them slugs were out.

The crowd was lapping it up and was as full as it was going to get. The set was speeding along to its glorious end and we even got a bit of pit action as they ended with ‘Drop Dead’. It was mad but damn enjoyable and we were set up perfectly for the final dose of music of the evening. Shane Embury maybe got a 20 minute break or so before he donned the face mask that unnecessarily obscured his features as he joined the ranks of the final act.

Setlist:
Half Full?
Group Hug
Rhetoric
Oink!
Farm Boy
The Potters Ground
Holiday in Switzerland
Fucked in the Czech Republic
White Devil
Water Cooler
Drop Dead

Brujeria [4.0/5] took to the stage and kicked off with ‘Cuiden a los niños’ from 2000’s ‘Brujerizmo’, instantly going for the jugular. We didn’t have to wait long until a pit opened up for the next track, ‘La ley de plomo’, which took us to the album prior. The extreme metal music was in force as things were getting very slammy from one second to more flowing death metal the next. Just what we were all wanting.

The interludes saw some passionate statements from the two frontmen, Juan Brujo and the double-duty-pulling El Sangrón. My Spanish is non-existent so I just nodded and smiled as they spat out some harsh sounding commands, or perhaps demands, but there was force behind the message. There was one member of the crowd, some dreadlocked bloke who was responding and passing on some of his own passionate rhetoric that the band reciprocated to. The same bloke was doing his utmost to generate some movement in the crowd and was finding a few fellow devotees to join him. ‘Desperado’ was a peach and is one of my favourite Brujeria tracks so I was loving it when they blasted on through that; the blasts from drummer Hong Jr. were a centrifugal driving force upon us and the intensity was high.

Brujeria are great showmen if nothing else and continued the interaction with the audience by having a female contributor come on stage with a large sign saying “Si”, so when they pointed to the crowd with some statement regarding marijuana, the sign went up and the crowd yelled “Si” in response. There’s always going to be some avid supporters of the green stuff who were more than happy to raise their voices and everyone else was happy going along with the act. Would be rude not to. Things were still going heavy as there wasn’t going to be much respite from the extremer branches of their music. The pit was still pretty small with about five people going at it but you could see everyone else in the venue was enjoying the show in their own way.

After coming back from a quick piss, we had El Sangrón and the guitarist on one knee before the music kicked back in and we were driving to the close of the set. Of, course, the machetes had to come out at some point, and the two frontmen brandished them with impunity. Can’t imagine that it’s easy to take those across borders but they seem to get away with it just fine. The blades make a further statement and cement the hard line image that the band exudes after all, so would be strange not to see them. They finished up their set with ‘Marijuana’ and that was a grand way to end a titanic set. More boxes ticked for me and a hell of a lot of enjoyment was had, as well as a few tequilas. Looking forward to the next time they roll into town, best get working on my Espanõl.

Setlist:
Cuiden a los niños
La ley de plomo
Amaricon Czar
Lord Nazi Ruso
La migra (Cruza la frontera II)
Hechando chingasos (Greñudo locos II)
Satongo
Desperado
El desmadre
Anti-Castro
Marcha de odio
Revolución
Brujerizmo
Ángel de la frontera
Consejos Narcos
Colas de rata
Raza odiada (Pito Wilson)
No aceptan imitaciones
Matanda güeros
Marijuana
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