It’s been a while since I’ve been to a properly heavy gig. Sure I’ve seen Amon Amarth etc this year, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen a blast beat you to death with volume and speed heavy. This was corrected on Wednesday night when Anaal Nathrakh came to town. Or indeed, Anal Nathan as my phone insists on calling them.
The Audio may not be the biggest room in Glasgow, but I’ve seen bands struggle to fill it. Nathrakh didn’t seem to have this issue, with space being quite limited and the queue for the toilet sometimes being quite long. The opening bands who I sadly didn’t get the chance to witness had clearly done their job though. Half the crowd were drunk while the other half had the look of battle in their eyes that suggested that it was pit time imminently.
All seemed more than happy when Anaal Nathrakh took to the stage though. Playing a set of about fifteen songs which had a healthy offering from Desideratum, the latest album, and a good sample from their past, there isn’t much more you could ask for.
A sad fact of extreme metal is that some bands or musicians use the distorted messy sound as an excuse to be sloppy. Nathrakh clearly reject that nonsense though and set about delivering one of the tightest performances I’ve seen in recent memory. Granted fuck ups are masked by the volume (and obviously beer), but if more bands played with the energy and tightness of Anaal Nathrakh I’m sure more people would buy tickets for shows.
The crowd were a bit muted to begin with. As a crowd might be on a Wednesday evening, slap bang in the middle of the working week for some. However, with gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) coaxing from front man Dave Hunt, they came alive. After a couple of songs the pits opened and it all kicked off. Every gig I go to in the Audio I wind up being surprised that no one gets rocketed out the door at the side and into the street, but I digress.
As the pits got faster and fuller, the band got heavier and seemingly louder. That or I got closer to the speakers. Either way, the band was loud. There is still a faint ringing in my ears that both says “you were at a shit hot gig” and “get fucking earplugs you deaf twat” as I write this. Inevitably, with volume comes a small loss in clarity, however, when it’s an extreme metal band this isn’t the end of the world. You’re not struggling to hear intricate melodies about love and affection, you’re more concerned about whipping your hair around in circles to the kick drum (which you could definitely hear) and trying not to fall down in the pit.
Rejecting the traditional encore tactic of buggering off briefly only to come back on, they batter through to the very end, leaving the stage to waves of applause from a more than sweaty, beaten audience. If you get the chance to see them, go, it’s more than worth the ticket price.