Before I begin, I should note that this review isn’t so much a review but a review meets story meets rant. It’s therefore quite long but the details are necessary I feel.
It was a night of two firsts. The main one being Satanic Warmaster performing on UK soil for the first time in their career, the other was finding myself in a queue outside of Ivory Blacks.
I’m sure it happens frequently, but in my experience it has always been a “slowly dribble in” sort of venue rather than charge in at door time. That certainly shouldn’t be perceived as an insult on Ivories I should add, a large kudos really has to go to them, they’ve always been a great venue for extreme metal gigs and they took a risk putting this show on.
This risk seems to have paid off though; a packed venue was their reward, along with the cemented reputation as a venue that takes these risks which will surely put them many a promoters map. Plus the range of accents in the crowd showed how well travelled the audience was, Ivories got one hell of a name boost from this show. I would also be dropping the ball hugely if I failed to mention Gigs in Glasgow, the guys who organised the event and went through all manner of hell and high water to ensure this went ahead, they are responsible for a fantastic night so a pint in their honour.
The past year or so has been a musical will they/wont they. Shortly after the show was announced in the nearby Audio, the venue pulled the plug on the event, perhaps after the fear of bad press hit them. Relative media silence followed from the organisers, with the occasional break in silence just to confirm all was going ahead and that a venue would be announced at a later date.
After some wonderful speculation (my money had been a stage in a woods outside the city), Ivory Blacks was finally unveiled as the location for the show. The whole hush-hush affair, necessitated by safety concerns, served to push the show from regular gig to a special event.
There were some concerns that some stray protestors would try to incite violence on the night, but that was a needless worry. Perhaps the protesting voices found another battle of the day to get riled over, perhaps they realised that grownups are entitled to find their own entertainment, perhaps they figured out that by protesting they really just provided some excellent free advertising (I mean have you ever seen a black metal show sell out in Glasgow that fast?). Either way, the night went off without a hitch and everyone went home happy at the end of the day.
I’m in danger of going off on a different rant though. The subject of entertainment not representing political beliefs is an article for another day and I aim to write it soon. For now, unless I’m mistaken, this is meant to be a review of the show and so far I’ve almost hit my usual word count purely on back stories and ranting. The backstory is important of course, without the STV input, without the blogs and the Facebook comments, this gig may not have been the success it turned out to be. With that in mind, let’s get started.
A track from support band, Pale Mist
The doors opened and the crowd started flocking inside, away from the cloud that had been threatening snow. It’s almost a shame it didn’t complete the threat as the snow would have added a fitting atmosphere to gig, we just got the usual Glasgow weather; drizzle and a breeze.
There were plenty of security in sight and precautions either by venue or promoter or both ensured a drama free evening would lie ahead. While the first band prepared to play, a large queue formed at the merch booth. If there’s one way to shift merchandise, it’s to say limited edition. I was straight into the queue to get one of the limited event patches, ignoring both bar and toilet in pursuit of shit to buy.
By the time I had bought my patch and bought my pint, the band were already well onto their third song, which considering the length of their songs must have been charging towards the end of the set. Speaking of pints though, they had beer from the Black Metal Brewery on supply. Though I didn’t get any tonight (a man who likes merch is a man who can’t afford expensive beer), it was good to see decent beer in venues. More of that please.
I’m not sure if it was because of the aforementioned promotion by way of scandal, but it was a bit of a mixed crowd tonight (people just looking for spectacle for example) and it seemed to take a while for the audience to warm up to Pale Mist. That or because the crowd just hadn’t hit the bar enough yet, to be honest it was probably that. We’re in Glasgow after all.
Still, Pale Mist fought the cobwebs well and played well, pulling in the crowd by the end with heads nodding and raised pints spilling over the poor bastard in front’s hair. I would like to see them again when I can give them my full attention.
Darkened Nocturn Slaughercult’s set from Glasgow (not our video, credit to Eagledog Productions / youtube.com/user/lambbroadway)
Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult followed and truly blew me away. This was a band who I only really know from my forays through Spotify and Youtube, which didn’t prepare me at all. The main reason being that they managed to achieve what so many black metal bands set out to do but fail to execute; manage to be genuinely unsettling to watch. Now this is a fairly unique reason to me so those reading might disagree, but when I was young I had the odd nightmare about a veiled lady with blood dripping from her mouth (I must have seen something on TV, probably a comedy, that a young shitebag such as myself was terrified by). Sure enough, frontwoman Onielar has the veil and definitely has the blood. As evidenced by the red covered crowd members after their set.
Outside of reawakening childhood horrors, the band were tight as all fuck. They easily passed the Small Venue Toilet Test ™ which is a thing I’ve just invented. Sometimes when you’re in a small venue it can be hard to really hear what’s going on properly, and when you visit the toilet it’s almost like slipping on a pair of headphones. It allows you to properly hear the band individually rather than as one great noise. A brief trip to the toilet really drove home the power of Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult. If you’re presented with the chance to see the band, take it. Some bands rely on visual stimulants to mask poor playing, DNS (because fuck typing that again) manage both. They nail the sound and the look without sacrificing anything.
This all served as build up for the main event, Satanic Warmaster’s first UK show. All notion of drama and controversy went out of the window when the band finally took to the stage. There was a strange atmosphere for the first maybe three songs of the set, almost a small sense of disbelief. Most people in the crowd, whether they admit it or not, at some point probably believed the show would be cancelled. Yet here they were after a year of hearsay and rumours finally watching the corpsepaint clad band playing a full set at long last.
Satanic Warmaster’s set (same description as above)
As the crowd came to accept it, the pits slowly opened up and the show took on a new head of steam as a few fan favourites were dished out. One of the most striking things about the performance was how tight it was. While Werewolf might be the one man army of the studio, the touring musicians are solid backing tonight. As a whole, the band perform like they’ve been together for a decade. Though having never had the opportunity to see Satanic Warmaster live before, they could have been together for a good long time as it is.
Handing his microphone off to the crowd at one point, Werewolf allowed the front row to perform (perform surprisingly well, but that could be the beer talking) their own growls. A move that could have proved slightly suicidal in Glasgow (because someone shouting Fannybaws at the end of a tune could lighten the dark atmosphere) ended up going down a storm, solidifying a connection with the audience.
It’s the small things like this that makes this show special. I’ve seen too many bands perform on smaller stages than they should be standing on, and they act like they know that all too well. Werewolf adapts, he knows his first outing to the UK isn’t going to be a big stage. Hell, it probably wont be that much bigger if he returns considering the capacity jump the bigger venues soon take. Yet instead of acting aloof, he engages.
The hour and a half or so gig comes to an end all too quickly and we’re shepherded out into the street quickly after that. Looking at all the happy faces, it’s hard to imagine some of the protesting voices on social media declaring a verbal war on them or tearing them down or even generally insulting them. In the end just wanted to see a band they like play live for the first time here, there’s a world of injustice out there, instead of picking on music fans, go and find people who are actively fucking people up, and fuck them up instead.
Disclaimer (because I know what the internet’s like) to answer the inevitable email or two! The author is not a Nazi nor does he hold right wing beliefs, Nazi’s are shite. Do SW have Nazi leanings? Not from the evidence I’ve seen anyway. Are there questionable lyrics? Yes, but I’m fairly sure Johan Hegg isn’t actually a Viking, and I’m quietly confident Corpsegrinder doesn’t spend his days hammer smashing faces, but I don’t want to ask him just in case. Subject matter ≠ life outlook/political leanings. Once again though, this is the grounds for a separate article which I’ll try and remember to link here. If “here” isn’t blue, I’ve forgotten or not written it yet..sorry!
Follow us on Twitter!: @SoundTheCharge_