It must be said, I was really excited for this gig. Last time Vader came to town a few years ago I unfortunately missed them and I was gutted, especially since I fell in love with the album they were promoting at the time – Welcome to the Morbid Reich. So now I was making up for lost time!
I was also really looking forward to seeing main support Hate. After hearing their latest album, Crusade:Zero (expect a review soon!) and checking out some of their past works, especially Anaclasis: A Haunting Gospel of Malice and Hatred, I found myself really enjoying their brand of blackened death metal with their own unique edge.
It’s fair to say my expectations were exceeded! The gig was awesome!
First up was Shredhead. I believe Mosh shared some of their material on our Facebook page some time ago so I was looking forward to seeing these guys. After doing some digging after the gig I found that they’re from none other than the Holy Land of Israel! I certainly wasn’t expecting that. Prior to the show I hadn’t really listened to Shredhead so I didn’t really know what to expect. First impressions were interesting. The songs are definitely rooted in thrash with plenty of speed and aggression. There’s a lot of punk influence in there too as well as some death metal elements, melodic ideas and groovy elements here and there. Like me, most of the audience didn’t seem familiar with Shredhead but it’s fair to say I think the band have definitely earned a few new fans from Scotland. There were plenty of nodding heads, including mine, throughout the entirety of their set. However there were a few guys in the audience definitely enjoying themselves and they raged for every song. The frontman has amazing stage presence, commanding the stage as if he’s been in a band for decades. He engaged with the crowd between every song and certainly caught our attention. It’s quite hard to pinpoint Shredhead’s sound down to a T. I can only think of describing it in this weird way. The guitar player was wearing an Entombed Wolverine Blues t-shirt, the bassist was wearing a Municipal Waste t-shirt, and the frontman bears an uncanny likeness to Phil Anselmo circa-1992 (he sounds a lot like him too). Putting these elements together could roughly describe the sound of Shredhead in my view, and it rocks. The band are currently promoting their latest album Death is Riteous. Check them out – the music is heavy, catchy and aggressive, and the band is awesome live. Hopefully next time they come round, we can see Shredhead playing bigger stages, more festival dates and eventually headlining their own tours.
Second band of the night was of course Hate. The setlist mostly consisted of the band’s more modern material. The band opened with pounding “Omega”. It’s more melodic introduction coupled with the band’s haunting stage presence (emphasised through lighting and smoke) certainly increased anticipation before the blastbeats kicked in and heads started flailing. The band then continued the assault with the crushing “Erebos” with it’s groovier main riff and darker blackened edges. Following this the band stormed through what some might consider a signature Hate tune in “Hex” – since discovering Hate I can safely say that this is definitely one of my favourite songs from them, and it’s easy to hear why. It’s clearly a fan favourite judging by the pounding fists and flailing heads showcased in the crowd.
After playing the oldest song in their set, Hate took us right into the present with some of the new songs from their latest masterpiece Crusade:Zero. The first song showcased from the album was the venomous “Valley of Darkness”, which the band recently released a dark and thought-provoking video for. Judging by the reaction of the fans, it’s plain to see that Crusade:Zero is quickly joining the ranks of some of Hate’s best loved death metal epics. The band followed this with the other video spawning (a lyric video was released prior to the release of the album) tune from Crusade:Zero – “Leviathan”. Soon to be another constant crowd pleasing number for sure with it’s growl-along refrain in “Abyss-born Leviathan!”. Hate certainly know how to write crazy, super-aggressive atmospheric modern blackened death metal and the fans love it.
Hate are certainly a spectacle of something else live, especially with their more atmospheric blackened moments. Coupled with the lighting and smoke onstage, Hate’s performance was nothing short of mesmerizing. In the haze of smoke and flying hair I found myself feeling a feeling only one other band has made me feel in the live environment – Black Sabbath. Like I said, mesmerizing. Finalising their set with an unholy trinity of “Wrists”, “Resurrection Machine” and “Threnody”, Hate’s performance proved to be brilliant and their return to Scotland was a great one. They’ve certainly earned a new fan in myself. Here’s hoping they return again in the future!
Finally the moment had arrived for the undisputed kings of Polish extreme metal to take the stage. Vader were certainly something else and all of the built up adrenaline during the first two bands came to it’s conclusion during Vader’s set. Dubbing the tour “Blitz! Europe in Fire”, Vader were mainly promoting their critically acclaimed latest album Tibi et Igni. However, Vader were also promoting the re-release of the remastered edition of their early demos – Live in Decay, Necrolust and Morbid Reich. The band had plenty of material from all of these awesome records to showcase live and they were certainly a sight to behold.
Beginning with new ragers “Abandon All Hope” and the epic “Go to Hell”. Vader were on top form with all guns blazing, and so were the fans. It was like being at the Sodom gig all over again. The pits were insane and never-ending right from the beginning. Following the previous duo of death metal insanity was “Come and See My Sacrifice” from their previous masterpiece and personal favourite of mine Welcome to the Morbid Reich before taking us right back to the beginning to showcase some of their earliest ragers with “Reborn in Flames” and “Decapitated Saints”. The mental mosh was of course still in full flow with bodies flying throughout Audio and and a sea of hair flailing in the air as heads banged hard to these masters of Polish death metal.
Following these classics was more modern Vader material, soon to be classics in their own right. “Triumph of Death” is quickly becoming a new favourite of mine from Vader’s intense discography. It’s pretty mid-paced as far as Vader’s songs go, and it’s riffing is quite simple but it’s a driving catchy anthem that never fails to get my head banging. I can see it quickly becoming another live favourite with it’s shout-along “To the grave!” refrain. Another soon-to-classic Vader anthem from Tibi et Igni showcased in Glasgow was the epic “Hexenkessel”. With it’s symphonic intro, it only furthered the increase in electricity in the air and anticipation for the remainder of the set. Then it dropped and the pit exploded again as the death metal mania took it’s hold. Bringing the set to a close with a couple of classics from the Vader vault was the pounding “Wings” from 2001’s Litany album. We all know about that album’s super-punchy drum sound and raging riffage and it’s fair to say it’s definitely something special in the flesh. Closing the set was the song I was waiting for all night, the song that introduced me to Vader which never fails to get me thrashing – “Dark Age”. It seems the room was in agreement with me on this one and we all had one collective manic mosh together before Vader said their goodbyes to the theme tune of the character that spawned their name sake – John William’s “Imperial March” from the Star Wars soundtrack.
It’s fair to say that Vader’s return to Scotland was nothing short of a triumph (of death-metal) and they definitely rocked the stage like true death metal masters. It was certainly one of my favourite gigs so far and I’m eagerly awaiting the next opportunity to see Vader and Hate again.
Polski death metal na zawsze!
Official Blitz! Europe in Fire Tour Poster – Vader Official Facebook
Live Shots – Sean Merrigan
Vader – [vader]
Hate – [hate]
Shredhead – [shredhead]