[Mosh] Second gig in two nights for this aching old man, but one I’d been looking forward to for some time. Unfortunately we couldn’t snag an interview with Jeff Waters as, apparently, he was saving his voice. In fairness, I can understand this as this is the first tour where he’s taken on vocal duties since the departure of Dave Padden.
[Sean] Annhilator are one of the many classic thrash bands I got into in my mid-teens. I instantly fell in love with the awesome riffs and solos on their critically acclaimed debut Alice in Hell and it’s follow-up Never, Neverland. However I never really took much time to check out what else the band has had to offer over the years let alone see the live (I believe they’ve been to Glasgow once or twice over the past few years) so now on tour in support of their latest release, Suicide Society, it’s about time I rectified that.
[Mosh] With the early doors (6:30), there was no way I’d catch the opening act who were Austalian thrashers Harlott. However, Sean was there for the beginning and was suitably impressed:
[Sean] The first support act of the night was up-and-coming Australian thrashers Harlott. The room was still filling up as Harlott took the stage, but those present and correct certainly enjoyed what was going on. Harlott showcased song after song of breakneck speed, high energy thrash from their latest album Proliferation, and their debut Origin, and the crowd acted accordingly with an increasing amount of heads banging throughout the set. The guitars were crunchy, the drums were pounding, the vocals were shouty and the riffs were catchy and heavy – what more do you need from a thrash band? Harlott certainly do what they do well. Focusing on the solos though, the lead guitar was something else – ripping out some awesome shred in every song. On a side note, Harlott certainly brought their Aussie humour to the stage with some fun banter regarding their home country’s lack of metal cultural exports (referencing things like soap opera Neighbours ), and a song about “bottle brush”.
On the whole, Harlott delivered a short but very sweet set of tight, heavy, high-energy thrash that got plenty of heads banging as a warm up for the rest of the night. They do what they do well, and have fun doing it, and I’m certain they’ve won over a few new fans in Scotland. Harlott are definitely a band to watch out for, and can certainly make a start to making Australia a more prominent place on the heavy metal map.
[Mosh] I arrived a couple of minutes before Archer came on stage. A band I’d not heard of before seeing them on the tour poster, they strode on with a lot of confidence and then demonstrated why. With a set that built up slowly from more “heavy metal” numbers into material definitely firmly in the thrash camp they really put on a good show.
Working their way through half a dozen or so tracks from their album, Culling the Weak, they did what they were there to do – warm up the necks of the crowd and make new fans. One track in particular really impressed and I think I have the title right – “Dawn of Dilution”. The lead solo towards the end was epic and really showed off guitarist/singer Dylan’s fast fingers. In fact, in honesty, he blew me away throughout the set – incredible musicianship.
That’s not to detract from the other two members of the trio – bassist David and Keyhan on drums. Together they managed to rattle off a very impressive rendition of Megadeth’s “Soul of the Tornado”, all the more praiseworthy as it was re-arranged for only a single guitar with David’s bass filling in a fair bit of the rhythm section.
Yeah, I enjoyed them and you can expect to hear more from them on these (web) pages.
[Sean] Following Harlott was Santa Cruz, CA’s own Archer. Beginning their set in a slightly different style to their predecessor, Archer gave us a more swinging heavy rock approach which to me, was a nice change in pace for the evening. The songs nonetheless were heavy and catchy and managed to get an even bigger crowd (still increasing since the venue doors opened) moving. As their set went on, Archer gradually adopted a fast thrash approach with a sound very reminiscent of early 90s Megadeth which when coupled with the band’s, especially the frontman’s, great stage presence and crowd interaction, really got the crowd going. The band were rocking out, and the frontman climbed all over the stage equipment to let rip on some top notch solos in every song. Approaching the end of the set, Archer treated us to an expert cover version of Megadeth’s classic tune “Tornado of Souls”, which was simply awesome. The fact the song was arranged to cover the two guitars on the original song on the one guitar and bass present in Archer, and still sound just like the original was outstanding, not to mention the band’s great performance.
By the end of the set, the ABC2 was full to the brim with wall to applause for Archer. Like Harlott, I think they’ve definitely earned some new fans from Glasgow and hopefully we can see the pair of them return to thrash us some more.
[Mosh] Of course, we were all there for Canada’s finest metal export since Bill Shatner got a hip replacement: Jeff Waters and company, Annihilator. A band that, like last night’s headliners Paradise Lost, hasn’t stopped since the 1980’s. Despite numerous line-up changes, Annihilator keep on annihilating with their pretty unique blend of thrash and quiet, clean guitar passages.
Kicking off with “King of the Kill”, the band plucked songs from all over the place album-wise including a few from latest release Suicide Solution. Old favourites like “Phantasmagoria” rubbed shoulders with new boys like “Snap” and “Creepin’ Again”. The new material holds up well, though it was the older material that garnered the best response from the crowd.
What made the gig, though, was Waters’ self-effacing style; an ability to laugh at himself and play the gig with a smile on his face from beginning to end. His mood was infectious with the crowd responding well to his random comments, including what is probably the strangest question I’ve heard a singer ask the audience: “Did you go to Subway today?” as he recognised someone he’d bumped into earlier. Hey, if someone like Jeff Waters labels you “Subway Guy” for the evening, you know you’ve made it.
The sound was top quality and the band played really well together. Though Waters was the only one to communicate directly with the audience, the rest of the group smiled, gurned and posed their way through a great set, milking the outro from every track as if it were there last… and then we reached “Alison Hell” and a cut-short finish. Not unusually, the ABC had neglected to inform a performing artist of the curfew so we missed out on three songs (a “medley” and “Human Insecticide” according to the setlist).
Still, ninety minutes from a superb band is nothing to complain about and with two great supports as well, I don’t think anyone went home disappointed.
[Sean] The ABC2 must have been at around full capacity for the headlining act. Hyping the crowd up was a blasting of the Scorpions’ hit “Rock You Like a Hurricane” before Annihilator hit the stage. The band certainly rocked us hard with a performance showing them to be on top form. The performances were tight and on-point, especially given the revolving door of musicians coming in and out of Annihilator main man Jeff Waters’ band. Water’s himself recently returned to lead vocals (in addition to guitar) after some time and showed he certainly has the pipes to carry the tunes his various previous vocalists committed to tape.
Annihilator showcased material from throughout their career in a varied set featuring smashers like “King of the Kill”, “Suicide Society”, “Snap”, “No Way Out”, “Set the World On Fire”, “W.T.Y.D”, “Refresh the Demon”, “Brain Dance”, “Never, Neverland”, “Phantasmagoria”, “Second to None” and “Alison Hell”. The crowd were loving every minute of the set with flailing heads and shout-alongs in almost every song. There were mosh pits aplenty too in the faster numbers, with slamming bodies engulfing the majority of the area in front of the stage. In between songs, Jeff greeted us with some friendly Canadian banter which overall added to the fun of a Friday night thrash gig.
Overall Annihilator smashed it in Glasgow with a great performance of awesome material old and new. I’m rather ashamed to say I’ve missed their past few gigs on my stomping ground, but after this gig it’s fair to say that next time they come around, I’ll endeavour to be there.
Annihilator, Archer and Harlott are still currently on tour in Europe with upcoming dates in Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Romania, Hugary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Russia. If you get the chance to see them on this tour, Mosh and I would certainly recommend you go and check them out. Fun heavy metal times guarantee