[Apologies for delays in posting – Ryan had this written a week ago. Editing fail!]
Every thrash metal fan worth their salt will have longed for the loud, hairy, and beery anarchy of the genre’s eighties heyday: when Alcoholica packed out snotty wee punk clubs, Scott Ian said ‘Not!’ a lot, and Dave Mustaine was still ‘fun’ mental. Tonight, Glaswegian aficionados of patched denim, hi-tops, and liver abuse are in for a treat. With Infestation, new promo company HorrorFly have done everything but pile the crowd into a nuclear DeLorean to recreate the sheer pandemonium of Battery Street’s halcyon days.
The aptly named God Damn Brewery waste no time in setting the tone for the evening. Their Stella-swigging mainman does a fine job of bringing out the grit in the band’s bluesy, bourbon-soaked groove, stoking the Saturday-night crowd with calls to arms like the poetic ‘Let’s Get Fuckin’ Steamin”. It’s sweaty, filthy, heavy, and damn good fun: the sonic equivalent of a one-night-stand from a Classic Grand club night. Except you’ll definitely want to tell your pals about this.
The party picks up the pace with Glasgow’s crossover champions Kingpin. They’re one of the most energetic bands on the local circuit, and they really give it their all tonight. Their sound is a massive hardcore assault, offset by a thunderous low-end, blistering licks, and anthemic vocals. Each band member has a flair for showmanship: not least the commanding frontman Lev, contrasted by the scene’s endlessly entertaining class clown, bassist Gary Smith. Despite being the hardest band on tonight’s bill, Kingpin fuel a jovial, anarchic atmosphere with their shout-along choruses, guest vocals from hardcore mob Eternal War, and titanic riffs worthy of the genre’s greats.
Acid Trial add another layer to the evening’s jubilant proceedings, as it’s also their frontman Del’s birthday. After a rousing ‘Happy Birthday’ for the big man, he returns the favour by leading an immense set. Bringing together shades of Pantera and Clutch and deep-frying them into a distinctly Glaswegian groove, Acid Trial have a ripping, heavy, and modern sound. Equally powerful in the bigger, slower numbers and their guitar-driven thrashy sprints, their music really shows off the talents of every member on stage, and drives a euphoric show that the crowd really throw themselves into.
Circle of Tyrants have the unenviable job of living up to all this, but they do so with ease in their monumental headline set. Their sound is a knowing homage to the classic Bay Area mosh of Exodus and Death Angel, but Tyrants’ brilliant lyrics (‘Get To Da Choppa!’) and ambitious songwriting mark them as a thrash metal tour-de-force in their own right. The Saturday-night Glasgow crowd have no shortage of energy, but the mayhem in the room gets turned up to eleven during this band’s set. Despite the floor turning into a boozy ice rink, a pit opens up and the stage divers fall thick and fast. It’s the stuff of those grainy old videos from San Francisco pub basements where Slayer look like they’re in Rocky Horror drag, but the smile on every face in the room during Tyrants’ set hint that this might be even more fun.
HorrorFly have achieved something really special tonight. They’re obviously as sick as us of hearing folk in venue loos or Catty’s smoking moaning that “there’s no metal scene in Glasgow”. Infestation has show that there absolutely is. This evening has captured the unfettered energy of thrash metal’s glory days while celebrating the creativity, showmanship, and damn good tunes of Glasgow’s home grown metal talent in utterly triumphant style.
We’re raising a hangover bottle of Bru to the next one. Just keep it down ’til then eh?
- God Damn Brewery support Maiden UK at Penicuik Town Hall on 27th February.
- Kingpin play Vomfest 3 at Edinburgh’s Banshee Labyrinth on 1st April.
- Acid Trial play Round 2 of Bloodstock’s Metal to the Masses in March.