Watcher’s Guard are a doom metal band based in Glasgow, Scotland. Nae “retro”, nae flowery sarks, nae “occult” pish. Just crushing heavy metal is on their FB blurb.
I have not heard or seen of them before but they were a pleasant doom-riff laden bunch of lads, bit like (for me anyway) Black Sabbath meets Hawkwind. Gordy the singer looking like an extra from “Catweazle” for you older folks out there. Starting out with their namesake track “Watcher’s Guard”, the opening chords and drums sound like those old early Ozzy Sabbath tracks, not a bad thing by any means.
They’re a very solid band with Neil laying down some very heavy riffage on guitar and Jamie pounding away on bass (he needs to get up front more), Josh in the rear pounding away on the drums looking like a cross between Mick Fleetwood and Bill Ward. The band head into “The Ruiner”, again a super sludgy doom-y monster of a track – it’s like doomy Sabbath but with Dave Brock on vocals is the only way I can describe this band. The intense “Moon Torn” finishes a short but very enjoyable set. I for one will be catching this excellent band again and look forward to the EP coming out.
- Watcher’s Guard
- The Ruiner
- Moon Torn
Edinburgh band Atragon formed in the cold, harsh winter of 2012 over a common disdain for mankind and they worship at the altar of the riff. They desire only to bring about your doom through the powers of distortion, tube amplification & heathen ritual (so sayeth their FB page!).
I know Atragon pretty well having seen them several times now and they always deliver the goods but Jan does not normally knock over my pint in the process! The joys of being down the front. They are also a doom metal band but darker than Watcher’s Guard. Even though Jan said they had not played for a while it was another short but enjoyable set. I love Ruaridh’s playing – crunchy doom at its best. Along with him, Ewen pounding away on the bass as they head through “And the Matriarch did Bleed” with Jason keeping a steady pounding rhythm at the rear on the drums.
This was followed by a most enjoyable version of “Wallowing Wizard” with Ruaridh in form on those foot pedals and Ewen killing it on bass. The pounding drums next lead us into the heavy “I, Necromancer” followed by the even heavier fourteen minute epic “Jesus Wept” to finish off another brief support slot.
- And the Matriarch did Bleed
- Wallowing Wizard
- I, Necromancer
- Jesus Wept
I have to admit to having no prior knowledge of Slough Feg until this tour which is really bad for a hardcore rock/metal fan like myself. The band have been on the go for 26 years with their straight forward metal sound. They signed to Metal Blade records in 2013 and are still touring 2014’s album Digital Resistance. I have to say 2007’s Hardworlder is the standout album for me when researching the band’s back catalogue.
It is five years since the band last graced these shores and a packed Glasgow Audio is testament to how popular they are. They have an amazing animated frontman/guitarist in Michael Scalzi who wastes no time in getting up in our faces with his animated style of playing and singing. If you like your metal old school there are not many bands playing it like Slough Feg with the twin guitars of Michael Scalzi and Angelo Tringali trading off each other along with the thumping bass of Adrian Maestas, ably backed up by the powerhouse Addison Filipczyk on drums.
The band fire through a high octane set pulled from their long career and a highly responsive crowd laps it all up. All the band are up front of the stage constantly egging the crowd on with the exception of Addison – though the way this band are I think he would have the drums up front along with the others if he could get away with it! The band have the odd technical hitch with Angelo’s amp but nothing that can’t be fixed and off he goes again.
This is a exciting band that never stops moving about the stage. You often find bands on small stages don’t move around much, especially the bass player, but Adrian wanders and plays like the best lead guitarist with all the typical moves you would expect from a band that plays sheer power rock. I can see the appeal of this band after listening to their back catalogue. This is a band for those of you into classic rock/metal of the Maiden/Priest/Lizzy variety – you will not be disappointed.
I also hear hints of German band Axxis in their songs. Michael has an amazing voice and musically the band are solid in the studio but live they are a mental fire breathing machine. I have not heard them before now but that is firmly rectified as all their albums are now on my Spotify playlist. Next time they come to town I will not be a ignorant stranger. I would fully recommend catching them when you can for a night of pure fun classic metal.
All photos by Gary Cooper.