It was a mild Tuesday night that brought Gatecreeper, Ratlord and Necrocracy to the Audio in Glasgow. After speaking to Chase of Gatecreeper, he had already complimented the venue, particularly on the sound aspect which added to my excitement to this gig which was already at fever pitch. After the doors were opened a little late, I got my beer, watched the bands put up their merch and got ready for a night of extreme metal that was short, sharp and at times, jaw dropping.
Necrocracy have been busy of late and released a couple of EPs and with a gig at the legendary King Tut’s last month, their popularity has risen and they have brought a notable following to their show. Opening with tracks “The Beserker” and “The Secret Dark”, Necrocracy exude an atmosphere of raw blackened death metal and created a beast that combines both of these genres. There are hints of melody in there at times as well, which only heightens the atmosphere, particularly in the song “The Secret Dark”. Vocalist Duncan changes his vocals from black metal shrieks to death metal growls with ease in accordance with the riffs that guitarist Andy was playing.
The next song that caught my attention was “A Storm on the Horizon” which is more aligned to the early black metal movement with its simplistic riffs and the thundering battery of Aaron behind the drum kit. This is akin to something Darkthrone would have released in their early black metal days. Again a hint of melody comes in at the end with something you would hear on an Iron Maiden album, just to keep the crowd’s attention.
Ending with “Legacy of a Parasite” and “Mental Annihilation” just shows how they have merged the extreme metal genres and created their own sound. Versatile frontman Duncan again showcases his talents with the multiple vocal changes over the course of these two closing songs, standing on the speakers, getting the crowds appreciation. A very strong set from a band that are getting their wheels in motion and releasing some strong material. They are back in the studio as we speak, so their next output will be released in the not too distant future. One to watch.
Next we have relatively new German hardcore death metallers Ratlord, who were probably unknown to the vast majority of the crowd in the Audio. Ratlord have released one EP this year, so we were given the pleasure of hearing every song on the EP plus one new untitled song. Once again the sound in the Audio was perfect and the lighting made for an eerie atmosphere as Ratlord unleashed “Immortal Sadist part 1”. It starts off with a nice ambient piece before the buzzsaw guitars come in and it’s death metal the old school way with swirling riffs, and let me just say that the vocalist has some set of lungs on him. The song has the added element of their previous bands as Ratlord was formed with two of Germany’s stronger hardcore bands, Gone to Waste and Dull Eyes. There are hardcore elements in this song and indeed for the rest of the set which keeps the songs sounding fresh and exciting.
The short sharp shock of “Mass Paranoia” highlights more of the hardcore influenced death metal from Ratlord. All five members giving it their all in trying to win over the crowd and with each song they play, they are winning. Another highlight for me was “Immortal Sadist part 2” that starts off mid-paced with aggressive screams before settling down into almost doom death territory, with heavy chugging riffs emphasising the power rather than the speed. Closer “The Wretched Choir” sounds so Swedish it just makes me smile from ear to ear with the frequent blast beats and the raw, chaotic and swirling riffs. The end of the song again is so atmospheric with breakdowns and chugging riffs, backed by harsh deep growls. This was their best song and certainly pleased me and the crowd. Ratlord have released one 12” EP through Germany’s Injustice Records and I would urge you to give it a try and add it to your collection.
The moment I had waited for had finally arrived. After reviewing their debut album earlier this year, I could not wait to witness their live performance and credit must once again go to Mark Hamilton Hunter for bringing a band that have the world within their grasp to Glasgow on a mild Tuesday night. As soon as they start, you notice why they are headlining as this has to be one of the tightest sets I have witnessed from a live band.
Since the album release, Gatecreeper have been on extensive tours which has given them so much experience on stage and this is so evident from the first minute to the last. As soon as you hear that guitar sound, the Swedish buzzsaw sound, I just smiled, raised my horns and banged my head in appreciation of the musicianship on show here. Playing tracks from their debut, Sonoran Depravation, highlights for me included opener “Carved in Flesh” with just Swedish death metal worship like it was in 1990. All five members were giving it their all on stage and moshing away and had the crowd responding in the same way. Again special mention must be for the sound guy who made everything crystal clear and sounding like they did on the album.
“Sterilized”, “Lost Forever” and my personal favourite “Desperation” just rocked the place, giving each person in the crowd exactly what they wanted from the band. Gatecreeper can do no wrong tonight and even though Chase speaks very little in-between songs, he is very grateful for everyone in attendance. All musicians look very comfortable and experienced on stage and get the crowd to interact with them at every opportunity. While there is not a lot of space for movement, they have perfect stage presence that was showing the support bands how to do things, like they themselves had to learn. Playing everything from Sonoran Depravation, the band have inherited a fair number of new fans tonight and on this showing, Gatecreeper will be huge in 2018.
The set was not even half an hour with the gig complete by 9.30pm. What we got from each band was thirty minutes at most of sheer power, effort and class and with each band being in its infancy, things can only get better for every one of them. Not bad for a Tuesday night. Gatecreeper… Lords of the Land anyone?