And so first an apology – I missed the support band due to our friends at ScotRail (don’t call me, I’ll call you) but hear that they were well received by the pretty packed crowd at Audio on a typically cold and wet Tuesday night in Glasgow.
Thankfully I arrived in time to see Pestilence’s roadies assembling their accoutrements on stage. As a huge fan of the Dutch legends, particularly their output back in halcyon late 80s/early 90s, I was frantic with excitement when they announced their tour, having never managed to catch them live before. Piquing my interest even more was the news that they would be drawing the bulk of their set from their first four albums.
By the time leader, and sole surviving member, Patrick Mameli took to the stage the degree of anticipation from the crowd was palpable. Aided by his three new recruits, they began a chronological tour de force beginning with “Malleus Maleficarum/Antropomorphia”, the opening and title track from their first full length opus. The crowd responded warmly to this opening salvo and were quickly whipped into a frenzy by record mates “Parricide” and “Subordinate To The Domination”, and when Mameli asked the crowd to guess the fourth number, the welcome cheer and ensuing pit left little doubt as the classic “Commandments” launched forth. Mameli’s banter with the crowd throughout the show was a welcome touch, the main subject being his beverage of choice – milk, of which he consumed gallons. Who said death metal legends don’t care about their health?!
Some of the best moments of the night came from the middle segment with tracks pulled from fan favourites Consuming Impulse and Testimony of the Ancients. “Dehydrated” and “Chronic Infection” went down a treat with the now rabid crowd and the classic “Echoes of Death”, the final track from Consuming, caused the craziest pit so far. Yet better was still to come; “Secrecies of Horror” and “Twisted Truth” followed in short order, providing the highlight of the show for me and by the looks of it also the multiple crowd surfers who were driven into a frenzy by these two classic tracks, which the band performed flawlessly. “Land of Tears” and “Prophetic Revelations” then followed, standing toe to toe with the first two tracks from Testimony as the liveliest pits of the night will attest.
Penultimate track, and the only one taken from 2004’s Spheres opus, was “Mind Reflections”, receiving an airing to a decent response before front man Mameli enthusiastically (if not a tad late!) introduced his band mates, each to raucous applause. Bringing proceedings to a close was the barnstorming “Out of Body”, again from Consuming Impulse. An apt end to a memorable, albeit rather short, set from these legends.
After such a long wait to see these guys, I wasn’t left disappointed. They delivered a really tight performance showcasing some of the classics from their prodigious back catalogue which I’m sure, like me, left my fellow death metal fans sated. The band had a good rapport with the crowd, particularly Mameli whose banter was brief but engaging and guitarist Calin Paraschiv who seemed to be having a whale of a time conducting the mosh pit.
My only gripe was the length of their set which at around an hour was too short and despite loud calls for an encore, the band were not tempted (or not able?). While this didn’t detract too much from a really enjoyable show, it seemed a shame given how long many folks will have waited a long time to see their heroes.
Photos by Coops Gig Photography