Gig Review: Testament, Annihilator and Vader – QMU, Glasgow (2nd April 2018)

With an all-star thrash line-up, this gig is set to be a contender as gig of the year for many. With each band firing on all cylinders following their latest awesome releases (Testament’s Brotherhood of the Snake, Annihilator’s For the Demented and Vader’s The Empire respectively), heavy moshing good times are certain to lie ahead.

That expectation is dashed immediately upon arrival at the QMU as their infamous queueing system takes its toll on an increasingly irate crowd. The venue was supposed to be open from 6pm with Vader opening the show at 7pm. The venue opened at approximately 6:40 and the queue stretched the length of the street outside. Vader still open the show at 7 while many fans hearing the muffled sounds of blasting death metal outside are eager to get in and join the mosh.

Entering the QMU about halfway into Vader’s set at the tail end of “Sothis”, the venue is packed wall to wall with black-clad headbangers. The band waste no time with their short set and blast through “Wings” as hair flies in the audience. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut album The Ultimate Incantation, Vader get the crowd thrashing with old-skool slammers “Dark Age” and “The Crucified Ones”. Ending with the moody stomper “Send Me Back to Hell” and final storming “Cold Demons”, the band leave the crowd well and truly fired up as the “Imperial March” blares overhead. The band never fail to deliver live, and this time is no different.

With the crowd settled and the queue situation at the back of the mind, the intro of “Crystal Ann” plays and Annihilator take to the stage. Launching straight into “King of the Kill”, the mosh begins again. The energy is electric both onstage and off as the band thrash through newer bangers “One to Kill” and “Twisted Lobotomy” as well as classic thrash hits like “Set the World on Fire”.

Frontman Jeff Waters commands the stage well with his banter, as well as inviting the crowd to assist with the famous screeching chorus in “Alison Hell”. Ending the set with a final old-skool thrasher in “Phantasmagoria”, Annihilator also prove they know how to deliver a live show. These seasoned bands are legends for a reason, and judging by this gig, that status isn’t going away any time soon.

The time for the much anticipated headliners has come. The demon head pentagrams hanging above light up as thrash titans Testament appear. Opening with a duo of “Brotherhood of the Snake” and “Rise Up”, the band get the crowd going hard with shout-alongs and seriously banging heads. Promoting Brotherhood of the Snake, the band showcase various new bangers like “The Pale King”, a pounding “Centuries of Suffering”, and “Stronghold”.

Both band and crowd are enjoying the thrashfest as more raging tracks from throughout Testament’s career such as “Electric Crown”, “Low”, “Eyes of Wrath” and a bouncing “Souls of Black”. Throughout the set the band members each took the spotlight for a series of solos culminating in a rocking jam of “Urotsukidôji”. The band’s virtuoso musicianship is awesome to watch, however for as often and as long at this show, it becomes a bit much for some.

Closing the show with an old-skool trio of “The New Order”, “Practice What You Preach” and “Over the Wall”, Testament dominate the QMU with their intense thrash mania. There’s been circle pits, flailing heads and crowd-surfers aplenty and an awesome time has been had by all. Once upon a time it seemed that thrash metal was dead in Glasgow, and now with gigs like this prove that today it’s alive and kicking… hard.

Testament: official | facebook | twitter

Annihilator: official | facebook | twitter

Vader: official | facebook | twitter

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