Lords of the Land 2018 – live(ish) review

Sean is at this year’s wonderfully heavy Lords of the Land festival at Glasgow Barrowlands today, and is drip-feeding us reviews band-by-band. We’ll update through the day and evening!

Glasgow’s Lords of the Land fest makes its third installment at the Barrowlands. Each year it’s gotten bigger and better, and with more exclusive performances on the cards, this year is set to be the best yet.

Opening the event at the ungodly hour of 11:30am are punky thrash loons Lawnmower Deth. There’s a fair turnout despite the pre-lunchtime slot as plenty of fans made the early start. The band are as entertaining as always and never fail to get the crowd going – no matter the size of the crowd or time of day. The more awake moshers open the pit and the antics ensue through humorous hits like “Jaggered Wedge”, “Flying Killer Cobs From the Planet Bob” and “Sumo Rabbit (and His Inescapable Trap of Doom)”.

The sound is good and heavy with a great balance which is usually not the case for an opening band. Throughout the set, various Lawnmower Deth characters make an appearance including dancing clowns throwing giant balloons into the crowd which subsequently flew about the Barrowlands for the remainder of the set. The onstage banter is always a highlight, especially given Acid Reign’s H is in the audience (fresh from his spoken word show the night before) and is dragged up by the boys for an impromptu jig to “Egg Sandwich” (renamed “Egg McMuffin” in honour of the esteemed guest’s breakfast).

Closing their set with tunes like the epic “Sheep Dip” where the crowd is invited to test the Barras’ infamous bouncing dancefloor and the daft classic “Watch Out Grandma” which spawns a conga line in the pit, and some of the more creative thrashers have fun using the giant balloons as space hoppers. Lawnmower Deth never disappoint live, every time is pure good fun entertainment. Here’s hoping they return for a headline show soon!

Lunch is served soon after with a large helping of Vallenfyre. The crowd is growing throughout the band’s set and more heads get banging hard down the front. Frontman Gregor Mackintosh commands the stage with his satire-laden banter (digs at the Conservative Party always go down well in Glasgow) and intense throat shredding. The sound is crushing through the varying tempos and ideas of each tune including “Kill All Your Masters”, “The Merciless Tide” and “Desecration”. Mackintosh hinted this might be the last Vallenfyre gig in Scotland and judging by the cheers, that would suck for many. If they don’t return, it’s fair to say they delivered an awesome show.

Heavy metal hunger still not satisfied? Not when there’s another seven awesome bands to come. What better band could there be to feed you those munchies than Cannabis Corpse? As the audience numbers are rising, so is the energy due to the band’s hybrid strain of old-skool death metal and weed. The headbanging all around is intensifying with the pounding riffs of punny titles like “Disposal of the Baggy”, “In Dank Purity” and “Immortal Pipes” (see Cannibal Corpse, Monstrosity, and Morbid Angel to get those titles). The performance is straight to the point with the band opting for more songs and less chat, which makes sense given its their first gig in Scotland.

Frontman LandPhil and guitarist Ray Suhy’s collective rocking out is a joy to watch – with the former’s intensely stoned-looking stare as he bellows and shrieks, and the latter’s shredding solos being particular highlights. The set-closing duo of “Blunted at Birth” and “Experiment in Horticulture” are the peak of the festival so far with the most intense mosh pits and first crowd surfers of the day rocking out in unison with their onstage metal brethren. It may be their Scottish debut but as they leave the stage in a haze of green (due to the lighting of course…) Cannabis Corpse are certainly now more in demand to return. Let’s see what future visions (from the dank side) have in store…

As the middle of the festival is approaching, it’s time for some true legends, a band that every other band on the bill probably wouldn’t be the same without – Discharge. The hardcore punks waste no time in reading the riot act, and the crowd respond with the biggest continuing mosh pit throughout the entire set. There’s clearly a lot of folk here for them judging by the intensity of the mosh and the reaction all around. There’s heads banging aplenty to classics like “Protest and Survive”, “Never Again” and “State Violence/State Control” as well as newer ragers “New World Order” and “Hatebomb”. Though there’s a lack of energy from the rhythm section, frontman JJ Janiak more than makes up for it with his screaming and moves covering the entire stage. It’s clear that there’s insane demand for Discharge and their music, old or new, remains relevant and challenging to the status quo today. Long may they continue!

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