You know it’s Summer when you suddenly realise it’s the evening and the sky is not blackening. The Sun hanging high above the Glasgow skyline for such a long time is a rarity, as is the sweltering heat. There aren’t many better ways to celebrate the arrival of Summer than donning the double denim patched jacket and shorts combo, grabbing a cold can and working out those neck muscles at a thrash show. Arriving amongst the sweaty sea of steaming Scottish youth on a heaving Saturday is Preston thrashers Solitary, ready to rage The Garage promoting their latest release XXV: Live at Bloodstock, as well as their previous studio album The Truth Behind the Lies.
Opening the show is local heavy rockers Medusa Touch. The band bring the fun vibes despite the bare crowd with their upbeat performance and old-skool tunes. The band get the handful of headbangers warmed up with energetic NWOBHM riffs from their ‘80’s beginnings in numbers like “Terror Eyes”. In some gigs it might be considered detrimental to see the band stopping to tune up in between most songs however, the crowd simply did not care – one mosher remarking that metalheads are always such chill people. The band filled the gaps with banter before rocking on. The set closed with Medusa Touch serving the best kind of cheese with “Get Ready Baby” rocking out with plenty of big chords, a singalong chorus and some cheeky cowbell hits. It’s joyous seeing the band rocking out with beaming faces, the good vibes infectious, leaving the audience eager for more metal.
Taking a turn to the extreme is Stoke-on-Trent’s Hellfekted. The core slamming thrash riffs force the neck into motion as the bands twists through tempo changes from frantic blastbeats, to slamming half-time beats and pounding thrash. Songs like “Method of Destruction” bring a vicious melting pot of extreme metal influences with death and black metal-style riffing blended with the power chord thrash, channelled through the heavy buzzsaw guitars, rumbling bass and shrieking vocals. It’s unfortunate the guitars are mostly lost in the mix during the first few numbers, however it’s satisfying when the balance settles – especially watching the band mosh together during the epic harmonised moments. With the first round of flailing heads and stomping feet coming to a close, Hellfekted’s extreme brand of thrash has the headbangers worked up, ready for more neck wrecking as they join them for the headliners.
As the intro “Blackened Skies” rings over the speakers, Solitary take to the stage bursting into “Abominate” turning up the heat in the sweatbox Attic as they get necks wrecking. Showcasing a set mostly composed of ragers from their last two studio LPs – the aforementioned The Truth Behind the Lies from 2020, and 2017’s killer The Diseased Heart of Society – played with mechanically tight precision as frontman Rich Sherrington barks into the mic. The energy intensifies in the room as more hair flies through the rip-roaring riffs of “I Will Not Tolerate” and “Architects of Shame”. Solitary are firing on all cylinders onstage – every shredding solo by Andy Mellor nailed, and every drumfill by Roy Miller expertly executed between pounding beats as Sherrington and bassist Gaz Harrop mosh onstage. The crowd edges closer to the stage with each song, as Sherrington banters with them revealing it is one attendee’s first ever thrash gig, as well as two fresh faced 18-year old thrashers who were kindly gifted some Solitary swag after the show. The set rages on with the band bringing the groove with “The Diseased Heart of Society” before more breakneck thrash with the intense “Unidentified” and ending the show with an oldie in “Requiem” – their set cut slightly short due to The Garage’s pre-nightclub curfew.
It might have been a small show with only a few in the crowd, but the gig for me was a reignition of the passion for thrashin’ after a long rut. It might have been chill between bands but when they brought the noise, all the cares in the world disappeared down the stairs as everyone on both sides of the stage had fun rocking out. As the band that promises to thrash forever, Solitary’s awesome performance reminded me what I’ve been missing for a few years and reaffirmed that promise in this thrash maniac.
The Tour Behind the Lies:
- 16th June – London, The Dev (support from Halberd and Working Men’s Club)
- 18th June – Nottingham, The Angel Micro Brewery (support from Hellfekted, Beyond Your Design and Liberator)
- 19th June – Manchester, Satan’s Hollow (support from Deified and Viral Strain)