Gig Review: Malevolence / Sylosis / Guilt Trip / Justice For The Damned – The Garage, Glasgow (7th November 2023)

Justice For The Damned (c) Andy Dee

There’s a long line down Glasgow’s notorious Sauchiehall Street well over an hour before the doors open for tonights gig. It’s a cold and miserable evening, but nothing is stopping those who have assembled early to get up front for tonights sold out show. This is the first night of a sold out UK tour and one that has the expectation to go down in the history books. The last few times Malevolence played in Glasgow was opening for metal giants Trivium and before that, Architects. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one waiting for their return to a smaller, intimate venue.

First up, all the way from Australia, Justice for The Damned, who bring some serious heaviness to the healthy sized crowd that have made it into the venue for their early slot at 6.30pm. Their death metal tinged hardcore is ferocious in delivery and gets the pit started in no time. Opening up a four band bill on a cold Tuesday night is never an easy challenge but JFTD do it just fine.

Manchester’s Guilt Trip are up next with their faster and modern hardcore approach. Their sound is brutal with a melodic edge and the energy given off the stage is infectious creating carnage on the dancefloor. Watching the set from the balcony is quite an experience as the reaction Guilt Trip receive is usually saved for headliners in this venue. It’d be great to have them back in Glasgow soon, in a smaller venue which is clearly where a band like this would shine the most.

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Sylosis (c) Andy Dee

Sylosis take up the main support slot and bring the intensity levels up with their savage, technical metal which is outstanding to witness. Frontman Josh Middleton is an absolute master of his craft, turning in some of the heaviest vocals you’ll ever hear, all whilst never missing a note on the guitar. He recently stepped down from metal giants Architects meaning Sylosis can have his full attention.

The band has a different lineup tonight as Venom Prison guitarist Ben Thomas is filling in on bass and smashes it out of the park from the get go. It has to be said though that watching the band wasn’t exactly an easy experience. The light show was a real challenge to deal with, making it uncomfortable to even look at the stage at times. The band also had a few ‘technical difficulties’ meaning some songs were stopped and started multiple times. When they finally sorted themselves out and smashed through “Deadwood” for a set closer, they were untouchable.

Before tonight’s headliners took to the stage,  it was worryingly full inside the venue. Despite being at sold out shows here before, tonight felt way over capacity. You could just tell if and when it all kicks off that it was going to be insane. 

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As the lights dropped, Malevolence burst onstage and within seconds of opener “Malicious Intent”, The Garage became utter chaos. Security were busy at work as the crowd swirled in front of them, with bodies flying over the barrier.

It’s clear that the hard work and determination Malevolence have put in over the years has nurtured the band into an absolute wrecking machine. They ooze confidence and stand shoulder to shoulder with any  of their peers. Their hard-as-nails style of metal is complimented beautifully by a dark undercurrent of doom passages bringing to mind bands like Crowbar or Down. Let’s make no mistake though, Malevolence are their own band, unique enough to appeal to both hardcore and metal fans alike. They bring a fresh approach to British heavy music which is needed more than ever.

Malevolence (c) Andy Dee

Old school fans who have followed the band from their early days get treated to early ragers including “Serpent’s Chokehold” and “Condemned to Suffer”. There’s people grabbing the mic off frontman Alex Taylor at every opportunity, screaming every word back at him.

Taylor doesn’t stop smiling throughout, decked out in matching Stone Island, tearing across the stage and encouraging the crowd to keep moving at every opportunity. He’s a class act and clearly loves the position he’s found himself in. I’ve read all sorts of comments about the band from snobby metal fans over the years with the “Chavs of metal” line springing to mind. Metal progresses and people to need to move on from their outdated views on how a bands appearance makes any sort of difference. This is a band that has never slowed down for a second, working their way up from DIY hardcore shows to the point where they have a sold out UK tour on their hands in respectable sized venues. All whilst retaining a DIY element and smashing it on their terms, not following any trends and setting the standard for future metal bands.

As guitarist Konan Hill strums the opening chords for set closer “On Broken Glass”, there’s a brief moment of calm before all out war is unleashed for the final time of the evening. Despite playing 15 songs, both band and crowd give it everything. As the final breakdown smashes through the venue, everyone on the dancefloor is drenched and as the lights go up, it’s the loudest roar I’ve ever heard inside the Garage. Absolutely wonderful scenes.

Theirs is no stopping Malevolence as they grow as a band. This right here is the future of British metal and it makes the genre more exciting than ever before. Strap on in, it’s going to be a glorious ride.

Pics by Beyond Punk Photography

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