Date: 13th December 2016
Review By: Pete Mutant
Guess what? Back at the Audio again, but this time we have some extraordinary Polish death metal as a draw with Hate coming back to Glasgow, this time for a headlining show. They were last here back in March of 2015 supporting their fellow compatriots Vader at the same venue. Hate have been hitting Europe hard with this tour. They have carved their way through the Iberian coast whilst also hitting France and Germany on their trail to the UK. Still touring on the back of their last album ‘Crusade:Zero’ they were bringing Spanish blackened death metallers in Noctem along. Noctem on record seemed like a worthy addition and I was looking forward to seeing them take the stage to see what they could offer.
First up we had local band Warhead [1.0/5] to get the night underway. They blasted forth with a fast and powerful combination of instruments and that, you would have thought, would set a good precedent for what to expect. Alas, that was about as good as it would get. They were sloppy, fairly standard and simply out of their depth playing at this venue; it was just lucky enough that the place was lacking in punters at this point. To be fair to them their guitarist had only joined with them four weeks before the gig, and it was obvious that they needed more time. Maybe there was a presence of nerves with the guitarist as he seemed to be the main cause of the issues on display. Even if he was bang on form it was a mismatch in terms of musical styles for this billing. They were more stoner based with an air of sludge thrown in. They even brought in a ‘rap metal’ track called ‘Jealous Insecurities’ which couldn’t have been more of a conflict of interests with the proceeding bands. By the sixth track ‘Sick Of It All’ the final straw had been drawn when we bore witness to one of the most sloppiest guitar solos that this great little venue had ever seen.
They finished with a tribute to Sepultura, playing the breakdown of ‘Roots’ which was the only highlight of their set. Of course, we all clapped as support should always be given but it was nothing but a poor showing and mismatch in every way imaginable. With expectations lowered, possibly a psychological intention, we awaited the coming of Noctem to reclaim the night.
Noctem [4.0/5] are a fine example of Spanish extreme metal. After recently releasing their fourth studio album ‘Haeresis’ in September they have been busy on the promotion trail and tonight we had them in Glasgow as the second stop on their UK tour with Hate. They opened up with the last track from their latest studio offering with ‘Pactum With The Indomitable Darkness’ setting off with a ferocity that wiped the previous band off the face of our memory. Beleth cut a strikingly malicious figure on stage as the ritual was put into high gear. Next we got a sample from their previous album ‘Exilium’ with the crushing ‘Eidolon’ being thrust down upon us. We got to see how a guitar solo should be done as Exo distributes his six string wizardry to the growing crowd. There certainly wasn’t a full house but this wasn’t a sleight on the band as most of the metal heads in and around Glasgow (myself included) were brutalised by Possessed and Absu the night before. Noctem continued to dominate those that were in attendance. The pale white eyes of Beleth scanned the crowd menacingly as they battered on with their set.
Noctem were focusing on their last two albums but we did get ‘Invictus’ from 2011’s ‘Oblivion’ album. That sample of earlier work of extremity was a worthy addition, the rolling breaks and fills of blast beats were iniquitously brutal. The penultimate track of the set was ‘Through The Black Temples Of Disaster’, the opening track to ‘Haeresis’. An anthem of atmospheric grandeur which wrought a chaos personified by the band’s fury and cruelty. They finished with ‘Divine Xib’alb’a’ the bonus track from ‘Exilium’ which was a short and brutal finish to an absolutely blinding set. Noctem were highly impressive and made up for the lacklustre performance by Warhead. Next we had the main event on show as the Polish headliners were set to lay waste to Glasgow once again.
Noctem Set List:
1. Pactum With The Indomitable Darkness
3. Cicles of Tyranny
4. The Submission Discipline
5. Absu Dethroned
6. The Dark One
8. Through The Black Temples Of Disaster
9. Divine Xiv’alb’a
Hate [4.0/5] opened up with ‘Omega’ from 2008’s ‘Morphosis’ album which reigned down hard. The introductory music, which opened with soft acoustics, was obliterated by the tight uniformed brutality of the band. Adam ‘The First Sinner’ was leading the storm of cacophonous music, commanding a solid stance behind the mic. Hate have an already extensive back catalogue which is still growing with another album already in the pipeline; so they had a lot to choose from. The second track was the title track for 2013’s ‘Erebos’ and we got a fine example of the unmistakable sound that seems to permeate the Polish death metal scene. We were treated to a new track in ‘Hearts Of Steel’ (not to be confused with Manowar’s ‘Heart Of Steel’) which was a testament to the fluency and compoundedness of their sound. It served to lift expectations for their upcoming release and it carried out it’s intentions perfectly. After this new taste of yet unreleased music, we got back to the ‘Solarflesh’ album (having been treated to ‘Festival Of Slaves before ‘Hearts OF Steel’) and ‘Alchemy Of Blood’ kept us on the path towards death metal annihilation.
The First Sinner wasn’t very interactive with the crowd at first and seemed to be going through the motions but as the set progressed he seemed to get more inspired. The crowd were lapping the music up regardless. Lead guitarist Destroyer was full of energy and seemed to feed off the intensity of the music. He demanded chants of the crowd during the breakdowns and cut through us all with some impressive lead work. Hate had seconded new bassist Apeiron for their European tour and it was as if he had been with the band from the very start. His six string bass was well equipped for the shifting intensities and blend of atmospheric scourge that Hate can and did produce. An extra plaudit must go out to the relentlessly savage Pavulon behind the drums as everything went on as it should, in rapid uniformed chaos.
The set continued to go in full flow. We got another new track in ‘Sea Of Rubble’ which went into ‘Valley Of Darkness’ from last year’s ‘Crusade: Zero’ album. Again the sheer emphaticness of the music that Hate have been continuously releasing was an impressive feat to behold, especially in a live setting. We got some earlier material in the form of ‘Hex’ from 2005’s ‘Anaclasis: A Haunting Gospel Of Malice And Hatred’ and more from ‘Erebos’ as ‘Wrists’ was savagely rammed down our throats. The penultimate track of the night was the sure to be infamous ‘Leviathan’ which has the makings of a glorious chant when the song opens with “Abyss, Born, Leviathan” announcing the song to the acclaim of the crowd. The goosebumps were flowing heavily as Adam chanted “Darkness Will Prevail, Darkness Must Prevail” over and over at the end. Hard of hearing and out of breath we had one last serving from Hate and that was with ‘Threnody’ which returned us to the ‘Morphosis’ album for one last taste of Polish death metal brilliance.
After a poor beginning we were treated to an excellent display of atmospheric and brutal music by some titans of European metal. There is more to come from both Noctem and Hate musically and both know how to bring their sound to a live setting with dramatic results. The less said about Warhead the better, but you never know, these could just be teething problems which need to be stamped out if they wish to have any future impact. Regardless of Warhead a great night of music was again had within the confines of Glasgow Audio. This would be my last gig of 2016 with many more in the pipeline for next year. The Glasgow gig scene has exploded over the last year or two and we have reaped the many rewards. It will be a hard year to top but one is forever optimistic.
Hate Set List:
3. Festival of Slaves
4. Hearts of Steel
5. Alchemy of Blood
6. Into Burning Gehenna
7. Sea of Rubble
8. Valley of Darkness