GIG REVIEW: Vader & Immolation Live at Audio, Glasgow
Apart from one date in London last year, the Rise of the Empire tour is Vader’s first trip to UK shores since the release of their brilliant 11th record, “The Empire.” This is also Immolation’s UK tour since the release of “Atonement” earlier this year. Armed with new material of such a high caliber, there was a heavy miasma of excitement surrounding both bands set on their stop in Glasgow.
With no local supports, it was tour support Monument of Misanthropy opened the show with a short, brutal set of pure death metal. The Austrian/French death metal troop blasted their way through a set of heavily grindcore influenced brutal death metal. Unfortunately, many of the leads were drowned out in the wall of superfast blasting that dominated their set. Though Monument of Misanthropy managed to get a few heads banging, it was their cover of Death’s “Pull the Plug” that got their greatest response of the night.
Yonkers legendary four-piece Immolation were next up. Though there was certainly nothing inherently bad about Monument of Misanthropy’s set, Immolation gave a masterclass on how death metal should be played. Focusing largely on more recent material – and featuring more songs from “Atonement,” than any other album -the quartet delivered a super-tight show of utter brutality, proving to be a hard act for Vader to follow. On stage, frontman Ross Dolan seemed completely immovable, planted to his spot center stage for the majority of the set while creative genius Robert Vigna swung his guitar around like he was on a medieval battlefield. There was little in the way of a stage show, but Immolation proved that theatrics are not always necessary – old-school death metal is just as entertaining to watch with or without an elaborate stage, pyro and costumes. Highlights from their set included the outstanding new tracks “When the Jackals Come” and “Destructive Currents,” and the title track from their near-perfect 2010 opus “Majesty and Decay.” The only thing that could have improved their set would have been more time to showcase some classic material from “Dawn of Possession,” “Here In After” and “Failure For Gods.” Hopefully Immolation will return to Scotland in the not too distant future to headline, and bring some classic material to compliment their newer work with them.
Following Immolation left Vader in a tough spot, but for the most part, they matched the New Yorkers blow for blow. Storming through a perfect mix of classic Vader tracks and new material, the Polish titans gave a display of exactly why they are so revered across the world. Frontman Piotr Wiwczarek is far and away one of metal’s best and most charismatic frontmen, standing almost like a messiah before a mass of devoted, headbanging disciples as Vader tore through set highlights “Triumph of Death,” “Silent Empire” and “Sothis.” Unfortunately, a technical issue seemed to cause Vader’s set to be cut short, with the gig finishing about half an hour early. In spite of this, Vader absolutely dominated the stage and their unique brand of thrashy, old-school death metal will have many, many necks aching the next morning.