Those of you who know me will know how much I stand out at this gig, I don’t look ‘metal’ in the slightest, nor does much of my listening cross into metal, however I was engulfed by Brooklyn’s Tombs’ Savage Gold last year.
I’m sure many metal fans would argue that Savage Gold has so much crossover appeal that calling it ‘metal’ might be a bit of an overstatement, post-metal maybe, but from a glance around the room tonight it doesn’t seem the crossover has infiltrated Glasgow yet.
However, it needs to be noted that I’m dipping my foot in with this review, metal isn’t something I’m at comfort reviewing, I did review Baroness on their last visit to Glasgow, but that would also be at the more accessible end of the metal spectrum, but in essence this in metal review mk.2.
This is also my first visit to Audio, quite shameful as it seems to have been here such a long time; I was here in the Rockers days but the venue has been revamped and feel a lot more comfortable in the space.
There’s a small audience gathered when I arrive, one and a half acts into a six-band bill, and the crowd doesn’t get drastically larger, especially when considering that in that audience are six bands.
When I arrive local three-piece Gastavona are on stage just finishing off their set, vocalist Richy Walsh introduces their last song as ‘Punisher’ so I get to see one full song of what’s on offer; they’re jovial yet heavy and deliver the track with a manic glint in their eye.
This trio clearly don’t take themselves too seriously and it’s an entertaining track full of classic heavy metal influence and a few clichés moves delivered with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
The stage is secluded in smoke as local doom merchants Voe start their set of heavily distorted dirge, it’s driving sludgy post-metal, which sets an ominous vibe.
At points, in the moment, it feels like the soundtrack to a film staring me, if I was a little more intimidated by hairy men in black hoodies – 18-year-old me then – but that’s maybe just me feeling out of place; maybe nobody noticed, likely nobody cared.
The four-piece’s sets seems to build and build on those doom filled tones, but it doesn’t seem to find the crescendo needed to really light up their set, still, there’s undoubtedly more to come from these guys.
Dutch boys Teethgrinder start their set place in big metal stances, while vocalist, Jonathan Edwards (not the triple jumper) paces the stage with a ferocious intent, glancing intensely at the crowd before launching in a guttural growl.
Teethgrinder fit firming into grindcore territory, and set the most extreme snarl of the evening, they’re blisteringly fast with an aggressive turn of energy, and while they may have a more niche audience it’s hard not to be impressive by their sheer perseverance.
New York’s Black Anvil look like stereotypical biker types, and pull off a more classic heavy metal sound, but with lead vocals pitched at an evil snarl.
Occasionally they push into three way vocals hooks that lift them to more accessible heights, but these are short-lived and not necessarily what the band are going for.
They’re also the first band that people actively get down front for, a small but loyal fanbase gathering for the intense, energy sapping performance.
Their set also sees the first, and only, horns of the night, and their bizarre appearance falls somewhere between an angry biker troll sandwiched between a skinny metal skeleton and a wrestler, how much more metal does it get?
They deliver a powerful and engrossing set, and although their last songs seems to have as many ending as Lord of the Rings, they will surely have won over a couple more fans tonight.
By the time Tombs take the stage I’m pretty exhausted, four extreme bands surely does take it out of you if you’re not accustomed to it.
However, the Brooklyn act’s four way assault raises the game one last time; driven commanding, yet sparse vocals and heavy propulsive guitars all backed up by the precision, powerhouse drumming of Andrew Hernandez II.
Frontman Mike Hill cuts a muscular, hard man look with his intense driven delivery, contrasting their keys man, who is equally as dramatic, but who’s almost scene look seems a little out of place next to Hill intimidating demeanor.
That’s just aesthetics though, together Tombs are a machine and this is clear tonight, they’re strong and thunderous, driving at the heart of Audio as some hesitantly leave for the last train.
Savage Gold has been hailed as Tombs’ best album to date, and with performances like this it’s hard not to see their fanbase growing further, in metal communities and further afield.
Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Bill Gray