Defenders of the Faith is becoming a yearly event that those into heavy metal do not want to miss and once again Metal Hammer magazine have outdone themselves by putting together a bill that is sure to appeal to the masses. All this meant that when it rolled into Glasgow last Friday night it was always bound to be an occasion.
Opening up proceedings are Hell who’s story for how they got here tonight is one hell of a tale. Originally formed in 1982 they lasted only five years before splitting up and subsequently guitarist and vocalist David Halliday committed suicide. However, before his death he taught a young Andy Sneap (who’s work you have definitely heard as he has production credits for everyone from Megadeth to Killswitch to Machine Head) to play guitar. In 2008 Sneap went on to play a major part in the reformation of the band, even stepping up to play guitar, with new vocalist David Bower also coming on board. It’s an amazing story and it alone would make these guys stand out. However, there is more to this than a great story. These guys just get it. It’s over the top, it’s theatrical and at one point Bower is topless on stage whipping himself. If there was a heavy metal pantomine these guys would surely be front and centre but alongside all the theatricality is just a collection of bloody fantastic songs. Make sure you give them a look.
Following an opening band like that is always going to be a hard task. But it helps when you are some local boys and Bleed From Within are just that. These guys are going to be the people that finally allows Scotland to receive the credit England does in the metal world and they prove that tonight with a blistering set that sees the biggest pit of the evening so far break out. Frontman Scott Kennedy seems genuinely delighted to be here and he admits that growing up in Glasgow this was a dream of his. If you haven’t got your hands on Uprising, which came out earlier this year, I suggest you stop reading this right now and go and do it otherwise these guys are going to leave you far behind.
Which such a fantastic opening onslaught the next band would be forgiven for feeling a bit nervous. Especially with it being 19 years since they last set foot in Glasgow. However, the next band are Carcass and they are obviously the main attraction for many tonight. As they hit the stage with a variety of surgical projections being displayed behind them the crowd goes insane and it gets to the point where getting out of the mosh pit requires you to stand about half way back from the stage. There’s something very Motorhead about them and I don’t think it’s just the long haired bearded bass playing vocalist. They just walk out plug in and play a selection of fantastic grindcore songs that cause the audience to unleash hell on the dancefloor. This along with latest album Surgical Steel suggests that Carcass’s return is not just a joy ride for those involved but could lead to some of the best moments of their career.
I have to be honest I left a couple of songs into Amon Amarth. I’m not a huge fan of the whole gimmick metal thing. It’s just not my thing and I had to get up early the next day. I also wasn’t the only one as a large portion of the crowd disappear along with Carcass. Saying that Amon Amarth look like they could be very good fun live and Johan Hegg is a beast of a man. They can consider this a virtual IOU and next time they are in town I shall be there front and centre.