The Great Old Ones + Audn + Necronautical + Necrocracy
@ The Audio, Glasgow
Friday, 16th November 2018
Review By: Pete Mutant
Photography By: Ya Cheng
The Audio was primed for another night of black metal with a mixed and, fair to say, stacked lineup of bands from across Europe, with French Lovecraftian-themed The Great Old Ones and Icelandic atmospheric outfit Audn who were teamed up with a couple of closer to home bands in English act Necronautical and local, Glasgow-based, blackened death outfit Necrocracy. It was a recipe for success with each band bringing something different, a maligned charm and offence of the senses that everyone there could get on board with but in different ways, with different styles at different stages of the evening.
It was also Friday night and we were in the thralls of Autumn, but experiencing a mild evening which was to get a whole lot colder and darker as the music would be laid down throughout the night. It was one of the last stops on the co-headlining tour and one both bands, I’m sure, were very much looking forward to. Audn were supporting their sophomore album ‘Farvegir Fyrndar’, and were in Glasgow for the first time since their inception. Same goes for The Great Old Ones who were in Scotland back in 2015 but were at the other side of the country in Edinburgh, so they were getting their first taste of Glaswegian hospitality.
Necronautical had been to this very venue the year before supporting Winterfylleth and Wiegedood so were no strangers to the Glasgow crowd nor the venue. The band have two albums under their belt with whispers of a third in the works. To complete the lineup this evening and get things started were local band Necrocracy, a band I know very well and have seen grow from their first performance into what they are today. There was a few punters there to greet the band as proceedings were about to get underway.
Necrocracy [4.5/5] went straight for the jugular as they opened up with ‘Metal Annihilation’ from their first demo, and the onus was on heavy from the get go. With a crunching riff which quickens into a more open passage, the song shifts from some old school death metal into more black tinged atmospheric realms. The vocals for this one have to be delivered rapidly and vocalist Duncan McIvor was up to the task. The sound quality was right up there, which was serving the band well, and all elements were coming through nicely. We kept to the first demo for the next couple of tracks as we went from ‘The Secret Dark’ into one of my personal favourites in ‘Empty Chamber’, which brings a strong chorus galvanised by some deep bass from bassist John Howard and some well apportioned blasts from drummer Aaron Campbell.
The band were tight and very uniformed, and the music appeared to capture those in the audience. When looking around, there were a few heads in movement but others were sanding focused on what was in front of them with full attention paid to the local band. No one was talking to each other either. Those with friends seemed to be caught in the pull of the band’s performance and it’s no wonder; with such memorable riffs from guitarist Andy Ferguson in songs like ‘Ignorance’ and ‘A Storm on the Horizon’, there was plenty in the band’s arsenal to warrant such attention. It all came to a head during the last song of their set in ‘Extolment of Barbarism’, where all members built to, funnily enough, a crescendo of dramatic force which sent a shiver of appreciation through my head. It was probably the best performance of theirs that I had witnessed to this point and set the growing crowd up in an exquisite manner.
The Secret Dark
An Empty Chamber
Legacy of a Parasite
A Storm on the Horizon
Extolment of Barbarism
Necronautical [3.5/5] were up next and it was a first time for me. They were part of the corpse paint crowd, with the gang taking the stage looking like a quartet of Abbaths; there were candles, black candles, to set the scene and cement the black metal image, superb! From listening to their material I was expecting a heavy presence from the backing track to cover all the symphonic elements in their music, and it was very prominent from the beginning. A little too prominent, as the backing track eliminated the finer details of the music generated by the band. Guitarist/vocalist Naut signalled to cut it before going into the 2nd tack, the illustrious ‘Nihilartikal’ from their second album, ‘The Endurance at Night’. This track had some great sequences and some potent riffs, the break in this song especially sold me on them before the show and it was brought to life on stage in a grand manner.
The band had loads of energy and each member was in good form. Naut was working the crowd well using many tried and tested performance techniques such as playing right up against the crowd, leaning back and sticking his tongue out, you know, the wholesome black meal stuff. Naut got a few laughs from the crowd after saying ‘Don’t be so loud Glasgow’, which provoked more noise from the more densely populated audience. Musically, they were very diverse in the styles that they implemented in their songs, even abandoning distortion for a short section of melody. The maritime influences also gave them another facet which was interesting to digest.
They closed the set with ‘Oceanus Procellarum’ and the backing track was back, but this time the levels were much more stable and it all came together rather nicely. Even a bit dramatically as bassist Anchorite supplied some deep booming vocals before some fine harmonising took over, with guitarist Carcarrion joining forces again with his frontman. All in all a great set with a few avoidable hiccups, but definitely worth watching again so I will keep an eye out for them.
Next up and the first of this evening’s co-headliners was the Icelandic five piece band Audn [4.0/5] and one that most of us were looking forward to seeing. The band were all suited in black but left the corpse paint at home (not that they ever have worn corpse paint). The deep, almost tribal drumming of Sigurður Kjartan Pálsson announced the music as we went straight into the opening track from the band’s latest recorded effort. A slow burner but one that evolves over time until the point where all parts combine. Vocalist Hjalti Sveinsson looked to be channelling the growing energy of the band until, just like one of those impossible to spell or pronounce volcanoes, the music erupted and looked to capture the attention of the crowd.
We were to keep to their latest album throughout almost the entirety of the set and it was being well received with shouts of approval blaring after the third track ‘Haldreipi Hugans’ which demonstrated the many layers to the band’s music. The two guitarists Aðalsteinn Magnússon and Andri Björn Birgisson were seamless in their switching from the clean melodic parts in to the driven strumming that peaked the harshness of the sound. It was Andri taking most of the lead parts, but Aðalsteinn was putting the energy in, windmilling at times whilst staying well in control.
One detraction would be the band’s propensity to go through certain modes throughout the songs. Almost all the tracks began with clean and melodic starts which would open up eventually into their heavier parts. It wasn’t until the penultimate track, ‘Í Hálmstráið Held’, that there was a rapid and driving beginning to a song, but things would settle and build; ebb and flow whilst the crowd got deeper and deeper into their allure. There were several members of the audience clapping along and the appreciation was there for all to see.
Audn brought their set to an end with the only track of the set from their debut release in ‘Þjáning Heillar þjóðar’. Another clean and melodic start with some delicately picked notes but with another memorable break, it was a high quality song to bring Audn’s set to a triumphant end. They bowed out and thanked the crowd for attending but it was time to walk off and give way to the night’s headliners. The Great Old Ones were setting up and the time was drawing near; the occasion was here and all were ready.
Í hálmstráið held
Þjáning heillar þjóðar
The Great Old Ones [4.5/5] came on cloaked to complete the aesthetic styles of black metal bands for this night. Smoke hung in the air as a stand shaped in the guise of Cthulhu caught the blue and green lights, creating a perfectly mysterious aura as the band began to play. There was no time wasted as the band went into ‘A Shadow Over Innsmouth’ and the Lovecraft love fest was on. There was power, drive and dark energy in bounds as the band played on. Three guitarists harmonised vocally during the more melodic parts to create a spellbinding sound which was extremely absorbing.
The second track, ‘When The Stars Align’, brought more doom-y elements and the next track, ‘The Ritual’, brought the best drumming of the night from Léo Isnard. The use of the toms was excellent and the variety of technique this man has is exceptional. His drumming is a standout from their discography and we were all getting to benefit from his talent. Lead man Benjamin Guerry would strike the horns periodically and the crowd would respond and reciprocate in kind. The ritual was working and there was plenty more to come.
The deep and lamenting voice that rang out during ‘Je Ne Suis Pas Fou’ was setting us up for the icy winds of ‘Antartica’. The deep chugging of the instruments thundered down as an avalanche would, sweeping everything in its path away; nature at its most destructive. They stomped and slashed using muted hammer-ons going into flashes of intense strumming, over and over whilst heads in the audience were banging furiously. The band were able to ascend the heavy to break out into more atmospheric layers with guitarist Alexandre “Gart” Rouleau adding some eerie texture to the music.
They ended the set with ‘Mare Infinitum’ and this night was going on late. It wasn’t the most dramatic way to end the set but it was a solid one as the crowd lauded the band. They formed to bow unified as the night was drawing to a close with many of the crowd waiting to see them off, and the band took it in their stride. It was another success for the metal scene in Glasgow. The promoters have worked tirelessly over the years to bring these kinds of bands together and entertain the crowds. It wasn’t by any means a full house but everyone there was there for the right reasons and made the most of the night. Keep them coming.
A Shadow Over Innsmouth
When The Stars Align
Je Ne Suis Pas Fou
Behind The Mountains