Live Review: North of the Wall Fundraiser with Farseer, Disaster Area, Spider Priest at the 13th Note, 23/1/14

261438_10150212183903519_4256424_nNorth of the Wall festival made its first appearance in 2013, organised by the Glasgow Uni Rock and Metal Society, also known as MORGUL.

Those of you who went last spring will know that they put on an impressively professional event that explored every avenue of heavy metal’s varied landscape—high speed thrash to subsonic doom and drone rumbling, uplifting power metal symphonies to death metal depravity, and everything in between.

So, in preparation for a 2014 return, MORGUL have put together a couple of fundraiser gigs.

First up we have Spider Priest, sacred servants of stoner metal.
As all you faithful worshippers know, the central hymn of the doom/stoner/sludge cult is thee almighty riff.

This lot have some particularly fine examples, ‘War Bastard’ being a favourite, with its writhing chromatic licks twisting and turning like the rubbery mandibles of a certain sleepy underwater squid-headed-bat-winged chap we all hold dear to our hearts.

“Yawn” you might say (or you might yawn), this is standard, this is EXPECTED, what’s their singular contribution, their bloody sacrifice to the altar of doom? It might be their indulgence in B-movie silliness.

While other D/S/S bands prefer to list obscure European horror films, bad acid trips and existential misery as their biggest influences, Spider Priest would prefer to sing about a battle royale between zombies, robots and amazons – and why the hell not.

Described by the guy standing beside me as “the world’s best worst band”, our second act, Disaster Area, is a whole heap of paradox.

Are they glam? Well they’re a bit too DIY looking, so maybe G’n’R style hard rock? Yeah but there’s a distinct lack of sleaze.

So, more like classic rock then? Aye but no, their wilful thrashy trashiness is more Ramones than Led Zep.

I’ve decided to go for ‘garage-glam’, and hope this term will explode into international hysteria, making Glasgow the beacon of a vital (and made up) scene which revives the wheezing geriatric phoenix of rock n roll (if you’d allow me to indulge in some over the top myth-making, that’d be great, cheers).

One more thing—If you see Disaster Area live, remember that fist-pumping is highly encouraged.

And finally we have our headliners, Farseer – this is essentially metal without prefixes.

Sure there’s a bit of ‘power’ in there, and you could throw the term ‘NWOBHM’ about, but this is superfluous slag easily skimmed off Farseer’s pure metal ore – do I even need to mention Iron Maiden… Is it really necessary?

The crowd love them, and for a school night this relatively sober audience still manage to whip up their energy (and luxurious metal-loving locks) into a head-banging whirlwind of appreciation.

A good night had by all, and of course this is just a taster.

The three bands playing tonight only scratch the surface of the metallic buffet on offer at this year’s North of the Wall fest – there isn’t even a single scream, not a blast beat or a mosh to be seen tonight.

All that will have to wait ‘til March 29 for NOTW proper, or the next fundraiser if you’re lucky – I’ll see yous in the pit…

Words: Calum Calderwood

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