Glasgow’s Classic Grand has two rooms used for gigs, and tonight two international touring acts have been squeezed into the smaller one called The Lounge. Its tiny six-inch-high stage makes getting a good view or taking pictures for a review a challenge and makes it hard for a band to reach out to their audience.
Nervosa – Burning Witches
Classic Grand, Glasgow. 15 April 2022
Words: Ian Sutherland
Photography: Ya Cheng
First to meet this challenge head-on were Brazil’s Nervosa, and this experienced quartet wasted no time diving straight into Kings Of Domination like their lives depended on it.
If you looked up attitude in a pictorial dictionary, you would probably see a picture of this band. They are Thrash Metal, with no pretensions or unnecessary frills, just a pure Thrash outfit with a penchant for catchy riffs and a desire to make you bang your head.
Brilliantly named singer Diva Satanica’s vocals are raw and rough by design. Drummer Eleni Nota somehow manages to look like the calm amidst the storm while driving the sound forward with real intensity, an intensity matched by bass player Mia Wallace’s fierce looks. She has eyes that seem to seek you out and dare you to resist the power of Metal.
Guitarist Prika Amaral wouldn’t be denied her moment in the spotlight, though, stepping off the stage to lead the headbanging in a frantic crowd.
The crowd got even wilder during Into Moshpit leading to big grins on the band’s faces as the mayhem ensued. For me, the peak moment was Time To Fight, though. The memorable riff, huge drive, and chanting chorus just pulled everything together in a pure Thrash highlight.
This fearsome foursome left the venue in a hot, sweaty mess, and the challenge to the five members of Burning Witches was laid down. Follow that.
This Swiss/Dutch band have more of a classic, traditional Metal vibe than their Brazilian stage mates, but starter Executed showed that they could throw themselves into intense, high energy Metal too.
This group of musicians are focused on making sure that the sound has all the melodic touches and imaginative flair that has been getting them noticed. The twin guitars of Romana Kharkoul and Larissa Ernst are very much to the fore with massive riffing on songs like the pounding Wings Of Steel or searing soloing in Flight Of The Valkyries.
Their ace card is up front, though, in Singer Laura Guldemond. She may have only joined the band in 2019, but taking her experience with her previous band Shadowrise, she grabbed this opportunity with both hands and flew around the small stage, exhorting everyone to join them.
Being Dutch, she has some height to help make her more visible in the confines of the venue, but it’s her voice that makes the biggest impression. A classic Metal roar comes so easily out of her slim frame on We Stand As One, you wonder how she can manage it night after night.
Hexenhammer is a standout moment, the riff and ferocious backing the perfect foil for that massive voice. Here you can understand why classic Metal will always survive as fashions change. It’s a timeless and powerful sound.
The scene in the crowd has morphed into more of a fist-pumping melee, but the evening is no less intense for it. For a short time, we’re a horde of Metalheads being led into battle, fists raised.
A sweaty, satisfying night ends with a crowd sated by two different styles of Metal delivered with equal style, panache and commitment. Something both bands can be proud of.
Let’s make it the bigger hall next time.