Heavy Scotland 2017 – Corn Exchange, Edinburgh

Two days, one festival and the first induction of what will hopefully see many more people from all over the world walk through its door. Heavy Scotland was like a roast dinner in a tin baking on a frying pan fueled by blue skies. Its ingredients sourced from the finest producers that cultivate noise and gristle in metal’s dynamic underground with the Belgian mistress of merciless arts Femke Fatale acting as hostess of the event.

It was a lengthy two days as each was just shy of half a day of constant blast beats, raucous riffs and blistering bass lines where the hierarchy of bands gave no reprieve to the numerous pits that formed during sets – proving that Scots do know how to exercise, but maybe only when the motivation is worth its weight in sonic gold.

Bands. It was a celebration of heaviness, in Scotland, and dropping onto the waves the local bands Centrilla and Lucifer’s Corpus welcomed the crowd on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Giving the Corn Exchange a good earful of what Scotland thinks of metal in general and setting a firm example of the quality in what to expect coming from the stage.

Following up on those liberating performances Sodomized Cadaver and Disposable took the mantle and laid down a second layer of incendiary and hard up riffs. Complete with mesmeric rhythms that could incite the men who stare at goats to agree that the foundations of reality were being reset in a frightening flare of extreme music.

While Saturday saw Dyscarnate, Sunday had Shiraz Lane and Evil Invaders taking us closer to tea time. A temporal spit roast of death, classic inspired heavy metal and thrash. Each a scrumptious part of a greater whole spinning on an iron wrought stick.

On the hogs head Warbringer fresh from the release of their fifth album performed with an exuberance that was unmatched during the weekend and their veracity was more metal than human. It was with rambunctious riffs they diligently conquered what they saw without remorse. On the flip side Blaze Bayley, on the Sunday, gave a commanding performance. With an extensive catalogue to pull from he was riding with high torque, pushing his engine far beyond overdrive and distorting the time-space continuum in a nod back to the eighties. It was like those inspiring times once and again.

Next on the bill was Fleshgod Apocalypse on Saturday and Destruction on Sunday. Fleshgod Apocalypse transported the Corn Exchange into a whole new world. Italians as if you don’t know express style better than most of the world and their strain of operatic metal was a refined belter of a set. With tenacity they added class to a night on fire while Germany’s Destruction riffed and tore the crowd with glorious aplomb.

The nights were far from over and after stellar performances from each and every one of the bands so far the mighty Grave and Finntroll, both penultimate acts, made an exciting and high-spirited take to the stage. Grave with their profuse death metal gave the crowd some saucy syncopation for the crowd to chew on while Sunday had the fearsome trolls of Finntroll making jaunty metal a defining moment of the festival. Pointedly pleasing the ears of the crowd at the last slog of a super-charged evening in metal battery.

Invoking the arcane with a stage show that screamed of a pagan prosperity the mighty warlords from Poland Behemoth closed an immensely weighty Saturday. The Satanic hierophants enriched the beleaguered atmosphere with an overpowering density of awe and aggression, and not only was their set tight but the synergy between members was an absolute joy to behold. Behemoth are the masters of dark arts and their presence on stage was both mystical and comfortably familiar while they slayed unrepentant cantos of defilement.

The ultimate band on the billing, the malevolent Arch Enemy, didn’t so much close Sunday as cut off the impending Monday before it could restart the daily order. Interceding the day with sharp riffs told with a charming execution. A fully realized and energetic set that was as humble as it was impressive. The Queen beast along with her pride were as marauders up on the stage. Violently tearing through their set with unrestrained power which never got in the way of the groups professionalism as performers. It was an effervescent show that embraced the Edinburgh crowd like old friends and set the stage to courteously bid the festival good night.

A fledgling festival Heavy Scotland wasn’t without hiccups and technical mishaps. The bands on stage were completely transparent and honest about these minor grievances and that made for a more organic presentation, like white noise on vinyl. Moreover it was a unique festival with an audience ravenous for good food and great tunes, both of which were abundantly supplied. Making for a memorable weekend filled with hot sauce, hotter songs and hellishly divine acts.

8/10

Our photos from the weekend can all be seen below – keep scrolling for Sunday’s!


About David Oberlin 314 Articles
David Oberlin is a composer and visual artist who loves noise more than a tidy writing space. You can often find him in your dankest nightmares or on twitter @DieSkaarj while slugging the largest and blackest coffee his [REDACTED] loyalty card can provide.

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