Review of Zombie Militia, with support from Threshold Sicks @ Mad Hatters, October 14th 2011.
SIDENOTE: As stated in the preview article, this gig was to be headlined by Glasgow “blood metallers”, Achren. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, Achren had had to pull out of the show. Despite the unfortunate news, the other bands involved were determined that the show must go on!
With a start of 10:30pm, as seems to be the norm with Mad Hatters, we eventually kick off the night’s festivities with Threshold Sicks. Hailing from Perth, the metal quartet rips straight into a rather aurally pleasing set, mostly consisting of songs from their current self-released album, ‘The Scorpion Ensemble’.
Blending the raw aggression of thrash metal with the melodies of early death metal bands, these guys provide an extremely tight and energetic performance throughout. Vocalist, Phil Malloch, looked like a man possessed, leaping around the stage and delivering a growl that is very impressive in tone, but sometimes lacking in power. Slovak native, Ivan the Sticksman’s sense of groove really gets the head banging, as he effortlessly changes his playing style to suit the music, whilst constantly locked in with the mesmerizing bass playing of Greg Mckenzie-Milne.
The guitar tone, jokingly described by guitarist, Paul Macmillan, as “like a bulldozer ploughing through an orphanage”, wasn’t exactly to my taste. However, I couldn’t deny the fact that it was a crucial part of the Threshold sound, which seemed to be underappreciated by the third capacity audience in the beginning. It wasn’t until the third song in, ‘Nights of the Old Code’, that the Inverness crowd was completely won over by the Highland debut of this group of incredibly talented musicians.
Utter carnage broke out throughout the remainder of the set, with circle pits opening up and a small group of punters getting involved in “hardcore dancing”, which added an ironic twist to Threshold Sick’s performance, as the band apparently “hate hardcore dancing”. At least that’s what it says on some of the shirts that were available in their merchandise stand.
A short break after Threshold Sicks come off stage and Mad Hatters is almost packed to the brim with local moshers, waiting for Inverness’ very own brand of home-grown metal, Zombie Militia. As soon as they come on and hit that first chord, the room erupts and bodies go flying into one another, as Zombie Militia serve up a large plate of bone crushing metal with a wedge of groove.
Honestly, when I first saw these guys at this year’s Bloodstock Festival, I was a little disappointed. However, it feels like I’m watching a totally different band tonight, consistently demonstrating why they were crowned this year’s Bloodstock Scottish Metal 2 the Masses winners. Thrashing their way through ‘Bottleneck’, the band’s energy is completely overwhelming! Even from the back, I felt myself sweating just watching vocalist, Burns, run on the spot, waving his dreadlocks about and pacing through the crowd. His crushing high impact vocals and rowdy stage persona reminded me of a strange cross between Randy Blythe, Barney Napalm and Phil Anselmo.
Pummelling the audience with a relentless bombardment of pounding drums was Soapy, who I can only describe as some sort of human metronome, combining the old school powerhouse style of metal drumming with rapid intricate double kick drum patterns, locking in hit for hit with the combination of Hando and Garr on guitars, and Huggy on bass guitar.
The atmosphere in the crowd tonight was a strange one for sure! Burns made attempts to keep the momentum going with some banter before the song, ‘Destructive Rituals’, a song that stood out the most for me. When it properly kicks in, the pit rips open once again. However, the momentum completely dies by ‘Pandemic’, until Soapy pulls out an incredible drum fill out of nowhere, getting everyone going again to the point I actually wanted to join in the mosh pit!
Finally, the night is brought to an epic close as Inverness’ finest metal band pound their way through ‘Right Hand of Doom’, leaving the audience gagging for more.
I have to say that both bands gave it their absolute best tonight, and I really hope to see Threshold Sicks back in Inverness soon. In all honesty, if you weren’t there, you most definitely missed out on one of the best metal nights to hit Inverness for a while!
By Mark Dubanowski
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