A dark sacrifice took place on one of Glasgow’s most famous altars as the winter darkness draws in as the enigmatic London synthgaze duo just delivered a gauzy masterclass.
The intimate, deconsecrated splendour of the Scottish city’s 700-cap St Luke’s is a perfect space in which to celebrate many types of artist, but none more so than mysterious London duo Zetra. With the old church’s high windows lit a foreboding purple, and a packed-in congregation hiding from the biting cold well before this evening’s big-name headliner SKYND arrives, the corpse-painted pair emerge to a mixture of confusion and curiosity, but quickly take control.
Looks can be deceiving, you see. The headliners’ garishly made-up hardcore packed on the barrier are visibly braced for an onslaught of icy blasbeats and hellraising howls, but the soothing, sun-dappled shoegaze of opener Float knocks them for six. New single Sacrifice – released to coincide with Zetra’s signing legendary metal label Nuclear blast – darkens the atmosphere, beckoning rather than blasting into the abyss. Into My Flesh ups the atmosphere, sublimating its dark power while remaining on the sunny side of blackgaze, before Life Melts Away reveals their full heft and swagger in a wave after wave of eighties goth-metal and nods to fuzzed-up nineties alt.
With stern faces outlined in stark monochrome, and zero stage-banter, Zetra’s inscrutability is all part of their appeal. But there’s a humanity – shades of melancholy, wonder and sensuality – that makes us curious to get to know their true colours. With bigger and bigger stages opening up (they’ll be heading out on the road in Europe with love-metal superstar Ville Valo to round-out a triumphant 2023), perhaps we’ll get the chance before long.
Tonight, however, the music is left to do the talking. Sacred Song is already a minor anthem, summoning choral singalongs from every corner of this old place of worship. Satellite is a moment of spectral celebration. Then Call Of The Void drops curtain with its uncanny combination of glassy fragility and sweeping grandeur.
It’s a performance with just enough dark magic to drop these listeners’ jaws while leaving them begging for more. Which is exactly why the zealous cult of Zetra will only grow and grow.