There are few shows that you walk into beforehand knowing that it will be an absolutely intense experience and I think this was definitely one of them. The return of Lamb Of God with the supporting lineup that they assembled (Trivium, Machine Head, Gojira) was something that Metal fans would be talking about for a long time. We last caught LoG on Gigantour, the Megadeth shred-fest that offered fans a one stop shop for the newest heavy hitters in Metal and a place where some serious axe work was dished out. What's great about seeing Lamb Of God is watching their meteoric rise to the top of the Metal mountain. I first saw them with Slipknot a couple of years ago then started listening more to their music. Caught them on Sounds Of The Underground where they headlined and then on the Unholy Alliance tour with Slayer (whew, talk about heavy). Each event was bigger in scope and reached more acolytes to their cause. Tonight at the bands headlining appearance in New York City we would see why they are so important to the genre. Here's how I remember it.
Read Ken Pierce's full show review!
GOJIRA: Gojira would open the show and I have to say that they are also growing in leaps and bounds. OK, so they have been around for a few years already but which Metal band isn't finding that to be the case with their careers and how to get public recognition these days. Their Prosthetic Records release "From Mars To Sirius" is a great slab of Metal and at times the band reminds me a little of Mastodon in their quest for acclaim and this is based on some of the unique mixes of style in their music. The French natives did great on the Children Of Bodom tour and tonight would face an already crowded venue with many of the fans knowing just what they were about. They sang a few songs I knew off the album and were very appreciative of the reaction they were getting. It's not often that the first band up gets a reaction like this so I was glad to see it. Late in their all too short set, Randy from Lamb Of God would come out and sing with them. Needless to say the entire place exploded when this happened.
MACHINE HEAD: The next band, Machine Head, has never been anything less than heavy. Oddly enough I just never really followed them but always appreciated anything of theirs when it was being played. They were intense in their drive to send the point home for the cause of Metal and I remembered pairings of these guys with both Slayer and Biohazard in the past so the new fans should be aware that they can run with the best of them. Tonight they would be celebrating their newest release "The Blackening" on Roadrunner Records and this album finds the band doing what they do best - but not as much with the brutalizing as I once remembered them. There seemed to be a musical maturity in these guys as they strive to be different from the pack and continue to be able to show their dominance. They would hit the stage with aggression and force and win over the attending crowd in an instant based on their singer's intensity. After hearing a couple of the new numbers during their brief set I am confident in saying that we have another winner for the genre.
TRIVIUM: Trivium has been an ever-rising star from the Roadrunner Records family, and I recall the first time that I saw them was with Iced Earth a couple of years ago. They were impressive from the start and really seem to want to give you a great show every time that they play. Since their appearance on the scene they have built up quite a devout following that most bands don't do in such a short time. I did not jot down their set this evening, but they did manage to get a little of everything in for the audience and especially focused on their newest release "The Crusade". This is an album that shows such an inspiration from Metallica that you would think you were listening to something by them based on the inflections and tones of singer/guitarist Matt Heafy. I had to say that the guys were very energetic this evening and they are a band that rarely stands in one place. Their homage to the Old School might have seemed a bit odd of a choice for a show like this one, but I like them and find myself impressed each time I check them out. Towards the back I heard some attendees trying to heckle but they were clearly in the minority tonight. I was particularly impressed tonight by the drum work of Travis Smith tonight for while he was impossible to see from behind his massive drum kit he was certainly doing some damage this evening.
LAMB OF GOD: To say that this was a really hot room once their set had gotten underway would be an understatement. I began my review of the show in the photo pit as I was on my own tonight in trying to bring you the scoop but it was not until Lamb Of God had begun that I actually felt myself fearing for my life for a few moments by the amount of bodies that were launching into the area. I cannot believe some of you wish you were in my place sometimes. Anyway, so the band hits the stage like a reigning juggernaut and rightly so for their climb to the very top of Metal's mountain has been a prolific one. Successful tour after tour and every time they pass through town tickets are impossible to find and when you do see them you are left wanting more. The band would still be in support of their latest release "Sacrament" but like all bands who know what the fans want to hear would be dishing out older classics and surprises. It hard to describe to fans that have not yet experienced this band about what they are missing, and I was happy to have convinced a few people tonight just by trusting in my opinion. By the end of the show, they were true followers of these Richmond Virginia natives. Lead singer Randy Blythe is like a man possessed as he stomps and stalks around the stage. He really knows when to direct this energy back to the audience as they respond with screams that could shatter glass. The guitar shredders of Mark Morton and Willie Adler were showing the As I mentioned there would be a number of cool parts to tonight and the band revisited the time when they were called Burn The Priest with the song "Bloodletting". Those who did not hear anything from this timeframe should be aware that it was like Thrashcore in some respects, and to be honest I am glad that they have moved to the style they do now as it holds such power over the genre. My faves of "Walk With Me In Hell" and "Now You've Got Something To Die For" would make my night and the guys would even direct the song "Redneck" to drummer Richard Christy who I am guessing was in attendance somewhere, but I did not see him in the area I was hanging about in. With only a few songs left to play I found it almost amusing that the band blew out the equipment power somehow. I guess it just couldn't take the Metal brutalization that was hitting it. After a fair amount of time it was back on again and I was amazed at how quiet the audience actually was during this, but that would change when they returned to the stage. The band always closes with "Black Label" and this is the song that the infamous "Wall Of Death" happens during. I headed for more secure ground for this one but watched the melee ensue and it was certainly intense and definitely not for those who are not prepared to mix it up.
As I walked out of the venue I felt a total exhaustion hit me and that's when you know the show was a good one. Every band was on point, and satisfying to the Metal Legions that were present. Surely this was going to be a hard show to beat in scope and content. Lamb Of God's next adventure finds them as one of the headliners in the 2007 Ozzfest Tour and that will continue their reach all the more. They are saying that the Ozzfest will be free this time, so that's a guaranteed capacity crowd set of dates for the guys.
Lamb Of God Set List
3. Walk With Me In Hell
8. More Time To Kill
9. Blacken The Cursed Sun
11. 11th Hour
12. Something To Die For
13. Laid To Rest
16. Black Label
Official Web site: http://www.lamb-of-god.com
Official Web site: http://www.trivium.org
Official Web site: www.gojira-music.com
Official Web site: http://www.machinehead1.com