(Cover photo credit: Bryce Hall)
For 26 years and 10 albums, Lamb of God have held their thrown as the kings of american metal. Their legacy has carried them all over the world, performing for generations of metal heads on stages large and small. But this show will be unlike anything the band has ever done before. Packed onto a small stage at The Broadberry in the bands home town of Richmond, VA will not only mark the first live stream event in the bands history, but will also mark the first time any material off their 2020 self-titled record will be played live. As we get ready for the show to start, the only fear fans should have is if a circle pit breaks out in their living room. And if it does, you know you were at a Lamb of God show.
As the blue lights pierce through the darkness of the room, guitarist Willie Adler’s eerie intro begins to play. Soon the silhouette of singer Randy Blythe and his signature dreads take shape as he gives his baritone monologue. While “Momento Mori” is slowly unfolding, we are blindsided by the explosive transition to the blistering main riff and drummer Art Cruz’s machine gun like double bass. This is that ferocity we all look for in a Lamb of God show. When Randy is front and center swinging those tentacle like dreads around as everyone else on stage is chugging away.
Sitting here watching the show, it dawns on me its been years since I’ve seen them on anything smaller than a festival or amphitheater setting. I could not imagine the energy coming off such a small stage for an entire set. You can feel it while looking at your computer, but to be a fan on the floor only feet or inches from this band would just be incredible. And one song from early in the setlist that have that floor moving would have been “Gears“. With Cruz’s four count setting up Willie, Mark and John’s progressive build up, it’s Randy’s growl that ignites the opening breakdown of the song. With every verse more vicious as the last, it’s the tracks conclusion post solo that hits you right in the chest.
While an audio sample of wind blowing and the sound of clock ticks and bells fill up the dead air, Randy addresses the viewers for the first time. “Welcome to our broadcast, from here in Richmond Virginia. Thank you for joining us.” he says in a sinister voice. He then dedicates the next song to their friend, fallen front man of Power Trip Riley Gale. Mark Morton starts “Reality Bath” by plucking away on his guitar like he’s killing time at practice. Within seconds it turns into shear ferocity only matched by Blythe’s rapid fire howl.
Lamb of God’s new album in my opinion is flawless from front to back. But for me, “Poison Dream” was the one song I was really looking forward to seeing the band playing live and it did not disappoint. Through the remaining feedback leftover from “Resurrection Man“, Willie Adler blasts into the songs blistering intro and then like a bomb detonating, Lamb of God explode and advance with the musical onslaught. And just when you think it couldn’t get any more intense, the songs final breakdown supplied enough adrenaline to wake a corpse while Randy Blythe’s howling screams echo through the air. The only thing missing was the guest appearance from Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta.
(Photo Credit: Bryce Hall)
“On the Hook” is the last entry of this 10 track monument of an album. As the light go out, the sounds of a heart monitor beeping can be heard over police sirens and screams. Art Cruz sets it off with a borage of blast beats and double bass as Blythe begins his tale of the pharmaceutical industry feeding addiction. The chorus line rings true over top of the hard hitting rhythm work as the stage lights flicker and strobe for the camera. The climatic progression came to a conclusion over cymbal hits ringing in the air in between the furious guitar attack.
(Photo Credit: Bryce Hall)
Even though Lamb of God fulfilled their promise of playing their latest album in its entirety, they had a little bit left in the tank for the fans. As the band resets, Randy Blythe announces “This next one is a punk rock song.”. With no hesitation, “Contractor” from 2009’s Wrath is unleashed like a like a tornado across the stage. Before the dust even settles from that, the boys from Virginia throw out a surprise classic with Ruin and I can only imagine everyone was as excited as I was.
(Photo Credit: Bryce Hall)
To stay in the spirit of surprises and new music, we are informed by our host “This is a brand new one, written and recorded in quarantine. For our good friends Bill & Ted”. And after a little laugh, the band play their killer contribution from the soundtrack for Bill & Ted Face the Music with “The Death of Us“. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I can pretty much guarantee it would be the hardest song of the trilogy. The words I had dreaded to hear through out this show had finally been said “This, will be our last song of this evenings delectable selection”. Fans were given permission to destroy their livings rooms and smash their mothers best china but it’s cool, Randy gave you permission.
For the 16th and final song of the night it would be “512” off of VII: Sturm und Drang and what a way to end it. From the very first note Lamb of God showed first hand that you don’t need the huge stage and thousands of screaming fans or any screaming fans at all to put on an incredible show. And the best part is that we get to witness it all over again as Lamb of God will play their monumental album Ashes of the Wake this Friday at 5pm with the pre-show starting at 4pm with Whitechapel streaming a show from 2014. So make sure you head to https://watch.lamb-of-god.com/ and get your ticket and ticket bundles because this will not be a show you want to miss it. But if you’re grounded because to destroyed your house or your parents things, we totally understand.