Words by Carly Gibbs
6am Saturday morning is synonymous with lycra clad joggers, early morning visits to the local café or a cheeky lie in if you are lucky. What 6am Saturday morning is not synonymous with is a time that you would watch a live show by some of the most ferocious names in heavy metal, but this is exactly where I found myself this morning. The mighty Lamb of God blew the sleep right out of the corners of our eyes with the first-time-ever live streamed performance of the band’s critically acclaimed new album, ‘Lamb of God’ in its entirety. If you missed this morning’s visceral performance then never fear! You can catch them again on September 26th (AEST) where they’ll perform the landmark 2004 album ‘Ashes of the Wake’ streamed from their hometown in Richmond, VA and if today was anything to go by, it’s going to be huge!
To set the scene, it was 5:45am and I slowly sauntered down to my couch to set up the stream. Eyes barely open, hair as wild as a tornado, mismatched pyjamas and an extra-large cup of coffee, I’m glad that this was only a one-way live stream because as menacing as Randy Blythe can be, this sight would have scared him damn near to hell. It was not pretty; I can assure you. The screen was black but after a couple of brief minutes the beaming face of Jose Mangin was streaming into my loungeroom. He was clearly excited to be hosting this event and had an energy that rubbed off on me and I started to feel the anticipation build.
Scottish metallers, Bleed From Within, were the support act this morning and prior to them starting their 30 minute set, Jose had a chat to Ali, their drummer, about their fifth studio album ‘Fracture’, playing with Lamb Of God pre-Coronavirus and their own blood orange IPA. They wrapped up the interview and it switched over to the studio where Ali and the rest of the band were ready to start, drowned in a blood red light, looking evil as hell. They kicked off and I was instantly awake and in awe of how powerful and tight they were from the get go. The screen behind was showing abstract images of arrowheads and animal claws which added to the overall professionalism and quality of their performance. The stage was set up was so they were all facing inwards towards each other on an angle and it created this brilliant group aesthetic with them all headbanging in unison. My partner has been a fan of Bleed from Within for quite a while now, but embarrassingly so, I haven’t given them as much time as I probably should have. A pang of guilt sets in but I am excited about putting the time into both ‘Fracture’ and their back catalogue once this finishes. They are incredibly technical and heavy as fuck whilst still able to inject a ton of melody into their tracks. I’m super impressed and my partner is acting like a toddler goading me with “I told you so” taunts, so when they finish, I sneak off to make another coffee before the main event.
Jose is back once again but this time with the man, the myth, the legend, Randy Blythe. If you are a fan of metal then you will know all about Randy and his activities outside of the band. He seems to be ridiculously talented at whatever he turns his hand to and his passion is utterly infectious. They talk about his Leica camera collection behind him and working with RVA Magazine, voting and briefly about how genuine and intelligent Riley Gale (rest in power)from Powertrip was and when they performed a Cromags song on tour together. He is such a down to Earth guy and I could honestly listen to him chat all day. And then, it’s time.
An eerie blue light washes the small stage and the members of the monstrous Lamb of God. Unlike Bleed from Within who had a studio setup, Lamb of God’s stage feels exactly how it would if you were to see them at a small club show, which immediately draws me in. The band are tight together, facing out to the “crowd” and you catch glimpses of the air conditioning vents on the wall and the ‘EXIT’ sign to the right. It’s a pleasant reminder of how fucking fantastic live music and sweaty small shows are and how much I can’t wait until things go back to normal again.
The band kick off their set with Memento Mori, the first track off ‘Lamb of God’, as you would expect when playing the album in full. We are close up on Randy’s face and that deep, demonic intro into him screaming “WAKE UP!” couldn’t be more fitting and perfect in this moment. Normally at a show I’d be jumping around and although I’d be watching the band, I wouldn’t be watching as closely as I did this morning. Seeing that precision and perfection up close without any distraction makes it easy to understand how and why they are such a brutal force in the heavy metal World. Insane!
The album continues on and I’m mesmerized by John Campbell’s silver mane and Randy’s signature dreadlocks like a snake to a snake charmer. Unfortunately, there were no special appearances by Jamey Jasta or Chuck Billy like on the album itself, but Randy nailed those parts as if they were never performed by anyone but him…..which live, they never have been.
Finishing my second coffee and those riffs from Mark Morton and Willie Adler are giving me life! On the Hook finishes and I think it is all over but they continue on with a couple of sneaky extras for us grovelling fans. Randy yells “destroy your fucking house!” as Ruin from ‘As the Palaces Burn’ rings out, and I’m throwing pillows around my room. The Death of Us from the Bill and Ted soundtrack, 512 from VII – Sturm Und Drang and it is all over. What. A. Morning.
If there is a better way to start the day, then I cannot think of it. Both Bleeding from Within and Lamb of God are absolutely amazing in every sense of the word and most definitely deserve any and all of the accolades that they receive. If you missed out on today’s stream then you better set an alarm for the 26th of September (AEST) and make sure to grab your ticket! Whitechapel will be supporting and there is even exclusive merchandise that can only be purchased by those who have purchased a ticket to stream the virtual live shows, if you really needed another reason to buy.
Tickets are available HERE
If you did grab a virtual ticket for today’s set you are lucky to be able to revel in that glory for another 48 hours. So get to it!
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With thanks to Nuclear Blast