In this journey called life, in the metal world, I can say that I’ve seen some bands grow and others disappear. I have been listening to this music for a relatively short period of time and almost ten years of experience are just enough to say when a band has already established themselves as icons, and they’ll become legends very soon. LAMB OF GOD announced a headlining tour with direct support from New York thrashers ANTHRAX, adding later opening acts DEAFHEAVEN from California, and Dallas’ POWER TRIP. This time, The Bomb Factory was about to explode in Dallas, TX with an almost full house on Friday, February 5.
I can say that this show has the potential to stand out as one of the best of the year, and I feel like 2016 has barely started. My pre-show rituals got a little messy when some unexpected traffic was impeding my arrival to the venue on time to enjoy all the bands. So I was literally running to the venue and standing in a very long line to get tin, I got my first taste of California’s DEAFHEAVEN. Their music sounds relaxing to me at some point, yet brutal. After a short dose of a new band to add to my playlist while hitting the gym, and very pleasant, it was about time for the two bigger acts to step up in the stage and do what they do best.
I couldn’t hold my excitement once ANTHRAX’S road crew displayed the artwork from their upcoming album For All Kings (Megaforce Records, February 26) as part of their background for the show. It looked like everyone was about to have a blast on a Friday night! The setlist was pretty solid, although I’d love to hear some more of the old tunes as part of the tradition. The new ones from their upcoming album are not bad at all and I’ll say this again: ANTHRAX DOES sound a lot better than they did yesterday, and they’ve kept that trend for a very long time, along with bands such as OVERKILL and TESTAMENT.
“Fight ‘em Till You Can’t” was song number one, and I had to go nuts after hearing the first riff. The pits took no time to open up and the sound landed perfectly on my ears to make this a good night. This song has become one of my favorites since the release of Worship Music in 2011. “Caught in a Mosh”, my favorite song ANTHRAX ever released continued the absolute madness in The Bomb Factory.
I was delighted to see Joey Belladonna, Scott Ian, Frank Bello, Jon Donais and Charlie Benante give everything they have just minutes after taking over the stage. “Got the Time”, another fun song to hear connected the previously played songs to move everything faster.
Since For All Kings is just around the corner, it was imperative for all band members to jam something out of that beautiful record. “Evil Twin” instantly became one of my favorite songs from the set, and even though it was released as a single a couple of months ago, the live experience never matches the headphone experience. “Breathing Lightning” also was shared from the band to the fans to continue with this celebration of life; a slower tune, but with ANTHRAX’S homemade sauce to get things spicy.
During the second half of the set, a well-deserved tribute can’t be misplaced: the images of both Ronnie James Dio and Darrell Abbott were displayed while the band played “In the End”, which is also a head-crushing song that delivers a unique headbanging experience. To finish this, the waaaaar daaaance took over, and “Indians” became the last piece of the set. Very solid.
It’s about time for the headliner to step in front of the crowd and give them what they paid for. LAMB OF GOD have been playing music for about 20 years and they have become icons of metal music. They have built themselves loyal fans, they’re capable of scheduling shows that maybe won’t sell out, but will find a way to accommodate huge crowds with wild people.
LAMB OF GOD is a band that I admire for all the history that the band represents and the standards they’ve set. “Desolation” was the opening track, one of my favorites from Resolution. “512” was next and it got the people going crazy. The band’s seventh release VII: Sturm Und Drang has been a huge success, and the band played four songs from that monstrous record, including “Still Echoes”. Other songs such as “Walk With Me in Hell” and “Ruin”, which are bonafide classics couldn’t be left out of the set. The night continued to be excellent.
There was one rare performance that I wasn’t expecting “The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion” from New American Gospel was one song that I had never heard live, and it was interesting to see the crowd reaction.
And speaking of crowd reactions, “Overlord” took me by surprise when it started. Released last fall, opinions were divided metal critics, metalheads and douchebags. The highlight of the night was the way most of the people sang along. I’m usually not a big fan of Randy’s clean vocals, but the song in particular caught me unguarded just before, during and after the angrier riffs took place. Very well done.
After this, different songs from different albums served the crowd: “The Faded Line”, “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For”, “Set to Fail”, “Blacken the Cursed Sun” and “Erase This”. I completely turned into an animal along with hundreds of people during the last three and a half. Randy, Chris, John, Mark and Willie had definitely made our night worth it, and the setlist closed perfectly with part 1 being “Vigil”.
“Laid to Rest” and “Redneck” are two of LAMB OF GOD’S bigger hits, and they only mean chaos or destruction. I still remember seeing the venue erupting during those two songs to end the night. Many people getting hurt with a happy face (their perks for going to a good show), others already drunk with their horns up, a bunch of others working their necks out while headbanging. Those seven-plus minutes were the best way to finish the night until somebody landed on my left knee…but that’s another story.
I’ll say this again: there’s a SLAYER, there’s a METALLICA, there’s a MEGADETH, there’s also a JUDAS PRIEST, and a MOTÖRHEAD, or any other huge band that you can think of. Those names are BIG the metal, and they mean sellouts, they’re part of history, they’re an influence to bands from the 90’s, and I believe that LAMB OF GOD is already gaining their place in such a list today.
Whether they decide to continue their career for many more decades, or just a couple of years, they’ve reached an elevated status, and they’ve proven that every single time. Great show, guys, everything you’ve achieved musically is well deserved. WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE
LIVE PHOTOS: GUZPIX