Lamb of God | Hatebreed | In Flames | Sylosis The Pageant November 7, 2012
Before I start trashing one of the most popular metal bands on the planet, let me offer my credentials: In 1989, I saw Sepultura at the Bridgeton Soccer club at just nine years old. I got in trouble for spray painting the Slayer logo on the side of someone's house at ten. I met Danzig when I was eleven. I've been playing in metal bands just about as long as I have had my own dick.
I was first introduced to Lamb of God in the fall of 2003 when I decided to check out MTV's Headbanger's Ball tour. Unearth opened the show, and while I enjoyed some of the Iron Maiden inspired riffing, I was mostly bored. Killswitch Engage played second and it sounded pretty much just like the last band, minus the interesting guitar leads.
Shadows Fall was up next and I don't think I'd of even been able to tell it was a different band if they didn't switch out the super big black guy singer for the super long dreadlock guy singer.
When I was told the headliner was named Lamb of God, I got excited. Surely, this was a death-metal band that was about to steal the show. But boy did they save the exact same fucking thing for last. Little did I know this style (or lack of) would soon become known as the "second wave of American heavy metal."
Subtract what you think makes any of your favorite metal bands special and you have the bands of this second wave. Tell King Diamond to stop singing so high. Tell Slipknot to lose the ridiculous masks and chill out with the grooves. Tell High on Fire to stop smoking so much weed and fantasizing about war-vikings. Tell Phil Anselmo to start making some goddamn sense when he talks.
Given singer Randy Blythe's recent Prague imprisonment nonsense, along with how relieved and excited fans are that he has been freed, I realize that this is not the easiest time to give the band an unfavorable review. Judging by the few interviews I've ever seen with the members of Lamb of God, they are most likely pretty nice guys. This review has nothing to do with them as people. I wouldn't wish imprisonment abroad with no bail on Fred Durst himself (well shit, maybe I would. This is about the music.
I admit my explanation that my argument against it -- "I just think its boring" -- is about as strong as the counter-argument: "dude it fucking kicks ass". It is metal. I won't argue that. But that's all it is. It isn't death-metal, stoner-metal, sex-metal or lunch-metal... it is just metal. It never reaches too far in any one direction. It just lingers, secure and comfortable, in the safety of just being... metal.
A look at the t-shirts being displayed on store walls and teenagers' chests at any shopping plaza that is actually still open also tells me that if "mall-metal" is a real thing, Lamb of God is the Jay and Silent Bob of the genre.
All that said, I entered this show with as open a mind as possible. Why go anywhere with the intention of having a bad time? I've seen Hatebreed before and enjoyed it, I was excited about In Flames and it had been nearly ten years since I'd seen Lamb of God. A lot of growth can take place in ten years.