Lamb of God - The Palladium - 10/31/12
Lamb of God with In Flames, Hatebreed and Sylosis
Better than... a candy sack full of strychnine-soaked raisins wrapped in razor-blades.
Last night on Halloween, things got gory as Sylosis, Hatebreed and In Flames opened for Lamb of God at the Palladium. Eardrums were slashed, necks got sore and hundreds of kids created metallic mayhem. Their circle got so large that at one point there was an island of people trapped helplessly in the middle.
First up was British band Sylosis, a clean, tight, and epic-sounding thrash act with some decidedly old-school chops. Hatebreed then came up and did their Hatebreed thing. Sweden's In Flames, who were next, put out technically proficient, enthusiastic, throbby metal. When frontman Anders Fridén yelled out," Don't stop now, keep those bodies flying, people," one kid didn't stop headbanging for ten minutes...even when the band stopped playing. Fridén thanked us all from the bottom of his "cold Swedish heart." Aw.
The long break allowed for a bit of costume evaluation. Winner? Alien in a Suit from They Live! Holy shit. Well done, sir. Loser? Aladdin. Couldn't you have made it Zombie Aladdin or something? Aladdoom? Y'know, something a little more metal?
Speaking of which, the break also us gave us pause to consider a serious phenomenon among those fury-eyed non-hipsters we call metalheads. It's time we talked about what is and isn't "Metal as Fuck".
Like, when Lamb of God delayed their intro with total darkness, then began flashing projected images of exploding buildings and eventually took the stage to LBJ's 1964 Campaign-winning Daisy Girl / Nuclear Explosion ad while playing the blitzkrieging "Desolation"? Yes, friends, that was "Fucking metal as fuck," as correctly announced by two dudes near us.
But then, later, when one poor costumed gal was being loaded into an ambulance, strapped down into a head-stablizing stretcher? No, that was not, "woah, heavy metal as fuck, dude," as another couple of bro's pointed out. We do recognize that there's a lot of grey area on the Metal as Fuck Scale, but there should be boundaries.
So yeah, Lamb of God opened with some face-melting excitement, igniting fans into a wild-eyed conniption. Guitarists Willie Adler, in Kenny Powers garb, and Mark Morton, in Mark Morton garb, were masters of their dark craft -- equally balancing the throb and doom against fluttering riffs.
Randy Blythe did almost as much talking as he did singing. Which was fine. The group. after all, was performing their first show in L.A. following his Czech incarceration. "We had a slight delay in this tour...I had a brief stay in a nice gated community. But I'm glad to be back here in the land of the free and the home of the brave." A perfect segue into their pro-soldier "Now You Have Something to Die For" while pictures of US servicemen and women played onscreen.