This is a review of the Lamb of God, In Flames, Hellyeah and Sylosis show that took place on December 16th, 2012 at the Showbox SODO. It was the final stop on the tour and the tired, road weary bands, summoned up the last of their reserves and gave Seattle all they had left. Below is a review of each set.
Lamb of God
To be truthful, the set started out pretty rough. The music was big and loud, but sloppy. The first two songs lacked clarity and focus, with both guitars and vocals, pushing the songs into the ‘generic metal song’ sound. Lead singer, Randy Blythe’s, untamed and unfocused energy hindered the delivery of his lyrics, making me feel the night was going to end on a low note. But as the show progressed, the musical precision that makes this band America’s Kings of Metal began to shine through. Ironically, it was the slower, thicker, groove-ridden songs that put them back on track. Songs Walk With Me In Hell and Ruin were the shows turning point. From this point on, the band seemed focused and grounded, the show was on track and picking up momentum. By the time the band moved onto Undertow (the most engaging song on the new album), the show had heated up and was powering away on 12 thundering, heavy metal cylinders.
From here, the performance was sharp and engaging, delivered with relative punch and confidence. You could tell this was the last show of the tour. They were certainly giving all they had left, of that I have no doubt, but the weariness of the road seemed to cling to them. Good? Certainly. Very Good? Yes. Great? Not quite. But that’s OK. Every show isn’t going to be the best one you’ve ever had. And this was a pretty damn fine performance for a band on the last night of the grind.
The band’s salute to United States Armed Forces could have come off tired and trite, but the use of pictures from actual armed forces personnel –and Lamb of God fans– displayed on the stage screens while performing the song Now You’ve Got Something to Die For made the act seem respectable and genuine.
The highlight of the show was, of course, the ending with Black Label. As I stated in my preview, “If the song â€˜Black Labelâ€˜ doesn’t make you want to commit some (eventually regrettable) act of violence, then I’m pretty sure you’ve never actually listened to it.” Well, it’s still true. Once the song started I stopped being a writer or person of logic. I was consumed by the desire to move, to act, to release. And yes, to break shit. Luckily, I came to my sense before getting tossed out of the show. See, who says I can’t grow and mature.
And it was a good thing I managed not to get tossed out. Otherwise I’d have missed the band’s road crew taking over the instruments to finish the song. All in all, Lamb of God put on a pretty damn impressive show. They aren’t the American Metal Kings that Pantera was, but realistically, no one was going to touch that.
What can I say about this band I didn’t say when I saw them back in February (click here)? First, they were just as good at this show as they were then. In fact, they were even better. The songs were delivering with their trademarked skill, accuracy and confidence. But it was the improvement in the band’s sound crew that made this performance shine. An odd statement, sure. But the sound crew’s failure to deliver in February was almost the bands downfall. This time around the levels were much better, allowing the band to fulfill their role as elite, road warrior pros.
What Sylosis lacked in energy, Hellyeah made up for in spades. They came out roaring and injected the crowd with instant energy. This southern-flavored, anthem-filled ‘Party Metal’ was a great tour choice for Lamb of God. The bands rock & roll party attitude was a perfect choice of transition from the more cerebral work of Sylosis into the rest of the show.
I have to hand it to singer, Chad Gray. I may not be much of a Mudvayne fan, but he showed vocal range and the stage savvy of a good frontman. He did a good job of interacting with the crowd, weaving his audience banter into slick transitions from song to song.
They were loud, and they were fun. In short, they were exactly as advertised. If not even a little better than expected.
This band writes and performs intelligently designed, well thought out metal music. We didn’t get a whole lot of it, (only 5 songs to the set I believe) but they delivered those songs with what I can describe only as “perfect metal tempo.” Their understanding of song composition is incredible. With the proper use of hook, riff and groove, they achieve a wonderful and intricate depth to their music.
All that said, they lacked the proper energy and stage presence needed to charge up the crowd. Nevertheless, I’m expecting big things from them in the future.