During the pre-show interview, Randy Blythe told SiriusXM metal ambassador Jose Mangin that Lamb Of God has never done shows highlighting entire albums. Even their debut, he admitted, couple possibly have been played in full on those early shows, but not in sequence. It’s taken a global pandemic and a re-thinking of how to bring “live” music to their fans to motivate Lamb of God to do some album-specific performances. Last weekend’s most recent release being the first, and next Friday’s performance of Ashes Of The Wake for their second. For $15 per show, Lamb of God made the best of the pandemic situation and took to the isolated stage at 5 PM EST to perform live together as a band for the first time in months. Some unique merchandise made available for ticket-holders only could be purchased on the streaming portal as well.
The live stream came complete with an opening performance by Scottish metallers Bleed From Within, along with pre-performance interviews with BFW lead vocalist Scott Kennedy and LOG lead vocalist Randy Blythe. The Bleed From Within set featured numerous songs from the band’s latest release, Fracture (Century Media)—read our album review here. The five band members performed on risers all positioned in a diamond shape surrounding four floor-level flame throwers. This set-up allowed the band to see each other as they played and bathe face-forward into the center pyro’s heat as it went off.
Lamb Of God performed their set in a traditional fashion, facing forwards into an imaginary audience. Blythe was a bit more subdued than he’d usually be in front of a live audience but no less ferocious. Everyone was in top form tonight. John Campbell, Mark Morton, and Willie Adler are veteran LOG performers, now pushing 20-25 years together. They are at the top of their game. Art Cruz has recently replaced Chris Adler on the drum kit – tonight (for me) was all about seeing what Cruz could do as a Lamb of God member. Cruz drummed the new album’s entirety and was more than comfortable on the run-through of the new material (as he should be). Hearing him behind tracks like “Contactor” and “512” quickly put to bed any trepidations I might have had about his being able to pick up where Chris left off – he’s a killer drummer and pulled the show off perfectly.
This evening was my first exposure to Bleed From Within. It was also my first exposure to any of the songs from the new Lamb Of God album (read our album review here). I hadn’t even heard the new Bill & Ted song (which the band closed their set with) until watching this show. On reflection, this wound up being an ideal way to experience this streaming event, with unbiased, fresh ears, and minimal expectations.
Sure, I missed being in the crowd, getting sweaty with a bunch of like-minded metal fans. I’m betting everyone watching the stream felt the same way. Lamb of God certainly would have preferred a live audience as well. Some familiar crowd-pleasing moments (like Randy draping his arm over Willie’s shoulders and screaming into a mic over his shoulder) were missing this evening, but those moments will back when the timing is right. As socially distant metal shows go, this one was a good time. Plug: Next week’s Ashes Of The Wake performance is still available for purchase online.