Photos by Robert McDonald
Heavy metal fans from near and far descended on MGM Music Hall at Fenway in Boston on Wednesday night to see and hear Lamb of God bring their brand of thrash metal to the city. Lamb of God kicked off their fall tour featuring Killswitch Engage and a rotating cast of notable opening acts on September 9th in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to Massachusetts-based band, Killswitch Engage, Baroness and Suicide Silence provided the opening acts for this evening.
The first band to kick the night off was Suicide Silence. Formed in 2002 in Riverside, CA, this deathcore band came out of the gates playing “Unanswered” which got the headbaning started. The band played a blazing 7 song set of music composed of varied speed changes and complex time signatures and vocals that ranged from death growls to high-pitched screamed vocals. It was my first time seeing this band live and I would recommend them to any metal fan.
Next on the stage was Baroness, a four piece band originally from Savannah, Georgia. Their sound is very melodic and includes powerful riffs. Lead singer, John Baizley, who also plays rhythm guitar drives the songs with harsh and abrasive vocals. Gina Gleason, lead guitarist, has really come into her own since I last saw her at the Impact Music Festival in 2018 shortly after she had just joined the band. She is a powerful guitarist and has become more active, elevating her stage presence as she looks more comfortable with the band and the music. Baroness performed a blazing 6-song set that seemed too short and left the crowd wanting more.
You could feel that anticipation in the building as the stage crew set up for Killswitch Engage. They are a local metalcore band from Westfield, MA known for their fast-paced guitar riffs, intense vocals and playful antics of lead guitarist, Adam Dutkiewicz. They opened their set with “Strength of the Mind”, a song off their 7th album, Incarnate, which kicked off the endless stream of crowd surfers that continued through the rest of the night. Tonight’s set list included fan favorites “This is Absolution”, “Rose of Sharyn” and “Unleashed”, but the crowd really picked up the energy when the band played their signature cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver”. If that wasn’t enough, lead singer, Jesse Leach, brought former lead singer, Howard Jones, on stage to help close their night with a fiery performance of “The Signal Fire”.
After a 30 minute break, Lamb of God took the stage behind a black curtain. They begin their set with “Momento Mori” which starts out slowly with the silhouette of front man, Randy Blythe, projected onto the curtain, but quickly accelerates with an explosion as the curtain drops and the band explodes into their signature growling vocals and fiery intensity. Their hour and twenty minute set was a mix of pyrotechnics, fog cannons, crowd surfers, circle pits, and unrelenting songs interrupted by brief pauses to give the band and the crowd time to catch their breath. 51 year old, Randy Blythe, never stays put, alternating from full sprints to either side of the stage to literally launching himself high into the air from the drum platform with sandwiched moments in between on his platform center stage whipping his head around in circles turning his locks into a violent tornado.
Midway through their set Blyth asked the audience to show their appreciation for the opening band, specifically calling out Killswitch Engage as an important band they came up with. Their set list included two new songs “Omens” and “Nevermore” from their upcoming (Oct. 7th) album, Omens. as well as fan favorite “512”, which Blythe introduced as a song about an “unexpected European vacation he took a while ago, but wouldn’t recommend”, referring to his imprisonment on a manslaughter charge stemming from a 2010 concert in Prague.
All in all the night was a great experience and I would highly recommend it, but by the end of the night, I found myself wondering how Lamb of God kept up that level of energy through their 15 song set because I was exhausted, parched and longing for some evening air to cool me off. If you are into hardcore metal and haven’t been to a Lamb of God performance, you need to buy tickets and catch them in a city near you!