As the Academy Burns – Lamb of God Lay Brixton to Rest
Few bands have had a more troubled recent history than Richmond Virginia’s Lamb of God. The well-publicised arrest and trial of frontman Randy Blythe regarding the death of a fan at one of their shows shook their world and many were unsure if they could come back from the brink. However, with Randy acquitted of all charges, the metal-masters have been back in business since last year and it’s a pleasure to have them back so soon after their visceral headline performance at Bloodstock 2013.
Huntress / Decapitated / Lamb of God @ Brixton Academy – 18.01.14Due to scheduling issues, we unfortunately miss Huntress tonight but here’s hoping the Californians made the most of what looks to be a rabid audience as soon as we walk in to the Academy. Any disappointment (and probably any memory of the previous band from those that saw them) is soon eradicated by the time the ferocious Decapitated take to the stage and play their first note. The Polish technical death metallers sound phenomenal in the grand surroundings of the Academy, an unstoppable force that barely comes up for air during their set which is over all too soon. This band has had a troubled past, but they don’t let that get in the way of a first class, precision performance laced with intense, blisteringly fast death metal. After this fine display, we can’t wait to hear the new album when it’s released later this year. And now, in a PACKED Brixton Academy, it’s Lamb of God’s turn. Like a catapult filled with anvils stretched to breaking point, the band explodes on to the stage with the stomping metal of ‘Desolation’. It’s fucking awesome to see Randy back on a stage and there isn’t one second tonight where he doesn’t look like a man possessed, giving all his energy to the baying crowd. Two tracks in and we’re up to our eyeballs in riffs as the mighty ‘Ghost Walking’ from LoG’s latest album ‘Resolution’ flies out of the speakers. It’s around now we’re introduced to the replacement for absent guitarist Mark Morton (at home due to family issues, “and family comes first with this band”, explains Randy), Paul Waggoner of the excellent Between the Buried and Me. A fine replacement, especially as now everyone on stage aside from Randy looks like a full-blown wizard. What we get from here on out is pretty much a greatest hits set, possibly due to Waggoner’s limited LoG knowledge, but hell, it’s Lamb of God. You want to headbang to ‘Walk With Me in Hell’, you want to circle pit to ‘Set To Fail’, you
need to sing the part in ‘Now You’ve Got Something to Die For’ and tonight, you get it all. The speech at the start of ‘Omerta’ gets aired before the beatdown punishes the crowd, we get the ridiculous drum fill from Chris Adler in ‘Ruin’ that baffles everybody every time and ‘In Your Words’ crushes everything in it’s path before the band leave the stage for the first time this evening. It’s Lamb of God by numbers, but it’s immense in its power. A rousing encore of ‘Laid To Rest’, ‘Redneck’ and the epic ‘Black Label’ is a fitting reminder that Lamb of God are still the biggest, true modern heavy metal act around. This is solidified earlier in the evening with tracks from ‘Resolution’ standing tall against the classics and no doubt the band has plenty more where that came from in the future. 8/10