Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lamb of God and Metallica

I was lucky enough to go see Lamb of God and Metallica last week, courtesy of my awesome nephew & godson Patrick, who insisted on buying me a ticket as a birthday gift. Never go against the family! Five of us squeezed into my little Saturn, and off we went to Fort Lauderdale for a slice of heavy metal bliss. A few photo links from the event: the crowd waiting in line to get in; Lamb of God; the obligatory cammo-loving, tee-pee-dragging cracker-ass cracker shot; Metallica's laser show; Metallica performing; Metallica saying their goodbyes.

Lamb of God performed a slew of old favourites and a few songs from their outstanding new album, "Wrath." Unfortunately, they had horrible sound issues, so that the only thing that could be heard clearly were the drums, and even that was intermittent. As a result, their set, which should have whipped the crowd into a seething frenzy, seemed oddly subdued and left us all pretty unsatisfied. If you hadn't heard Lamb of God prior to this performance, you'd have been wondering why they weren't named Lamb of Valium. The phenomenal breakdown that takes place halfway through "Ruin"? Inaudible. The inhuman, braying screams at the end of every chorus of "Laid to Rest"? Inaudible. The relentless double bass pedal insanity of "Black Label"? Inaudible. I recorded a videoclip of "Walk with me in Hell" -- yet another phenomenal, driving song, reduced to garbled static and rhythmic pounding by the crappy sound set-up:

Metallica more than made up for the disappointment of Lamb of God by playing two and a half hours of solid metal. It's good to see Metallica finally remembering that they're a heavy metal band, and not some Top 40 radio-oriented shite band. I always felt that the Black Album was a seminal turning point for the band. It was a terrific effort, but it garnered Metallica enormous mainstream success, leading to a proverbial fork in the road: would the band get drunk on the success and keep trying for it, or would they continue to produce high-quality music, and if the success followed, so be it? Load, Reload, the Metallicats, St. Anger, and whatever other garbage they put out following the Black Album is, in my humble opinion, a product of Metallica loving their mainstream acceptability and catering to it. Luckily, they took an extended break and came to their senses. Their new album, Death Magnetic, is outstanding, and is the rightful evolutionary heir to And Justice for All and the Black Album. I think Metallica themselves admit this, because their set consisted of seven songs from Death Magnetic (they are, after all, trying to promote this new album), two from Kill'Em All, one from Ride the Lightning, two from Master of Puppets (including an all-time underrated jewel, "Damage, Inc."), two from And Justice for All, three from the Black Album, and just one from the aforementioned garbage albums. It's great to have "good" Metallica back! I was lucky enough to shoot a videoclip of one of my all-time fave Metallica songs:

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