Over the years as an avid concert goer I’ve seen so many bands and shows. My very first concert was in 1989. I was almost 5 years old when I went to that show (my birthday was only a couple weeks after I attended the show) and from that point I was hooked. 30 plus years later and I’ve seen some of the best bands in the world put on some of the best shows I’ve ever seen. One day I will actually sit down and try to put together a list of my absolute top ten shows I’ve ever been to. Through the years as my tastes have changed, I’ve not gone to see certain bands for many different reasons. Most of the time it’s because I don’t really like all the bands on the bill and don’t want to sit through things I won’t enjoy. I’ve already done and sat through enough opening bands in my life. During the whole world shut down, I started to go back and listen to a few bands that I haven’t listened to in a while and things started to shift for me. One of the bands I went back to was Lamb Of God. It was right around the time that they released their self titled album that I went back and delved into their catalog again. By doing so it revitalized me into a fan again. I’ll admit they had lost me a bit for a couple albums. Anyways, their self titled brought me back into the fold but, when I heard the first few songs released off their latest album, I knew what I had to do and that was go see Lamb Of God live again for the first time since 2008.
Lamb Of God are without a doubt one of the best live bands around today. Their most recent tour and stop in Los Angeles proved that. Riding high on the release of their savage and wicked album, Omens, Lamb Of God delivered one hell of a show. When the black curtain rose to cover the stage with just the band name on it and the beginning of “Memento Mori” starting, the excitement from everyone in the venue hit a level of anticipation that was about to explode, and as soon as that curtain dropped and the song kicked in, IT WAS ON! “Walk With Me In Hell” followed by “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For” absolutely kicked the audience into high gear. What a way to start the show. Through the course of the night, new songs like “Nevermore” and “Omens” were stunning to hear and live they are a whole other beast. The older songs played like “11th Hour,” “Vigil,” and “Ruin” were played with such precision and intensity that you’d think they were new songs. Other classics like “Laid To Rest” and “Omerta” were more than welcomed by the audience who seemed to get louder with each song that was played. Through the 80 minutes that Lamb Of God was on stage, they not only put it all out there, there was a definitely a renewed sense of being. The addition of Art Cruz on drums is the spark that they needed. His energy is contagious and it was found in each and every member of the band. As I mentioned before, it had been a while since I had seen Lamb live, and I’m sure glad I came back to it. Randy Blythe is one of the best frontmen. The way he takes over a crowd and has them in the palm of his hand is uncanny. His vocals have gotten better and better! Mark Morton and Willie Adler are one of the best guitar duos in the game. Both have their own style and together it makes for something quite intriguing. John Campbell is an underrated gem. His thunderous tone matches with the hard hitting and super energetic playing of Art Cruz. The five of them together have found their groove and I can’t wait for what they do next.
Joining Lamb Of God on this tour was Killswitch Engage. It’s been about ten years since I’ve seen them live and they were just as good as the last time. One of the best things about Killswitch live is that they always seem to have a good time and that filters out to the audience as well. Their set list was full of sing along songs that had the crowd singing louder than the band at times. Especially with “The End Of Heartache,” “My Curse,” “Rose Of Sharyn,” and “In Due Time.” I did hope for some more songs off of Alive Or Just Breathing but, that’s ok. We did get Howard Jones to come out at the end to join the band for “The Signal Fire” off of the bands most recent album, Atonement. Killswitch was a great band to have before Lamb destroyed.
This tour with both Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage was a really fun throwback to when they both started to come up in the early 2000’s. I remember seeing both bands back in 2003/2004 and was totally into it. Now here we are quite a few years later and both bands are still alive and kicking ass. I’m interested to hear what Killswitch does next. I’d love to hear them branch out a bit and explore some new ideas. Lamb Of God’s new album, Omens, is their best in years. It feels like a new band again. Plus I have to say it again, Art Cruz brought new life into this band that was in need of it. I would gladly go see Lamb Of God again.
01) Memento Mori 02) Walk With Me In Hell 03) Now You’ve Got Something To Die For 04) Resurrection Man 05) Nevermore 06) Ruin 07) 11th Hour 08) Omerta 09) Omens 10) Contractor 11) 512 12) Ghost Walking 13) Vigil 14) Laid To Rest 15) Redneck
Killswitch Engage Set List:
01) Strength Of The Mind 02) This Is Absolution 03) Rose Of Sharyn 04) To The Sons Of Man 05) Unleashed 06) The Crownless King 07) Hate By Design 08) Know Your Enemy 09) My Curse 10) This Fire 11) The End Of Heartache 12) In Due Time 13) Holy Diver (Dio Cover) 14) The Signal Fire (with Howard Jones)
Lamb Of God are one of those bands that when you hear them, you know it’s them. There is such a distinctive sound to them that it is quite recognizable. Throughout their career they’ve found what works for them and doesn’t. Their 2020 self titled album saw a member change and the resulting album while good was a very safe introduction to Art Cruz becoming a full time member. Now, in 2022, Lamb Of God has thrown that safeguard away and taken steps to make an album that is urgent and representative of where the band is headed. Now, I’m not saying Lamb reinvented the wheel, this is still Lamb doing Lamb but, this time, it’s different and it feels fresh and evolving.
Omens was recorded live as a band (you know the way records used to be made) and that vibe is felt through all 10 songs and 41 minutes of this pure, unapologetic and vicious album. This album definitely feels like it’s the record that they wanted to make but also had to make. The varying styles and influences heard on Omens stretches further than they have gone before. It’s more impactful and immediate than previous albums. There is a sense that everyone in the band has a say in these songs and that energy radiates through the entire album.
There are plenty of songs on Omens worth mentioning so, I will pick a few of my favorites to entice you a bit. Kicking off the album is “Nevermore” a song that is the epitome of what a Lamb Of God song is. It has everything a fan of this band loves and then some. “Vanishing” is one of those songs that shows a bit of the bands evolution sonically as the tones on this track are ripping. Not to mention that Randy’s vocals on this are damn near punishing. Track number 4 “Ditch” is my favorite on the album (as of this writing). This song is a banger through and through. It’s got this huge anthemic feel to the way the vocals are, then you add in the music which grooves but also decimates as it goes. I have a feeling that if/when this song is added to the bands set list in the future, the pits will erupt. “Gommorah” is epic and heavy. Personally, I’d have loved to hear this one go on a little longer as it shows more of the band evolving and getting more intricate in how they craft a song. This is another that needs to be added to the set list. “Grayscale” is a straight up barn burner. It’s got a total punk rock vibe to it while still being a classic Lamb song. Ending the album is “September Song” a track that is possibly one of the best the band has ever written. It’s song that is the perfect culmination of what Omens is all about. I love the dynamic shifts on this song.
Omens is Lamb Of God spreading their wings a bit more and in a very welcome way. There are always going to be the songs on the album that hark back to the “classic” sound but, now there is a better feel to the band. Art Cruz is finally able to show why he was picked to replace Chris Adler. His energy is found constantly on these songs and it’s very welcomed. Randy Blythe has not just grown as a vocalist, his screams sound great and his lyrics have reached new heights of being introspective whether personal or taking on topical subject matter. John Campbell continues to be a thunderous secret weapon of the band. His tone and style really ties it all together. Mark Morton and Willie Adler continue to be one of the best guitar duos in rock/metal. Mark seems to be even more motivated than ever to push himself to add different flairs to the songs making them memorable and crushing. All in all, Omens is a record new and old Lamb Of God fans will enjoy. The future is bright for Lamb as they continue to be torch bearers for the metal community.
Lamb Of God have been at this for over two decades now and have solidified their place in the heavy music community. Throughout their time, they’ve released two albums that have become classics in the metal world (As The Palaces Burn and Ashes Of The Wake). Now, in 2020, Lamb Of God have released a new album with a renewed sense of energy that hasn’t been heard from them in a long while. That’s not to say that this sounds like a different band, it’s still Lamb through and through. Longtime drummer Chris Adler is no longer in the fold and has been replaced with the very accomplished Art Cruz (formerly of Winds Of Plague and Prong).
This album definitely seems to pick up where their previous one, VII Sturm Und Drang left off. There’s plenty of intricate parts, thrashy elements and metal to go around as well as a new groove that seems to have energized all the members to pick it up a bit more. Album opener “Memento Mori” has some very cool vibes that show that this is more than just a run of the mill song. The clean vocals from Randy Blythe actually fit in really well on this track. “Checkmate” lyrically is hard charging but, musically it does sound a bit familiar. “Gears” offers a bit more of that new groove I mentioned. I have a feeling this song live would be crowd favorite. My favorite song on the new album is “Reality Bath.” This one shows off a lot of diversity in what this band can do. The arrangement on this song along with “that groove” makes this one a stand out. “New Colossal Hate” is straight up Lamb Of God. This song needs to be added to their set list. It definitely has a bit of an Ashes vibe to it as well. “Resurrection Man” is a pretty fun song in that it has a bit of a Pantera-ish vibe mixed with a bit a sort of prog element too. This would be an interesting one to hear live. “Poison Dream” features Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta. This song is another very Lamb sounding song. Jamey’s vocals do tend to get lost in the shuffle on this track. It would have been cooler if there was a badass breakdown and he was unleashed. “Routes” is a very introspective song lyrically about Randy’s time spent protesting at the Dakota Access Pipeline. Testament’s Chuck Billy guests on this track in a passionate way. “Bloodshot Eyes” is a song that musically could have fit very easily on guitarist Mark Morton’s solo album. The inclusion of mostly clean vocals on this one is sure to separate some fans but, it’s definitely a welcome change. “Off The Hook” closes out the album and this one is pretty hard charging.
This album is Lamb Of God doing what they do. It’s not reinventing the wheel. It does have a bit of a different vibe since Chris Adler is no longer involved but, it was needed change. Art Cruz, like I mentioned before, has brought a new energy and groove to the band. That groove he learned from playing in Prong, definitely shows through. Mark Morton and Willie Adler have really become quite the guitar duo over the years and on this album it really comes to light a bit more. John Campbell is a seriously underrated bass player. His style along with Art’s are super in sync and it allows for the right amount of breath to be let out on these songs. Randy Blythe’s vocals have really taken shape in interesting ways. He’s still ferocious and gritty but, being able to expand upon the dynamics of the songs with clean parts give these songs something more than just a run of the mill vibe. Overall, this album is solid and a great place to start anew. I can definitely see a few of these songs becoming live staples for a good amount of time. Also, I can really see Art Cruz finding his own place in this band and helping to push the boundaries of what this band can do.
The second annual Audioeclectica Awards are here. The first category is guitar duos. Here are the requirements to be in this category. Must have released an album/EP this year. Must be 2 guitar players in the band. And it doesn’t matter if the band is signed or not! With that in mind here are the nominees! Vote in the comments!!
Mark Morton and Willie Adler- Lamb Of God
Pete Adams and John Baizley- Baroness
Clint Lowery and John Connelly- Sevendust
Michael Grgas and Dave Ruiz- Hidden Amongst Us
Phil Golyshko and Bill Collins- Sidewave