It wasn’t that long ago a wave of nu-metal acts blanketed the airwaves. Bands such as Slipknot, Korn, Rob Zombie, System of a Down, Deftones, even Limp Bizkit. It was a fusion of metal, hip hop, techno, you name it. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t pure metal. It was around that time Lamb of God broke into the scene and reminded us what real heavy metal music is really about. Wednesday night they played to an energized Baltimore audience at Rams Head Live.
Lamb of God’s genre is often disputed. Some call it thrash metal or speed metal; I’ve even heard hardcore punk. To me, they sound similar to Pantera. Maybe a little more riff oriented and no offense to Mark Morton or Willie Adler without the accompaniment of one of the best guitar players of all time Dimebag Darrell (god rest his soul). Lamb of God is definitely heavy metal; good old fashion American grit. There’s no need to throw around all these sub-genres.
As I approached Rams Head Live, I was immediately re-directed by some security guard who told me I had to walk around the back of the building one block over. Apparently that area was rented out to what looked like a bunch of college punks in bright colored t-shirts playing corn hole. They can stick it in their corn hole! What’s wrong with these people don’t they know there’s a Lamb of God concert about to take place and they want to block off the entrance! It wasn’t a major inconvenience just a little annoying.
I walked around to the back entrance and there was a long line of people entering and leaving the building. It was a collage of studded leather wrist bands, tattered jeans and graphic cut-off t-shirts. I assumed the people leaving were going outside to smoke. I got my hand stamped and entered the club. They were signs on the doors reading absolutely no mosh pits or crowd surfing. I laughed; yeah right! This is a Lamb of God concert; try enforcing that! The first thing I noticed upon entering was thankfully, there were a lot of women in attendance. You never know, I’ve attended an STP concert that was a total sausage fest.
The first act I caught was Decapitated from Poland. I know this because the lead singer, Rafał Piotrowski, made a point to let us know every other song “we are Decapitated from Poland”. They sounded great! Really great! Their bass hit so hard it made the rubber on the bottom of my shoes feel like it was sticking to the concrete floor. I actually checked to make sure I wasn’t standing in a puddle of beer. Nope; it was the bass! They played with an abundance of energy. Rafał actually head banged so hard his super long dreadlocks smacked me right in the forehead. It was cool, like I received a blessing from the heavy metal gods. Prior to tonight, I was unfamiliar with this act but they’re definitely worth a listen.
Navigating around the club in front of the stage was nearly impossible, the place was packed. Up against the staircase, a narrow pathway started forming going in one direction. I took it before realizing there was no turning back; I actually had to exit the club and re-enter just to get to the side stage.
Large LED screens flashed cartoons of old school movie theater intermission clips prompting us how long until Lamb of God was set to perform. With every update, the crowd got more and more ruckus. Some fans in the front row were hoisting a confederate flag waving it profusely. A booming hum filled the air, there was a screeching grind and Lamb of God exploded onto the scene. Guitar riffs cascaded and Randy Blythe paraded around stage clutching his mic screaming. For Mark Morton, Willie Adler and John Campbell; they were like metronomes of perpetual head banging. I don’t know how they can play such intricate riffs while doing that. Simultaneously the mosh pit broke into frenzy and crowd surfers popped up and started raining over the barricade like a tsunami. There was even a crowd surfer in a wheelchair. For me it was duck, dodge, snap; repeat. I’ve had a crowd surfer fall on me before whilst taking pictures. Lamb of God sounded awesome! The kind of performance that just fills you with adrenaline and makes you want to stomp and dance around like Ray Lewis. It was good from start to finish and a blast to attend.