Lamb Of God

support Chimaira + Unearth
author PP date 28/06/07 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

I find it impressive and an extremely good sign for heavy music in Denmark that Lamb Of God is able to sell out a 600-capacity venue days in advance of their gig, even if a large part of it had to do with their decision to enlist much hyped Chimaira and metalcore pioneers Unearth as support acts tonight. I could understand Loppen or Stengade 30 selling out, but Pumpehuset's 600 is an impressive achievement from a brutal technical metal band. Consequently I was feeling more than just a little lonesome outside in the queue in the midst of long-haired metalheads dressed all-in-black, but what the heck, looking normal is a goddamn fashion statement at a show like this one.

I still fail to understand why Pumpehuset advertises shows to start 30 minutes later than the first band actually takes on stage. Lucky for me, I had interviewed Unearth earlier and in the process caught a glimpse at the schedule, which for some reason had Unearth scheduled to start their set at 20:30 already. So as people were flooding in, the band started their set to a half-empty hall, but by the end of their set it had filled up enough to warrant describing it as a 'crowd' instead of a sparse collection of metalheads. Luckily for them, enough people were able to cram themselves into the hall before the end of their set, because they played some of the most vivid and entertaining metal I've seen in a while from a band in their genre. The band kept closely together, keeping their set tight, and used simultaneous headbangs, jumps and precise solos to keep the crowd stunned over their raw performance. Trevor's harsh voice was a tad bit too much at the forefront together with the high bass volume, but it was quickly improved and the technical guitars of songs like "Sanctity Of Brothers" and "Giles" were clearly audible after the distorted beginning. As a contrasting point to Trevor's menacing performance, guitarist Ken was just as goofy as in his interview with us, occasionally licking some amps, doing push ups on stage (to the amusement of the rest of the band) and continuously joking around showing a rather unserious side to Unearth's otherwise balls-of-steel metallic songs. This was welcomed by the crowd, and made Unearth seem more relevant and interesting than most bands in this genre. Good show.

7

Chimaira on the other hand, had a brilliant start. From second one of their first song, the now almost full Pumpehuset transformed into a wallowing sea of fists and headbangs while their more polished and solid sound echoed around the venue with vocalist Mark Hunter's heftily deep voice at the forefront. I don't mean to blame him for not moving around much because his vocal style is quite demanding, but to confine yourself to a 2x2 box on the stage without taking as much as a small hop during the show is in my opinion showing a lack of control over his voice, and highlighting what he misses as a vocalist rather than fortifying his powerful vocals as no doubt was his attempt. It's just not cool to watch someone grasp onto the microphone an scream for 40 or so minutes while the rest of the band isn't moving either, because it hardly differs from the experience on the record. The small glitches and vocal mistakes that result from moving around are a large part of a concert experience, and result in a much more characteristic show than what we saw tonight. Their set was saved by some absolutely massive singalongs in "Resurrection" and in some of the older songs, which I had no chance of recognizing considering I've never heard them before. But the new songs from "Resurrection" were impressive, and as long as the band re-structures their live appearance in the near future, they too will play in much bigger venues than this.

5

Lamb of God entered the stage fashionably five minutes late to the schedule, which basically meant that should they decide to use their full 80 minutes on tonight's schedule, I would seriously have to contemplate about leaving before their final song "Redneck", which would of course suck some serious ass. As the roadies unveiled the massive banner that was almost entirely hidden behind the amps and light set up, it became clear how much major-label money has been poured into this American-Metal act to make them as colossal as they are overseas, because that banner would've felt too big even at the Brixton Academy. Speaking about colossal things, have a look through the picture gallery to just drool over the size of those stupendously big amps that were unveiled after the banner, which by the looks of them could probably kill you on sight. That wasn't too far from the truth either, because Lamb of God was loud, and when I said loud I meant really loud. So loud that even with my professional ear plugs I had to keep pushing them in deeper as the decibel level was approaching limits that would force Pumpehuset to close its doors permanently because of the number of lawsuits on the way from young kids who are now almost certainly deaf. But then again, the sound was incredibly solid and ever more powerful than that of Unearth's, and it crushed you underneath its foot as if you were a little nut underneath a giant cyclope, and as a result vocalist Randy Blythe sounded even more brutal than he does on record for such a slim young individual. Contrary to the Chimaira vocalist, Blythe had seemingly no difficulty in holding his voice at full power while aggressively stomping around the stage in an energetic performance. But I guess some people are just better than others.

As the band crushed through favorites "As Palaces Burn", "11th Hour", "Ashes Of The Wake", "Laid To Rest" and "Again We Rise", the crowd went through phases of absolute mentality and periods of stillwater. At times the only thing visible from around middle of the venue would be hundreds and hundreds of horns and fists - particularly doing the part where Blythe praised Christiania and told people never to give up their free city - while there were moments were only the loyalest of fans were moving around, such as when the band played an extremely old song from the era when they were still called Burn The Priest. The song, whose name I cannot remember at the time being, put their artistic development in an amazing highlight, as it was easy to trace their evolution from a noisecore act into the technical metal powerhouse that they are today. "Laid To Rest" received an especially big sing/scream-along fest, probably because it is one of the more difficult songs featured on Guitar Hero 2, and thus a favorite for some of the more mainstream fans present at the vene tonight. As the clock was approaching midnight, the band showed no signs of stopping and I had to begin my move towards the back of the venue, covered in sweat most likely not originating from my own body, and glad to have attended a show that was pretty solid overall. There weren't any phenomenal performances tonight, but two solid ones and one promising one with plenty of room for improvement.

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