Lamb of God stopped by a sold-out 9:30 Club on Saturday for one last cozy gig before hitting the road for a two-year global tour. The Richmond-based quintet gave 90 minutes of insight into what the world is in for.
Plainly, it ain’t easy finding metal this heavy outside of a uranium mine. The song titles are menacing in a way you’d expect from a band originally called Burn the Priest — the set list on this night included “Walk With Me in Hell,” “Blacken the Cursed Sun” and “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For.” The arrangements are equally foreboding, with Fairfax product and bassist John Campbell’s fingers fretting to keep up with Chris Adler’s incredible kick drumming — whenever LoG goes on a speed-metal run, Adler’s feet seem as fleet as Usain Bolt’s. Melody remains something akin to Kryptonite in the Lamb’s oeuvre, but on the slightly poppier tunes from the band’s sixth and latest CD, “Resolution” (including “The Undertow” and “The Number Six”), Adler showed he can also work a snare drum at any pace necessary.
Beneath it all, vocalist Randy Blythe spewed dark lyrics with a roar that harkened Beelzebub more than Pavarotti. When he wasn’t on the mic, Blythe rhythmically whipped his dreadlocks in circles. Well aware of his environment, Blythe predicted imminent success for the Washington Redskins and dedicated the manic “Contractor” to local speed-metal pioneers Bad Brains, which he called “the best” of the D.C. bands. And during that tune, Blythe — who announced recently via YouTube that he was bidding to become president in 2012 — flashed Richard Nixon’s V-for-victory hand signal while screaming the Nixonian “I am not a criminal!” His dependence on profanity would surely separate Blythe on the campaign trail from at least Mitt Romney.
Blythe flaunted his charismatic aptitude and exploited his place among this flock just before an encore of “Black Label,” when he urged folks on the packed club floor near the stage to get crazy on his count. Two huge gangs of overwhelmingly beefy men made room as directed, and as the song began they ran at each other with all the abandon of Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. For better or worse, you won’t find that scene at your typical rock show.
McKenna is a freelance writer.