Second Lamb of God livestream evokes nostalgia for pre-COVID mosh pits and crowd surfing

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Cody Wagner, Entertainment Writer

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The sound of pure American heavy metal music consists of fast-paced and thunderous guitars lowered yet rapid baselines, intensely correlated drums and menacing vocals. Each of these factors played a major role in the sound and style regarding the bands Whitechapel and Lamb of God in their second livestream performances this past week. I wasn’t sure if Lamb of God would be able to recreate the success of their first livestream, being that it happened just a week ago – and they would be playing old material in their second attempt. But the kings of American metal did not fail to impress.

Lamb of God’s intention was to play their 2004 album “Ashes of the Wake,” which is one of their most famous creations containing nothing but pure metal genius.The band’s third album became a metal staple as it delivered some of the band’s biggest singles such as “Laid to Rest” and “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For.”

My favorite song off this widely appreciated piece of metal greatness would have to be “Laid to Rest.” The song projects nothing but brutal honesty and the idea of not caring what other people think but rather enjoying yourself as a human being and lifting yourself out of darkness and into the light. My favorite part of the track is when vocalist Randy Blythe yells “See who gives a fuck” followed by machine-gunning guitar work led by Mark Morton. “Laid to Rest,” as well as their song from fourth album, “ Walk with me in Hell,” are the most empowering tracks the band has written to date.

One of the biggest elements of a concert that I truly miss the most is the crowds and people willing to express and share their love related to a similar genre of music. Like just about all concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lamb of God livestreams contained no audience. This lack of audience further depletes the true experience of in-person shows and the impact of music. To try and get some of this sense back I talked about the livestreams with my cousin, Jake Cygan, who also watched the performances and is a major fan of Lamb of God. One of the reason’s he’s such a big fan is the quality of Lamb of God’s live performances.

“They show experienced musicians within the metal acts,” Cygan said. “They are a great example of pure American metal. Many of their songs pertain to the military and its influence within our country. Once you see their names on a music lineup you know you’re in for a show.”

The opening band was Whitechapel, whose raw and intense sound laid out an introduction to the event . They understood the audience’s lust for even heavier, faster and intense sound from one song to the next.

Lamb of God’s performance was conducted that day, but Whitechapel’s was actually pre-recorded and set six years earlier as part of a concert DVD. I don’t really understand the reasoning behind this but as long as I can see the bands play live and hear the incredible malicious sound of metal, then it doesn’t bother me. Set in their hometown Knoxville,Tenn. this band truly brought the sound and style of metal to an area primarily focused on the country music scene.

Formed in 2006, WhiteChapel consists of vocalist Phil Bozeman whose menacing and aggressively lowered toned vocals brought deep intensity but it was really difficult to hear and understand the lyrics.. Guitarists Ben Savage, Alex Wade and Zach Householder projected a intensely fast paced sound for the world of new age metal while still staying dependent on the heaviness and fast-paced tempo. Drummer Alex Rudinger brought both rhythm and excitement to the band’s energetic stage presence and pulse-rattling sound.

Since the performance was recorded six years prior, there was an actual audience in the stands. This made me nostalgic, missing the excitement, crowds and live energy of in-person performances. I noticed the crowd’s reaction as beyond bombastic with people going completely insane by either moshing, headbanging or crowd surfing. The crowd surfing made me miss the experience even more as I reminisced about my first time crowd surfing at Riot Fest in Chicago last year.

The band’s performance was a great setup for the harsh and intense show that would be playing just an hour ahead. Bozeman’s attitude and vocals, despite not being my favorite aspect of the band, paired with theatrical jumping, headbanging and screaming. And the audience responded with the same., Once band members see these actions in effect, they then understand and further connect to the crowd’s investment.

Despite being an intense, hardcore metal band, Bozeman’s vocals were too growly and lower-toned. I couldn’t really hear any of the lyrics. It looked like he was just mouthing random gibberish. It was the guitars and drums that really made the performance.

Lamb of God was up next and their second performance brought them my undivided attention. Besides playing the entire album Ashes of the Wake they also performed songs from their first album New American Gospel, celebrating the album’s 20th anniversary.

The song “Remorse is for the Dead” from Ashes of the Wake was performed for the first time live.Each song was heavier than the next as the band remained true to their malicious and intensified sound while bringing about energy and awareness on stage. Some of my favorite tracks played were “Laid to Rest,“ Now You’ve got Something to Die for” and “Walk the Faded Line.” Lamb of God presented true artistic talent during their performance creating an image of resurrection after the events of quarantine, allowing themselves to rise once again and project a sound devoted to frustration, anger and inner-pain relating to many of the emotions people are facing during this time of crisis and uncertainty.

Cygan was also a fan of the livestream overall, especially Lamb of God’s performance.

“They’re a great band to go to if you want to get amped up,” Cygan said. “ A great band to listen to while pumping iron at the gym. And a great band to see live as they bring pure energy.

I called Lamb of God the kings of pure American metal in my last review. Cygan explained why he agrees with that opinion.

“They bring a pure, American sound with diverse guitar riffs that are different from the sound of other bands,” he said.  “Their  raw, brutal energy and malicious sound give claim to that title of kings of pure American metal. You have to truly listen to and analyze the songs to understand the bands’ direct influence and greatness when talking about the sound of pure american heavy metal.”

Lamb of God easily stole the spotlight, once again delivering brute force and intensely interactive energy that makes you wanna headbang every time you listen. Lamb of God’s livestream performances proved that the genre of metal still lives on, showing that bands will come back even stronger and more intense than ever before, providing hope for music lovers who miss the experience of live interactive musical performances.