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Saturday
Dec012012

Lamb of God - Rapids Theater, Niagara Falls, NY - November 26, 2012‏

Review by John Jeffrey, photos by Diana MacDonald
 
On this past Monday, instead of staying home and eating leftover Thanksgiving Turkey, RockMusicStar decided to travel to Niagara Falls to feast on Lamb of God.  The Richmond, VA band played their closest show to Canada at the Rapids Theater, much to the delight of the fans up north, as Lamb of God is currently unable to perform any shows in Canada, due to lead singer, Randy Blythe's ongoing legal situation (On June 27, 2012 the Czech police arrested Randy Blythe for manslaughter he allegedly committed on stage during a concert which took place two years earlier in Prague.  Blythe was charged with committing intentional bodily harm resulting in death, which carries a penalty of five to ten years of imprisonment).  The all ages gathering took advantage of the buy one/get one ticket special, which resulted in a near sellout crowd.
 
Before Lamb of God took the stage, it was almost surreal and rather funny to hear the wanna-be death metal voices in the crowd chanting "Lamb of God" in unison, as the laid back/bluesy music of the Black Crowes was being pumped through the venue's sound system.  However, as time approached the 10th hour and Lamb of God took the stage (following black and white images of buildings being destroyed on the left and right stage video screens), it was no joke.  Opening the show with the song "Desolation" (from the 2012 "Resolution" CD), Lamb of God had the crowd completely entranced by their custom brand of groove laden pseudo-death metal.  Unfortunately, although the sound wasn't overbearing, the band's mix was more about sheer volume than clarity, and the combination of Chris Adler's thunderous drums, with the low end sound of Mark Morton & Willie Adler's guitars, along with John Campbell's bass and Blythe's growling vocals, at times, it just sounded like one pulsating muddy mess.  Even when standing all of the way in the back of the venue, the sound seemed sub par for a group of Lamb of God's stature.  If one wasn't familiar with the group's material, with the sound being so muddled, it would be hard to differentiate one song from the next.
 
Sound...schmound.  The true Lamb of God fans loved every minute of the show.  Those who knew the songs screamed and growled the choruses back at the band.  I was rather surprised by the number of females in the crowd, and I had to chuckle at the ones involved in the scream-alongs, as it was like watching someone doing karaoke to scenes from "the Exorcist."  While I'm sure many of the fans are aware of Blythe's legal dilemma, it really didn't stop the amount of stage diving going on throughout the show.  However, I did notice, that although heavy security were in place in the barricade (between the crowd and the stage), not one participant attempted to go near Blythe, or the stage at all for that matter.
 
As the group played just over a dozen songs, Lamb of God ended their set with the smashing, "Black Label," from their 2000 album, "New American Gospel."  Although they categorize themselves as "groove metal," Lamb of God has successfully created crossover mainstream appeal for "Death Metal," as they not only appeal to the diehard fans of the genre, but also pull in the kids from the 'Hot Topic' crowd in abundance.  With the band going strong for over 20 years, one would hope Blythe's legal issues do not cut the group's career short, as there doesn't appear to be any other end in sight for Lamb of God.