Lamb of God’s headlining tour in support of their upcoming full-length Omens was an undeniable blast. My favorite thing about this tour since it’s announcement in June is the lineup. So, I’m going to gush on that for a minute. Directly supporting them throughout the run is Massachusetts metalcore titans Killswitch Engage. Opening on the first leg – which included the Tampa show – featured Georgia heavy sludge outfit Baroness and deathcore outfit Suicide Silence. The remainder of the tour will include Fit For an Autopsy opening and Motionless in White, Spiritbox, and Animals As Leaders on select dates. I just wish they’d made it a mini-fest tour or something that featured all eight bands. In my opinion, that’s what festivals like Ozzfest, Sounds of the Underground, and Mayhem Festival could have become. The lineup is very akin to the destination festivals like Welcome to Rockville and Blue Ridge. While I enjoy those multi-day events, part of me prefers the one-day, all-day touring festivals.
Anyway, I wanted to speak on the different genres featured because I don’t know that it’s something we see a lot of outside the major festivals. It is something I wouldn’t mind seeing more of. Generally speaking, tours will cater to a specific genre, with a little crossover, but mostly all still within a certain intersection of a Venn diagram. It’s something I simultaneous understand and lament. You want to get as many people out to the show as possible, so it helps to put together a lineup that focuses on bands within the same/similar genre(s). If the lineup is too “out there” it may not sell well, which will no doubt impact the bands participating. In any case, I applaud Lamb of God for putting together a package that I think has varied appeal and hope that it’s exposed attendees to something they don’t normally listen to and made fans of them. I say this because I used to be pretty closed off to what I listen to – too closed off I think – it’s only because of running this blog that I’ve really opened myself up to way more styles of music. Just a thought.
Back to the show. Long story short: It was a great time! While they may playing different styles of metal, what the bands definitely have in common is stage presence. Suicide Silence opened the night with plenty of energy. Frontman Eddie Hermida made use of the large stage during the set and joked and charmed the crowd between songs. The band was tight and skillfully executed a worthwhile performance in their allotted time.
Baroness were up next, another force to be reckoned with in a different sense. While Baroness isn’t my favorite band, live they are something else. Their music is something to be experienced. It’s difficult to describe. Cathartic is the word that comes to mind. The band weren’t jumping around all over the place, but they weren’t stagnant. They embody their music live in a way amplifies the performance. Some musicians bounce around the stage, headbanging like they’re mad, flail about as though possessed. Others exercise more controlled shows that let the music do the talking. You still get some emphasized gestures – a guitar strum with extra power, a raised fist during a pause in a song or between songs – but, it’s primarily about delivering the songs to the audience and letting them breathe in a live setting.
On to Killswitch Engage. If you’ve seen these guys live then I don’t think you need to read on in order to know what was in store for the audience. They were well-received by the audience and returned the welcome in kind. Killswitch is a band that benefits from a stage like the one that the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre offers. If they make any mistakes while playing their own songs live I don’t think you’d notice because they are so active and fun to watch that it doesn’t matter. The best part of the night was a surprise visit from their former frontman Howard Jones who joined them on stage to close their set with “The Signal Fire” off 2019’s Atonement (Metal Blade).
At last, the band we had all been waiting for! Lamb of God took the stage behind a white curtain draped in front of the stage. As the intro to “Memento Mori” (Lamb of God, 2022) began to ring from the speakers, the silhouettes of the band members began to appear. First, frontman D. Randall Blythe who riled up the crowd further with the spoken lyrics of the track. The tension continued to build until finally the song exploded and the curtain fell to reveal the band. The setlist was a fairly well-rounded, fifteen song collection of the band’s catalog, going back to their 2003 sophomore effort, As the Palaces Burn (Prosthetic). Surprisingly they only played the first two singles off their upcoming release Omens; you can find the setlist from the tour here if interested. Whatever your thoughts on the setlist, the Virginia quintet once again demonstrated why they continue to be a force in the heavy music scene. Blythe equally ferocious and charismatic in his role as frontman. Guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler as formidable a duo as ever. Bassist John Campbell and drummer Art Cruz delivering a pummeling rhythm section you felt right through your core. The band may be 20 years into their career but there is no question that there is plenty of fuel in the tank. Lamb of God have rightfully earned their place among the modern leaders of the pack, delivering consistently good records and powerful live shows, continuing to pave the way for the new guard.
You can find the remaining dates of The Omens Tour here. Omens arrives next Friday, October 7th via Epic Records. Pre-order/pre-save it ahead of time via this link.
Photos by JoshDoeVisuals.