Lamb of God, Hellyeah, In Flames, Sylosis Palladium Ballroom Friday, December 7
Christmas came early this year, as Sylosis, Hellyeah, In Flames and Lamb of God imploded eardrums on Friday night. British band Sylosis started the show, offering a modernized version of old-school Bay Area thrash metal, informed by West Coast influences such as Exodus and Sadus.
When Hellyeah took the stage, we visited the bar and ordered a double shot of whiskey, because you can't listen to Vinnie Paul's metal group without offering a toast to the spirit of Dimebag Darrell. Playing new tunes off their 2012 album, Band of Brothers, we thrashed with the crowd and remembered the marijuana nights and tequila sunrises spent banging our heads to Dimebag's riffs. Swedish metal band In Flames kept up the thrashing with their melodic death metal. Despite founding member Jesper Strömblad's departure, Niclas Engelin and Anders Fridén kept the sea of moving bodies surging as the crowd awaited Lamb of God's arrival.
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Darkness ensued, and the fans went wild, chanting "Lamb of God" like some kind of mantra to a fallen god. More people crowded together as images of exploding buildings seared our minds and Chris Adler's drumbeat ignited our rage. When LBJ's 1964 campaign-winning Daisy Girl/Nuclear Explosion ad appeared, the band stepped from the darkness into the light, sending the mosh pit into a frenzy.
After spending several months incarcerated in a Czech "gated community," frontman Randy Blythe growled through "Desloation," "Ghost Walking" and "Walk With Me In Hell," dropping random "motherfuckas" between song changes. Mark Morton and Willie Adler practiced their dark craft, Adler's riffs and Morton's punk-laced rhythms and solos causing the mosh pit to grow, while founding member John Campbell's bass and Chris Adler's grueling double-bass spurred a slew of metal horns to appear.
As images of U.S. servicemen and women flashed across the screens behind him, Blythe greeted the crowd and paid homage to our heroes. "I'm glad to be back here in the land of the free and the home of the brave," Blythe said. The crowd roared its approval as the opening riffs of "Now You've Got Something to Die For" thundered from the speakers.
"Redneck" revealed all the people who drove trucks to the venue, while "Black Label" set an ominous tone that still resonates through our soul and left us hoping this wouldn't be the last time we see Blythe.