Beneath that sheep’s clothing name, Lamb of God are far more ferocious than wolves. The Virginia quintet may have a logo that looks like a Dan Brown novel but they play metal at fearsome first principles, eschewing polish and melody in favour of a relentlessly aggressive guitar attack that has earned them high US chart placings and Grammy nominations.
They only arrived this weekend to promote their two-year-old seventh album, Resolution, because singer Randy Blythe has been busy with legal trouble. He was accused and eventually acquitted of manslaughter after throwing a fan off the stage at a gig in Prague in 2010 — the fan died of head injuries. Here he showed some concern for crowd safety. “If someone falls down, pick ’em up,” he said. “Other than that, go fucking nuts.”
Easily done. This was music that boiled the blood. Blythe sang from the stomach, or possibly lower, while guitars churned and rumbled, largely avoiding intricate solos in favour of a sludgy, monumental groove, an onslaught of low sounds that hit you where it hurts.
Walk With Me in Hell was steered through several gear changes with impressive control. The big screamalong, Redneck, was intimidatingly fast, Chris Adler’s drums a blur of noise.
The rest of the band were pretty stationary aside from the predictable hair windmills. Home complications meant that founding guitarist Mark Morton was replaced here by the nondescript Paul Waggoner. “It’s family first with this band,” assured Blythe, who seemed a decent chap beneath the beard, tattoos and terrifying vomiting noises. He insisted he was humbled by the size of their London audience, warmly welcomed any first-timers, and admitted he was envious of the support band, Decapitated, because they have a member named Vogg.
When he roared, though, he was hell made flesh. So long since his band’s last visit, it’s no wonder they got such a warm welcome.