Lamb of God/Hatebreed/Behemoth/3 Inches of Blood
Friday, July 13, 2007
Croatian Cultural Centre
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland
As has been the tradition, Ozzfest bypasses Canada altogether leaving fans to cross their fingers in hope that some of the bands on the summer juggernaut will slip across the 49th parallel for what has become known as “off date” shows. Static-X hit Vancouver for a small, hastily-organized club show (read review HERE) two days before the July 12th kick-off of Ozzfest 2007 in Seattle but the real draw came three nights later as Lamb of God, Hatebreed, Behemoth and 3 Inches of Blood tore our city a new one on, of all days, Friday the 13th.
Some devastating news hit Vancouver’s own 3 Inches of Blood just days before they were to begin Ozzfest, arguably their most important tour yet. Second vocalist Jamie Hooper (the short-haired, non-bearded one with the blackened shrieks) was ordered to skip the run of dates due to throat problems leaving the band with a critical element missing from their Dungeons & Dragons-inspired, New Wave of British Heavy Metal-influenced sound. Guitarist Justin Hagberg stepped up but his huskier, death metal-like growls still left a void. Like a trooper, Hooper was still on the sidelines, though, and singing along during each of the band’s criminally-short four song set. The show started fifteen minutes late, so 3 Inches of Blood’s allotted twenty-five minutes was cut back to twenty. Given the fact they have a new album—FIRE UP THE BLADES—that just hit stores three weeks earlier, it was a real shame that the band didn’t get to play longer, especially in their hometown. Still, they made the best of what they had and previewed three songs from the new CD: “Night Marauders,” “The Goatriders Horde” and “Forest King.” The first two are real standouts on FIRE UP THE BLADES and smoke live, too. Cam Pipes’ impossibly-high falsettos and the guitar tandem of Hagberg and Shane Clark make the songs crackle with melody and intensity. Given the fact that only Pipes and Hooper remained from the recording line-up of their last album, 2004’s ADVANCE AND VANQUISH, there were a lot of questions raised as to what 3 Inches of Blood would bring to the table on FIRE UP THE BLADES but it is already evident that they are stronger than ever and are sure to be a major breakout on this summer’s Ozzfest.
3 INCHES OF BLOOD SETLIST
The Goatriders Horde
The other band currently devouring the metal scene is Poland’s metal kings, Behemoth. Drawing on the Thelemic/pagan themes of 2005’s DEMIGOD, the band’s brand-spankin’-new THE APOSTASY raises the bar once again. From Behemoth’s humble beginnings as an obscure black metal band to being worshipped by hordes of North American death metal fans has been quite a ride that began with 2000’s THELEMA.6 and after tearing up last summer’s Sounds of The Underground, the Polish quartet is a major buzz band right now. Powered by Inferno’s merciless drumming (in true rock star fashion, Inferno inserted a show-stopping drum solo that left many amazed at his inhuman skills behind the tubs) and the foreboding stage presence of frontman/guitarist, Nergal, Behemoth’s live act is crushingly heavy and must be seen. The rabid crowd went insane during Behemoth’s forty-minute set and there were a lot of hot, sweaty bodies that began to emerge from the throng afterwards. “Conquer All” and “As Above So Below” sport pulverising grooves while the hoots and hollers echoing through the venue at the beginning of “Christians To The Lions” was most impressive. Seth and Nergal drop intense riffs on new tracks “Prometherion” and “Slaying The Prophets of Isa” that despite their brutality still boast an underlying melody that keeps things accessible. Going way back to 1999’s SATANICA for “Chant For Eschaton 2000” was a surprise but skipping over “Slaves Shall Serve” from DEMIGOD was an even bigger one however the eight tracks chosen were a real testament as to the power of Behemoth’s heavy metal sermon.
Christians To The Lions
Chant For Eschaton 2000
As Above So Below
Slaying The Prophets of Isa
The very mention of Hatebreed or frontman Jamey Jasta can send some metalheads recoiling in horror however Jasta’s unwavering efforts to get metal played on television again through MTV’s The Headbanger’s Ball is commendable. As a fan of Hatebreed since I first heard SATISFACTION IS THE DEATH OF DESIRE way back in 1997 (has it been ten years already?!?!?) and having seen them live several times, it is impossible not to get pumped up knowing they are about to hit the stage. Away from the hardcore fan contingent and behind the safety of the photo pit guardrail is exactly where I like to be when watching Hatebreed. That way, I can get into the grooves and attitude without getting a spin kick to the back of the head or becoming an unwilling participant in a moshpit (I may be big, but I’m too old for that insanity). Being one of the most-loved as well as most-hated bands out there cannot be easy but Hatebreed’s fanbase is unwaveringly loyal (one of the band’s current tour shirts reads “Fuck you! I like Hatebreed!” across the back of it), albeit stereotypical to a fault. I have never seen as many backwards baseball caps, shaved heads, “wife beater” shirts and bad tribal tattoos in one place in my life but the sold-out crowd of about 700, egged on by Jasta’s calls for bigger and bigger moshpits, made several attempts to push through the barriers in their enthusiasm. With songs such as “To The Threshold,” “Defeatist,” “Perseverance,” “I Will be Heard” and “Before Dishonor” dotting their setlist, Hatebreed gave its fans plenty of outlets to unleash their unbridled energy. Sean Martin (whose neck seems to double in girth as he shouts the background vocals) and new guitarist Frank “3 Gun” Novinec, formerly of new-school hardcore act Terror, deliver plenty of Slayer-influenced riffs and diving solos while bassist/founding member Chris Beattie levels everything with a thick, rubbery bass sound. Coupled with Jasta’s ferocious bark and call-to-arms stage banter, Hatebreed is one of the best live acts I have ever witnessed and anyone looking for power, aggression and positivism in music need look no further.
HATEBREED SETLIST (**Not in order**)
To The Threshold
As Diehard As They Come
Tear It Down
Live For This
Beholder of Justice
This Is Now
I Will Be Heard
Not One Truth
Considering this was Friday the 13th, something HAD to go wrong and it took about two seconds after Lamb of God hit the stage to hear what it was. Horrendous feedback ripped through opening track “Hourglass” as the band members looked at each other and to the sides of the stage for an answer. Vocalist Randy Blythe asked for the crowd’s patience for “five minutes” while the road crew rectified the problem. Five minutes turned into almost twenty as the crew were panicking and becoming noticeably frustrated with each other before feverishly changing over all the cables and doing a brief soundcheck. Before things got rolling, though, the crowd was getting unruly and when a crew member on stage turned his back to them revealing a Nickelback t-shirt, the insults started flying before a repeated chant en masse of “NICKELBACK SUCKS!” shook the walls. When all was said and done, a noticeably frustrated Blythe and the rest of the band came back on stage apologizing for the technical glitches. Despite what should have been a complete buzz-kill, Lamb of God quickly got the crowd fired up again and played a shortened one-hour set, dropping “Again We Rise,” “Bloodletting” and “Vigil” from the printed setlist. Blythe’s skulking movements and piercing glare were no doubt boosted by the problems but, in essence, made the singer’s performance even more intense. His raspy, abrasive snarls and ferocious growls on “Pathetic,” “Laid To Rest” and “Ruin” bristled with anger as he took out his fury on the crowd. Guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler laid out their fretboard skills on the ultra-catchy “Redneck” and modern thrash frenzy of “What I’ve Become” while the infectious riffs of “11th Hour” and “Walk With Me In Hell” resonated through the venue. Chris Adler kicked up a storm on “Black Label” and “Now You’ve Go Something To Die For” confirming his status as one of the best metal drummers plying his trade today. Despite the hiccups, Lamb of God still managed to put on one of their always dependable, always heavy and always enjoyable live shows.
LAMB OF GOD SETLIST
Again We Rise (**cut for time**)
Walk With Me In Hell
As The Palaces Burn
More Time To Kill
Blacken The Cursed Sun
Bloodletting (**cut for time**)
Now You’ve Got Something To Die For
What I’ve Become
Laid To Rest
Vigil (**cut for time**)
Since Ozzfest has only graced Vancouver once way back in 1999, it is doubtful North America’s largest tour package will ever do so again. However, as long as the bands—and promoters—see the potential of booking the peripheral markets with these so-called “off dates,” metal fans can still get their summer fix. Kudos to all four bands for braving the border—and the ominous Friday the 13th—to deliver killer sets all around.
***Thanks to Kelli at Live Nation for the press pass.