Lamb of God, Fear Factory, Children of Bodom
Tuesday October 26, 2004
The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC Canada
Review and All Live Pics By Lord of The Wasteland
When I first heard who was on this bill, I was a bit surprised with the grouping of three very different bands: Lamb of God, the thrashcore titans of Richmond, Virginia, California industrial metallers Fear Factory and Children of Bodom, the Finnish?well, whatever they are. There was no question that this was going to be a killer bill, but it was just a bit kooky, that?s all. On top of that, Fear Factory was here just five months earlier and this was Children of Bodom?s THIRD appearance in our city in eleven months. Lamb of God had only been to Vancouver once before but even that was on the Headbanger?s Ball Tour less than a year before. I was a bit worried that overexposure coupled with the fact that it was a Tuesday night could spell for a half-empty house, but I was proven wrong upon hearing grumbling outside that show was indeed sold out. The Vancouver metal scene has been booming the past year or so with a seemingly endless string of top-notch shows coming through our city and all have been sold out or near capacity. To my fellow Vancouver metalheads I throw the horns and say, ?Way to keep metal alive and well?!!
Just days after the Vancouver show was announced, it was revealed that Lamb of God would participate in an in-store meet and greet appearance at our favorite metal shop, Scrape Records (http://www.scraperecords.com) before the show. Scrape always goes the extra mile to bring these types of events to local metalheads having hosted Cannibal Corpse, Children of Bodom, Evergrey, Strapping Young Lad, Cradle of Filth and Soilwork among others. It?s good for the city, good for metal and?first and foremost?really cool for the fans to get up close and personal with their favorite bands, so many hails to JJ and Dennis at Scrape. Lamb of God greeted an eager crowd that stretched down the block and for the better part of an hour, signed drum heads, posters, CDs, hats, arms and posed for pictures with fans (and even lowly metal scribes like myself). One highlight was the young metalhead who couldn?t have been any more than 11 years old sporting spiked wristbands and toting a guitar along for the band to sign. Sony Music was on hand and rewarded the kid with some great swag since the show was 18+. Class act, guys. Lamb of God filmed two shows a week earlier for a live DVD and a videographer was on hand at Scrape getting more footage. Hopefully the guy managed to get a shot of the shy Asian girl surprising Randy Blythe with a big sloppy kiss right out of the blue!
CHILDREN OF BODOM
The bands started early and I got to The Commodore just as Children of Bodom was into their first song and I missed it totally, though I think it was ?Silent Night, Bodom Night.? Alexi Laiho was in full rock star mode swirling his guitar around his neck and blasting out solo after solo in every acrobatic position imaginable. Keyboardist Janne Warmen never ceases to amaze me with his unbelievable playing. The speed and dexterity of his fingers on his tilted-forward keyboard keeping time with Laiho?s fretwork is something to behold. Rhythm guitarist Roope Latvala (ex-Stone) is fitting in nicely with the rest of the band and he seemed to be a bit more comfortable than the last time they were here when he kept to the back of the stage. His experienced riffing is the perfect accompaniment to Laiho?s leads which makes me hope that Latvala, a touring member only, chooses to remain a member of the band once they get off the road. The usual suspects were played during the forty-minute set including ?Needled 24/7,? ?Sixpounder,? ?Hate Crew Death Roll,? ?Everytime I Die? and ?Hate Me? but as energetic as Children of Bodom are to witness live, this same basic set has been trotted out repeatedly and it is definitely time to mix things up. Still, the crowd gave an incredible response to Children of Bodom with chants of ?BODOM! BODOM! BODOM!? and boos when Laiho announced their last song. With the TRASHED, LOST & STRUNGOUT E.P. in the bag, hopefully Children of Bodom will head back to the studio for some new material and come back to North America with a fresh setlist?and as headliners!
In a surprise move, Fear Factory was not the headliner and had a reduced set of fifty minutes. Not to take anything away from Lamb of God, but this IS Fear Factory! This was the third time I have seen Fear Factory and while nothing will ever top their second stage headline performance at Ozzfest ?99, they are always dead on and tight as hell. It?s old news now but Christian Olde Wolbers has moved over to guitar (Dino Cazares got booted or quit depending on who you choose to believe) and Strapping Young Lad four-stringer, Byron Stroud, has filled the bass position. Touring in support of this year?s brilliant return to form, ARCHETYPE, Fear Factory tore through an interestingly sequenced setlist that paired up songs from each of their albums (ie. two songs from ARCHETYPE, then two from DEMANUFACTURE, then two from OBSOLETE, etc.) leaving the audience in its wake. Stroud?s thunderous intro to ?Scapegoat? had the walls shaking and his ability to gel with the band on stage seems like he has been with them since day one. Wolbers surprised me with his skills on the guitar on the ARCHETYPE album and he is no slouch live, either. He even pulled out some impressive backup roars on the title track to ARCHETYPE! Raymond Herrera is truly a master of the drums with his mind-blowing double bass and fast pacing on songs like ?Martyr? and ?Demanufacture.? Kudos to the lighting crew for executing perfectly timed strobe light effects to Herrera?s kick drums on ?Martyr,? too. Perhaps the most stunning component of the Fear Factory machine is the voice of frontman Burton C. Bell. The soaring highs of ?Archetype? are offset by the guttural growls of ?Shock? and ?Martyr? proving he is among the elite of metal vocalists. Admittedly, Bell?s vocals cracked a bit in his upper range during the chorus of ?Archetype? and he can?t get as low as he did on the SOUL OF A NEW MACHINE record but these are extremes and exceptions. One highlight of the set included the downtuned riffing during the breakdown segment on ?Cyberwaste? and fans with raised middle fingers leading chants of ?Nothing?you say?matters to us.? Bell is a charismatic frontman and had the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout the set leaving Fear Factory a tough act for Lamb of God to follow.
FEAR FACTORY SETLIST
LAMB OF GOD
The final link in the metal chain on this night would be Lamb of God. ASHES OF THE WAKE has only been in stores for two months and is garnering the best reviews of the band?s career and thanks to a major label deal with Epic Records and successful run on the second stage of this summer?s Ozzfest, new followers continue to flock in droves to hear what Lamb of God is preaching. And who can miss it when a frontman like Randy Blythe stalks the stage like a predator circling its prey! Blythe?s energy is boundless and his recipe of mixing deep, booming roars with shrieks that would shred a lesser man?s vocal cords is outstanding. Perfectly suited for the live environment, he constantly moves back to front and left to right like a flailing, leaping dervish. Blythe is just as magnetic as Burton C. Bell but with stage banter like ?It?s a good night for metal in B.C.,? he was sure to win over the crowd. The dual axe attack of Mark Morton and Will Adler seem to be either shredding or dropping ten-ton riffs at all times creating a wall of sound that is almost impenetrable. One man who helped achieve that sound on record was on hand at this show?Devin Townsend of Strapping Young Lad. Townsend produced Lamb of God?s 2003 release, AS THE PALACES BURN, and as thanks, the band brought Devin on stage briefly and dedicated ?Ruin? to him and his band. The moshpit was one of the craziest I have ever seen and Blythe incited more action than a porno film director. The now infamous ?Wall of Death? that gained notoriety at the beginning of Ozzfest was never mentioned directly, but Blythe gave his cue at the beginning of ?Black Label? telling the waiting crowd, ?You know what to do.? ?The Subtle Art of Murder and Persuasion? also generated a venerable pit of pain and mayhem as bodies circled and crashed together in a well-timed ballet of aggression. The band even dipped back into their pre-Lamb of God days and dusted off ?Bloodletting,? the lead-off track to the one and only CD they released as Burn The Priest. The fifteen song, 75-minute setlist was vast and widespread covering all three albums (and the aforementioned Burn The Priest CD) offering new fans a taste of what came before ASHES OF THE WAKE and long-time fans a bit of nostalgia, as well.
LAMB OF GOD SETLIST
Laid To Rest
As The Palaces Burn
Now You?ve Got Something To Die For
Terror and Hubris In The House of Frank Pollard
The Faded Line
The Subtle Art of Murder and Persuasion
What I?ve Become
Even though all three of these bands have become familiar faces to Vancouver, the crowd was hardly showing any sign of growing weary of them. What an awesome night of metal this was and each band gave their very best, leaving fans wanting more. The best reception was certainly reserved for Children of Bodom but Fear Factory and Lamb of God succeeded in leaving a big ol? boot print on the backside of everyone in attendance, too.
Lamb of God (http://www.lamb-of-god.com)
Fear Factory (http://www.fearfactory.com)
Children of Bodom (http://www.cobhc.com)
Thanks to JJ for his hospitality at Scrape Records (http://www.scraperecords.com) during the in-store.
Thanks to Jamie at House of Blues (http://www.hob.com) for the ticket and photo pass and all his help at the show.