So, metal is pretty awesome, right? This past Monday at the Metropolis saw the triple threat line up of Montreal’s own Cryptopsy, death metal titans Behemoth, and the kings of groove metal Lamb of God. For what turned out to be a LOT of people, this was probably one of the best shows of the summer so far.
Cryptopsy started things off with their raw heavy death metal power. Even though I missed most of it because some guy was on the metro tracks (seriously, the announcement was: “Because of some guy on the tracks who is not supposed to be on the tracks, the green line is off”), what little I did catch saw an already very sizeable crowd electric with excitement.
They did not have to wait very long for Behemoth to deliver. This was my first time seeing them, and they did not disappoint. The combination of candelabra shaped ornaments across the front of the stage and the band’s costumes, medieval cloaks and white corpse paint, Behemoth’s heavy progressive death metal pummel never sounded so good to me. There’s a reason Nergal is one of the most respective frontmen and vocalists in the genre; the dude just oozes charisma. I’ve never been a fan of the way his voice is layered a thousand times on top of itself like it is on much of their recorded material, and it was refreshing to hear his raw power so clearly live. The lights switched accordingly from frenetic chaos to eerie darkness, colouring the constant shifts and turns of songs like “Conquer All” and “Ov Fire and the Void.”
The highlight of the show was the evil slow burner “Alas, Lord is Upon Me.” The stage went completely dark for several seconds, and then blue lights flashed on and the evilest riff you’ve ever heard echoed throughout the room. From there, Behemoth demonstrated to the crowd what heavy is with one of the most punishing song performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing.
Never a band to be outdone, Lamb of God bludgeoned their way through a fiery set that was essentially full on fan service. Mostly ignoring their last decade or so of releases (with a couple of exceptions including the always awesome “Set to Fail” from 2009’s Wrath), they focused on their two best-received albums Ashes of the Wake and its follow-up Sacrament. Opening with “Laid to Rest,” “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For,” and “Ruin,” Lamb Of God kicked everyone’s ass. Every time I see Chris Adler play that one fill (you know the one I’m talking about) I am more convinced that he is not human. The latter half of the set of the set focused heavily on anthems like “Omerta” (complete with spoken word intro), “Blacken the Cursed Sun,” and “Descending.” Randy Blythe ran around the stage and pumped the crowd with an animated performance in front of a wall of screens projecting convulsing imagery that fit their visceral riffs perfectly.
And let’s talk about that mosh pit. Lamb of God are known for their ability to incite a crowd into absolute insanity, and they did not disappoint this night. In between all this, they took the time to acknowledge Montreal metal bands like Kataklysm, Despised Icon, and of course, Cryptopsy for their influence on the scene. They also mimicked Cryptopsy a little bit with the type of blast beat you would never hear from them and took a shot at Behemoth’s sound with a slow string bending riff in their style. It was cute. After Blythe had finished heaping praise on the Polish metallers, he yelled, “Satan!” which was also funny.
They didn’t offer any encore because they didn’t have to. The closer, anti-south anthem, “Redneck,” was enough of a bang to end the set on a high note and I’ll probably never have a voice again after screaming, “This is a motherfucking invitation!” But, it was totally worth it.
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Danielle Kenedy