After months of waiting, arguably the biggest metal tour of the year was finally upon us! With Megadeth and Lamb of God sharing top billing and impressive support also involved, Rock Sins wasn’t going to miss this one so off we went to the SSE Arena Wembley in London to enjoy the show.
Beginning the proceedings early but to a very healthily sized crowd, Sylosis (8) really stepped up tonight and showed they belonged on this tour on merit. The likes of Teras and Mercy have never sounded so huge as they did through the Wembley Arena sound system and a very impressed audience responded to Josh Middleton’s request for a wall of death with a great effort (especially for an opening band). Finishing with Empyreal to a huge reaction, based on this showing Sylosis might well grace the Wembley stage again in future.
Children Of Bodom (6) on the other hand never quite got going properly. The likes of Hate Me and in particular In Your Face sounded impressive as always but the band seemed to be lacking their usual enthusiasm with only main man Alexi Laiho seeming to put the full effort in. Downfall remains one of the best metal set closers around and so it was again on this occasion, but this felt like a missed opportunity for one of Finlands best loved metal export.
Failing to get going properly is an accusation that has probably never been levelled at Lamb Of God (9), and it certainly couldn’t be said tonight as their 75 minute performance was full of enormous intensity from start to finish. Opening with old favourite Walk With Me In Hell was a successful surprise, and from there the standing area of Wembley Arena bounced as one to Now You’ve Got Something To Die For.
Reflecting on the terrible tradegy in Paris last night, Randy Blythe summed up a perfect response in the way few could articulate so well. “What happened makes me sad, it makes me cry, and it makes me angry. But it will not make me afraid, and it will not make me hate”, before going on to praise the audience for coming to the show and dedicating 512 to the victims from La Bataclan.
Working through the set, which went by in a flash, it was a feast for the Lamb Of God long time fans. Mainstream favourites like Ruin (dedicated to Ronnie James Dio) and Set To Fail were spread amongst deeper cuts like Hourglass and Vigil, before the traditional triple punch ending of Laid To Rest, Redneck and Black Label brought the house down.
Despite opening with the mindblowing Hangar 18, initially Megadeth (8) had some trouble following Lamb Of God. The mix was all over the place and for a couple of songs Dave Mustaine could barely be heard. Once things were smoothed out in time for a brilliant rendition of Sweating Bullets, things took a distinct upturn.
Allowing David Ellefson to strut his stuff on a double header of Dawn Patrol and Poison Was The Cure was very popular, as was a face melting rendition of Tornado Of Souls. An impressive factor throughout, Chris Adler showed no signs of weariness from doing Lamb Of God and Megadeth double duty and was throwing extra fills into songs left right and centre, no more so than in the huge singalong that was Trust.
The last quarter of the set was one might expect from Mustaine and friends was Megadeth at their best with Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells and Holy Wars sounding as fresh as ever. Chris Adler in particular on Holy Wars made most previous Megadeth drummers seem like they’d played the song on a children’s toy kit, and his prominence on the song seemed fitting on a night where he had played so excellently throughout.
A brilliant night of metal overall, with Lamb Of God just shading it over Megadeth for their extra energy and cleaner sound throughout, whilst Sylosis deserve a special mention too for making such a good impression – something that those of us who’ve followed them for years dearly hoped they would do – and they suceeded. Roll on a rapid UK return for Lamb Of God, while Megadeth will be warmly received back at the Download Festival next Summer. Metal is well and truly alive and kicking and this night was a perfect example.