I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this gig; I hadn’t listened to Lamb of God in about five years, though I liked them back then. I had no idea who the support act were; the first time I ever heard of Sylosis was when I saw their t-shirts in the merch booth.
For a warm-up act, Sylosis were extremely well-received. A four-piece British band delivering technically impressive, engaging and entertaining melodic death metal. Definitely a band I intend to check out in the future. The six-song set was a little shorter than I would have liked, but otherwise my only criticism is how the singer kept urging the audience to start a circle pit. People start pits because they’re getting into the music, you shouldn’t have to tell them, and besides, circle pits are stupid. Unfortunately when I went down to get a Sylosis t-shirt after their set, the only available sizes were in XL and XS – hopefully a sign that they had a good reception at the previous night’s gig opening for Lamb of God in Belfast.
If Sylosis were well-received, Lamb of God were welcomed to the stage with near-rapturous applause. Singer Randy Blythe delivered the usual frontman spiel of “I love this city!” and “It’s great to be back!” with sincerity and charisma. (I was pleased to note a group of people standing near me had brought a Blythe for President banner.) As I didn’t know any of the songs in Lamb of God’s set too well, I probably didn’t get as into it as most of the crowd, but nonetheless the band were on form, extremely tight and delivered crowd-pleaser after crowd-pleaser. From what I heard, their music doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre, with different songs showcasing crushing riffs, melodic guitar work, and heavy doom slow sections. The highlight of the set for me was either “Contractor“, a blisteringly fast track that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Napalm Death setlist, or the crowd spontaneously breaking into “Olé, Olé, Olé…” during the drum solo, only to have Blythe join in and egg them on to sing each successive verse faster and faster. (He said after “I don’t know what just happened, but that was fuckin’ fun!”)
Overall, a great gig in a venue I really like, with an affordable ticket price of 26. Metal in Ireland continues to thrive, it seems.