This Megadeth article was written by Amit Mohan, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster. Header image by Concerts Captured.
A true night of metal goodness approaches at a sold-out O2 Academy Birmingham, on what was a fully packed metal masterpiece lineup for Megadeth and Lamb Of God’s UK and Ireland tour, with Sylosis and Children of Bodom.
First to hit the stage are modern thrash metallers Sylosis. Hailing from Reading, UK, Sylosis are one of the current front-runners on the British metal scene. With the crowd still piling in and having just a half hour set, Sylosis fill the time well with riff-laden songs which get the crowd truly warmed up. They are one of the tightest live metal bands around at present, giving a flawless performance that packs a punch.
They have definitely gained a few new fans, getting the pit started nice and early and ending with their epic modern anthem ‘Emperyal’, which consists of a blinding sweeping guitar riff which is pulled off to perfection. Josh Middleton is a very competent frontman, using complex guitar work and impressive vocals simultaneously. A truly great opening act and highlighting a bright future for metal.
Next on the bill are Children of Bodom from Finland. Having formed in 1993 they are now fairly well-known on the metal scene. They are a massive name in their native country, having had multiple number one records and being one of Finland’s best-selling artists of all time. Playing an extensive set covering the majority of their back catalogue, they capture the crowd’s interest.
However, during the entire set the keyboardist seemed disinterested, consistently walking off stage and having no energy whatsoever, however lead singer and guitarist Alexi Laiho does a good job in keeping the crowd’s attention. In comparison to the opening band, Bodom come across as fairly underwhelming. Their set, although technically good, feels more like a routine rather than a passionate performance.
Now for the highlight of the evening: Lamb of God from Richmond, US. One of modern metals most heralded and successful bands waste no time in getting things started, opening with the appropriately named ‘Walk With Me In Hell’ which gets the crowd moving from the get go. Randy Blythe’s energy and rage is encapsulating, playing a blistering set list including fan favourites such as ‘Ruin’, ‘Laid to Rest’ and ‘Now You’ve Got Something To Die For’, as well as new tracks from their latest album ‘Sturm Und Drang’.
Randy is honoured to play in the home of heavy metal, stating that Black Sabbath (from Birmingham) are the original heavy metal band. The intensity is present throughout the set with the crowd thriving with energy. The only time the mayhem stops is when Randy notices an injured person in the crowd. He stops the show and commands that everyone is patient until the injured person is taken out safely. After the ordeal, they end with singalong anthem ‘Redneck,’ leaving the stage having fully cemented their place as current groove metal titans, with the crowd clamoring for more.
Before Megadeth arrive, the 02 Academy stage is lit up in blue, white and red in the shape of the French flag, a touching tribute to recent events that occurred in Paris.
The final act on the bill are US thrash metal icons Megadeth. Being part of the original ‘Big Four’ thrash metal bands from the 80’s, Megadeth are a well-respected band on the thrash scene. Opening with the classic riff of ‘Hangar 18’, the eagerly awaiting fans explode and jump in unison. This is set number two for drummer Chris Adler, having pulled double stints on the skins for both Lamb of God and Megadeth.
There are no signs of fatigue from him, playing the Megadeth songs flawlessly. Lead singer and guitarist Dave Mustaine seems slightly tired, with his voice not packing as much of a punch as desired. There are old school circle pits, moshing and jumping from the crowd throughout their whole set, showing that the energy has not dwindled over the five hour show.
Overall it is a good performance from all bands on a truly stellar metal lineup. The best and most energetic set came from Lamb of God, with Sylosis in close second. Tonight was a unison of past, present and future, showing that the old school are still relevant, the present is excellent and the future is very bright for UK metal.