Driving up to London to our hotel it seemed appropriate that the skies were full of thunder and lightning with hard-driving rain, challenging us to get to our destination. After checking in and heading to the venue the rain had subsided and it was now the calm before the (metal) storm. Doors were open at 4pm and Napalm Death were kicking things off at 5 giving us time to cruise the merch tables grab a beer and head to the floor as chants of FUCKING SLAYER erupt at random.
Napalm Death delivered a blistering set of raging grindcore metal that was well received by the crowd who were ready to mosh. Testament was flawless unleashing their thunderous thrash anthems from their 30+ year catalog with ease. Chuck Billy and crew were genuinely enjoying themselves and giving it their all, combined with brilliant lighting and stage effects, they had the audience roaring for more. Anthrax ripped through their set delivering a razor-sharp performance by all, with Joey Belladonna invoking many crowd sing-alongs.
By now everyone is feeling pretty good the adrenaline is hard and the anticipation is high for Lamb of God, as the dry ice slowly bellows across the stage. As they stroll out to a deafening roar they burst into ‘Omerta’ sending the crowd into a frenzy with countless metalheads surfing over the barrier. Randy Blyth has this boundless stage presence, jumping and bouncing like a maniac on a mission to deliver a fierce performance that you won’t forget. ’Ruin’ kicks off like a well oiled war machine with Randy’s opening scream/growl rising to the rafters. The song delivers a sweet head banging swagger that only LoG can produce. Willie and Mark trading riffs like true marksman hitting their target, as John belts out the bass end with precision and stomp. Next up is a crushing rendition of ‘Walk With Me In Hell’ with Randy telling the audience that this is the only Canadian stop on this leg of the tour with the crowd roaring in response and horns held high. At one point during the song a dude in a wheelchair gets crowd surfed to the front and I catch the reaction on Willie’s face as he laughs and smiles in disbelief of the diehard fans in attendance. One of my all-time favorite songs ‘Now You’ve Got Something To Die For’ spun up a mosh pit of epic portions with everyone head-banging. At this point the band takes a breather and thanks the crowd and all the previous bands before them before setting off into the melodic rhythms of ‘512’ from their latest album VII: Sturm und Drang. Picking up the pace they jump into ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ followed with ‘Blackened The Cursed Sun’ and ‘Laid To Rest’. Although Chris Adler was unable to perform this leg of the tour, Art Cruz (Prong/Winds Of Plague) did a good job and held down the throne. Ending off Lamb of God’s set, some good old ‘Redneck’ that had everyone on their feet, horns and fists in the air. Lamb of God did not disappoint these hungry heavy-metal Canadians.
Headliners Slayer brought a barrage of metal carnage that only they can do and I will truly miss their live experience.
After the show it felt like a massive brotherhood everyone soaking in which they just experienced and heading back to wherever they call home. Sharing tales all while the chants of FUCKING SLAYER still echo in the streets. We get back to our hotel and proceed to party on outside the patio with many people that attended the show and I strike up conversation with the guy that is so dedicated to Slayer (Chris LaRocque ), that at the Toronto concert a couple months earlier (Budweiser stage) in Toronto. He was booted out by security (they claim he was drunk) and decided to swim the channel back into the venue only to be denied entry again yet ended up as a viral story on the Internet. We all shared stories into the wee hours of the morning and still chants of FUCKING SLAYER could be heard into the night.