Slipknot & Lamb of God @ Qudos Arena, Sydney 29/10/2016

"Mr 7 if you will..."

In Hearts Wake me when it’s over. Too harsh you might say, though rest assured the harshness was felt by my eardrums, most certainly my general sense of propriety and injured everything I love about heavy metal so we’re even. Metalcore; metal’s version of a boy band. It wasn’t the 45 minute song they played; those fucking choreographed ‘bee fighting’ dance moves I have grown to detest or the fact that the vocalist’s range is rapidly cracking under the pressure already. It’s simply that this genre of metal has lost its capacity to innovate and this particular type of overdone, redundant and generic claptrap will never hold any substance with me. Though the kids of the floor seemed to eat it up…  

This is a motherfucking invitation, the only one you could ever need. Indeed, a Lamb of God set is one every self-respecting metal head needs to see at least ten times in their lifetime. I closed in on this number last night at Qudos Arena with what is a rite of passage for the one’s fierce enough to stand up to the crushing mosh pits they incite – A Lamb of God mosh pit isn’t for the timid; cowering is not an option either.  And last night in Sydney was certainly no exception. The sheer force Lamb of God pump out of their bodies is intimidating. This force is then soused throughout the crowd as we detonated the floor in a somewhat survival of the fittest scenario. Conversely Lamb of God with all their power and dominance are just not designed for arena shows; the sound, though musically fucking slaughtering alas is lost in this vast space – one of the band’s most prolific songs, Ruin; a song that fucking ignited the mosh pit last night lost certain intricate details – where the fuck was my cowbell?!! *sad panda* Nonetheless as soon as Randy Blythe hit that stage, he took us on a perilous stroll as we walked with him in hell. Lamb of God is the blue collar workers band, nothing but instinctive brutality and authenticity and don’t forget an untiring malevolence. Guitarist, Mark Morton was an inferno, carving away at some of metal’s grooviest riffs and strengthened by the insanity that is Chris Adler on drums; this man is everything they say his is. Pfft a mere man, no. This is an immortal.    

Geez we get excited when an opportunity pops up to swear loudly – Laid to Rest certainly generated one of the most vicious circle pits I’ve ever witnessed and as it gained in momentum a despairing and vulnerable Slipknot fan dressed as Clown was in the dead centre of this anarchy. Completely surrounded by the brute angst he was besieged by the horde of Lamb of God fans like bees swarming an invading wasp...  We weren’t gently entertained, no, no - we were violently taken by the throat and absorbed into Lamb of God’s fury. Engage the Fear Machine and Blacken The Cursed Sun will have left some bruises this morning that’s for sure…. The crowd mustered up every last bit of energy they had as Lamb of God took no prisoners with Redneck, the fucking precision of this band was overwhelming and the bodies on the floor contorted like a feverish fucking mess; a redneck mud-rasslin’ mess! Lamb of God took no prisoners last night.

Have you ever seen 15,000 metal heads get down and funky to Bowie’s ‘Fashion’? Have you also ever seen the same 15,000 metal heads absolutely lose their fucking minds in unison? I witnessed this once the main act hit the stage…. The phenomenon that graced most of our teenage years was ready to take this 15,000 strong maggot legion to oblivion and back. Slipknot. Pulverizing us from the get go; they had one errand to run last night and that was to leave the entirety of the arena completely and utterly destroyed…. In a good way. You can’t refute Slipknot’s contribution to modern heavy metal – is it the gimmick that irritates you? Yeah they have a gimmick but so does Gorgoroth; there was a time in the mid-nineties where there was a need for a stand up aggression from metal heads – young metal heads. Slipknot have always fought for the beaten down and although I haven’t kept up to date with Slipknot since 2004’s Subliminal Verses III; though from the live renditions of The Devil In I and Custer taken from the band’s most recent album; The Gray Chapter, it was clear to all the cynics that Slipknot are as rancorous and unwavering as ever. The Gray Chapter was a fusion of the aggression of Slipknot’s most famous album Iowa and the artistic direction of the band’s most significant album Subliminal Verses III and the result was a definite continuation of their pulse within metal enthusiasts – and for the 15,000 fans that were there to support them once more.

The stage was lit with an unconscionable amount of colour and the mosh pit was an iridescent maggoty mess of bodies as the band tore in with an impressive set list including Disasterpiece, Eyeless, and… Before I Forget – that unmistakable initial riff handed out by Mr. 7 had the masses elated with determination to destroy everything around them. Say what you want to say about Corey Taylor and his 8 masked men; the institution that is Slipknot had an intense effect on the 90’s generation of metal heads. The pulse of the maggots resonates today; a union sworn to stand up for the unconventional. And the fight was strong in the pit as the band hit harder and harder with each track, unrelenting as The Heretic Anthem began. Shit went flying; water bottles, shoes - clothing it was fucking insane. Bodies literally airborne, rising through the storm that was now building on the floor. A mosh pit I have asserted never to enter because, well I like my teeth…    

The absence of Clown for the Sydney set due to a family emergency was definitely felt and had the band pushing their hardest to make up for the dynamism and oomph Shawn Crahan brings to their live performance - the Iowa natives held their own. After all the show must go on and as expected there was never a dull moment as the assault kept coming; Wait and Bleed and encores Surfacing and Duality absolutely threw the crowds into riot and Corey had the crowds right where he wanted them spitting it out, spitting everything they out.