by Chris Annunziata
January 26, 2016
Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ
When I first saw this tour posted, I knew I had to go. It consisted of bands with different styles. I personally like when tours have bands with different genres on the bill. I believe it livens up the show. Lamb of God has their groove metal style, Anthrax is straight-up thrash and Deafheaven is a collage of several types of metal, but mostly leaning towards a blackgaze, black metal sound. Unfortunately, I missed Power Trip’s set and the first song by Deafheaven due to traffic and guest list issues.
The songs I recognized by Deafheaven were off their latest album, New Bermuda, which were “Brought to the Water” and “Come Back”. I am pretty sure they played “Luna” and “Dream House” as well. I am not too familiar with Deafheaven and their song titles, but after hearing those songs live and listening to the tracks, I am pretty sure they played them that night. Deafheaven is a pretty good band when they play live. They performed with the lights dimmed low, which caused me to focus more on their music than on their stage presence. They are a very tight band live and sound like they do on their records. The one thing I noticed about Deafheaven is that they sure do love their blast beats. Almost every song began with a similar blast beat. Overall, Deafheaven is a good band to see live and I recommend that you go see them.
As soon as Anthrax came on stage there was a change of scenery. Deafheaven was very dark and relaxing, whereas Anthrax came out with a ton of energy and was ready to turn it up. Scott Ian is great to see live! He always looks like he is having a blast, grinning and head banging to every riff. Joey Belladonna is just so energetic, running around stage with his mic stand. They played their classics, “Caught in a Mosh”, “Indians”, and “Among the Living”, as well as some others. They also played their new song, “Evil Twin” off their upcoming record, For All Kings. Anthrax really got the crowd involved, either by moshing, head banging or singing along. They constantly looked out at the crowd to sing a phrase or to chant. Anthrax is really big on crowd participation and you can tell they feed off of it too. As the crowd got more into it, so did they. I have seen Anthrax many times and they always put on a great show, especially at Starland Ballroom. The both times I saw them there, they killed it. In general, Anthrax played another great show and continue to prove why they’re still around.
Seeing Lamb of God at Starland Ballroom is definitely an experience. Luckily, I have been fortunate enough to see them play at Starland two out of the three times they’ve played there. As always, the band had a killer set. They had a great balance of old and new songs. Obviously, they played the most off their latest record, VII: Sturm Und Drang. However, they performed a decent amount of older tracks too. They played three songs off of Ashes of the Wake and Sacrament, two off of As the Palaces Burn and one from Wrath, Resolution. They even performed a song off of New American Gospel. I was pretty surprised when they played, “The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion”. According to setlist.fm, they haven’t performed that song live since 2005. The song sounds incredible live, especially when comparing it to the album version. With Lamb’s amazing live production and Randy’s modern and improved vocal style, the song just sounded heavier. The other song of the night for me was “Overlord.” This is the first tour where they incorporated the song in their set. It was my first time hearing Randy’s clean vocals live and I think he did a great job. The song sounded just like it does on the record. “Overlord” definitely got a great response from the audience. The crowd got amped when the intro began, as well as when the bridge came in. I think Lamb of God should continue to play it on their future sets.
I have seen Lamb of God many times and it is refreshing when they play different songs. For this show, they brought back “Blackened the Cursed Sun”. I have never seen this song live before so I was really pumped. They played this song a lot during the Sacrament era, but lately, not as much. They also played “Erase This” off their latest album. Randy mentioned that it was the first time they played that song in New Jersey, which made the set even better.
As every Lamb of God fan knows, the band loves to close with “Black Label,” but unfortunately, they did not perform it this show. Typically, whenever this song is played, a wall of death emerges from the pit. It is known that the band refrains from playing this song if there is no General Admission. However, Starland is all floor. Originally, I thought they might have not played it because Starland is a smaller venue, but then I remembered they played it when I saw them back in 2013. Whatever the reason may be, they did not close with “Black Label” and instead finished off their set with “Redneck”. Either way, they ended the night with a great song.
Overall, this show was fantastic. Lamb of God, Anthrax and Deafheaven all played a great show. I would highly recommend making the time to go see every band on this bill.