LIVE: Lamb of God / Kreator / Municipal Waste @ Academy, Manchester

By Emma Stone
Three long years, we’ve waited for this night. Originally scheduled for April 2020, Lamb of God have had to regretfully postpone their ‘State of Unrest’ tour time and time again. Thankfully, this only left Lamb of God fans chomping at the bit for their favourite Virginia thrash metallers to finally land on UK soil and make their way onto our stages, and tonight in Manchester, it’s finally happening.

A last minute addition to the bill is opening act Municipal Waste, and it’s clear to see that these were the perfect choice to kick the night off. The atmosphere they bring to the room is electric; frontman Tony Foresta whipping the crowd into a frenzy, kicking the night off with ‘Demoraliser’, storming around the stage and commanding the attention of the room. Despite playing this same venue only a few months ago, their fans are visibly stoked to see them return. Weaving their way through a setlist of certified classics with a few newer tracks peppered in, they end on a high with ‘Wave Of Death’ and ‘Born to Party’, the former encouraging as many crowd surfers to make their way to the stage as physically possible in a less than 2 minute window.

Striding onstage to Iron Maiden classic ‘Run To The Hills’ is Germany’s very own Kreator. At first, it seems like they’ve got their work cut out after Municipal Waste’s triumphant opening set, and whilst they don’t quite amp the crowd up to the same level, there’s no denying the level of adoration from their fanbase. Despite their latest album not even being out for a full year yet, when they open with titular track, ‘Hate Uber Alles’, the entire crowd sing the lyrics back at Miland “Mille” Petrozza with unbridled ferocity before working their way through their celebrated back catalogue, harking all the way back to tracks off their ’85 debut album ‘Endless Pain’. Whilst they may not have managed to encourage the never ending wave of crowd surfers that Municipal Waste had going, ‘Pleasure To Kill’ sees one of the biggest mosh pits of the night. With a career spanning over 40 years, it’s great to see them still carrying the torch for good old 80’s thrash metal.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for; time for us to Walk with Lamb of God in Hell. The room erupts as the band step up to the stage, and even more so when Randy Blythe joins them. From the moment he emerges, he doesn’t stop for a second, hurtling round the stage, a non-stop juggernaut churning his way through hit after hit after hit. Only playing two tracks off their most recent album (‘Ditch’ and ‘Omens’), we’re treated to a setlist made up of all their best work; opening with ‘Memento Mori’ and merely one song later, ‘Walk With Me In Hell’, though sadly the opening three songs are plagued by some sound issues which left the vocals and guitars struggling to be heard from the back of the room. Thankfully, they pull it back, and everything from ‘Now You’ve Got Something to Die For’ to ‘Omerta’, ‘11th Hour’ into ‘512’ sounding just as heavy and lucid as they should.

Ending on the absolute gargantuan classics that are ‘Laid To Rest’ and ‘Redneck’, the crowd is a writhing mass of bodies from start to finish, throwing themselves into pit after pit to honour their heroes onstage. Whilst it was frustrating as hell every time that postponement email landed in our inboxes, there’s no denying this was one show that was definitely worth the wait.