Lamb of God & Testament
Lamb of God & Testament - Amoranto Stadium - Quezon City, Philippines 5/10
By Miguel Blardony
After ten years spent feeding the masses their yearly dose of live music, the organizers behind the Summer Slam Festival pulled no stops bringing today’s most intense metal bands on the same stage for a night billed as ‘The Apocalypse.’ By the time the gates of the Amoranto Stadium swung open at noon, where the unforgiving midday heat still bore down on those in line, a human flood quickly congregated to the open air concert grounds for the initial salvo of local acts. Fast forward a few hours later, when day was on the cusp of early evening, and in the gathering darkness yours truly and two friends inched their way to a suitable spot in the teeming cauldron that was Amoranto Stadium at the height of Slam. Post-show reports indicated that the venue was sold out and this is quite an extraordinary feat given the unchecked success of Summer Slam for the past nine years. Impervious to slowing down as they age, PULP Live Productions has just gotten stronger on their most ambitious event yet.
Upon entering the concert grounds, the feverishly excited trio composed of this writer and his buds, one of whom would experience the bitter delights of the much hyped VIP area, entrance to which cost an impressive 3,000 Pesos (around 60 USD), inclusive of much beer and unlimited pizza, twitched with anticipation for the mighty Testament. Concerning the ill-fated VIP package, it looked like a sweet deal on paper, but ensuing hassles would prove it an epic disaster. Minor tragedies aside, the concert grounds were teeming by the time U.K. rockers Fire Fall Down wrapped their brief set. An impasse would follow where a lengthy soundcheck and electric anticipation filled the air. Testament finally came on at around eight PM and once the hair-raising bombast “For The Glory Of…” wrapped, Chuck Billy lumbered to the middle of the stage and belted out “Over the Wall.” Testament’s reception was hot but owing to their age and the dearth of classic material they performed, the relatively young audience could not fully appreciate the raw power they injected on such glorious renditions of “First Strike Is Deadly,” “Into The Pit,” “Souls of Black,” “Trial By Fire.” Even cuts from their modern catalogue weren’t even reciprocated by a good-sized moshpit. Despite this, yours truly almost came in his pants when Testament let loose a two hit combo from “The Gathering,” hands down one of the most underrated metal albums ever released. Hearing “DNR” and “Three Days In Darkness” followed by choice selections from their last album thrilled this writer to no end.
Testament themselves hardly slowed down as they dominated the proceedings. Soldiering through vicious sound problems that eventually left Chuck Billy in a huff—in a rare outburst he clubbed a few speakers with his massive foot and Greg Christian had the awful experience of his bass dying on him mid-song—the band waved the thrash flag proud and loud. Despite the demons that bedeviled their hour long jaunt, Testament weren’t too full of themselves not to greet the teeming masses below. When they finally bowed out after a smoking encore of “The Formation of Damnation” the thousands who witnessed them were literally high. If Testament could perform with such unadulterated power, what more Lamb of God? Upon vacating the stage, Testament’s gear was attacked by a small army of roadies who were running on a tight schedule. Lamb of God weren’t due until an hour and a half, so in the meantime a few thousand people rushed to the nearby kiosks for beer, pizza, and free condoms. A more rapturous greeting welcomed Lamb of God’s arrival at 10 pm and as soon as the groovesome Virginians got into the business of “In Your Words” a few hundred bodies started thrashing in an extra-extra-large moshpit. With the usual assortment of weirdos and goth-punks noticeably absent from this particular Summer Slam, the larger percentage of metalheads in attendance enjoyed a monopoly of the offstage violence.
Their set list spanning the most memorable cuts from each and every album they’ve released, Lamb of God performed at a level that cemented their reputation as among the best live acts today. There may have been some pyro and a massive stage, but what set the rednecks apart was the sheer level of musicianship they managed in the live setting. From the singalong intensity of “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For,” the anthemic “Laid To Rest,” or the thunderous tempo driving the rollicking “Grace,” Randy and co. slew the crowd’s misgiving a dozen different ways. What went on that night matched LoG’s studio output and this was not lost on their audience, who reciprocated with deafening cheers that put an exclamation point at the end of each song. By the time they reached the encore of “Redneck” followed by “Black Label,” every swinging dick present was itching for a wall. When Randy finally gave the signal, several titanic maws gaped open, ready to slam shut in a boiling mass of human mince meat. By the time he hit four, the final orgasm erupted with a ferocity beyond words. You had to be there to believe it.