Lamb of God, Kreator and Municipal Waste at Manchester Academy

Following three years of delays, Virginia Groove Metal masters Lamb of God and German Thrash Metal titans Kreator finally made it to UK stages and landed in Manchester to deliver a show that promised nothing but extreme aggression. Municipal Waste would act as support for these shenanigans. 

First up was Virginia based Thrash Metal party thrashers, Municipal Waste in their second appearance in Manchester in 6 months following their appearance with Anthrax. It’s really admirable how many songs they can fit into a half an hour set, the fact that so many of their best tracks are under 3 minutes long make them the perfect opening band even before you took the quality of the songs into question, which are highly entertaining and engaging Thrash Metal. 

Municipal Waste have become a massive name in Thrash over the last few years and their live show absolutely lives up to that. With high energy ragers like Breathing Grease and You’re Cut Off to stomping mid tempo steamroller like Thrashin of the Christ, a contender for funniest song title in metal.  Municipal Waste came to the end of their set with minimal issues with security but they intended to change that with Wave of Death, the song that helped earn them a world record for most crowd surfers in a single song. The security person closest to me looked at the crowd like he was experiencing a past life of warfare but the whole team banded together and ensured everyone was safe and free of injuries just like how any great show would. 

The mighty Kreator took to the stage next as they began their blitzkrieg of Manchester with the scream-along chorus of Hate Uber Alles. It’s strange to think that Kreator has so many songs with memorable choruses and sing along moments but they played another one with Hail to the Hordes. 

Kreator have no shortage of just outright thrashers, Enemy of God shifts and changes a lot but at its heart it is a masterpiece of riding the open E at breakneck pace before culminating in the wild and flailing guitar work of Mille and guitarist Sami Yli Sirniö as well as some really melodic harmonised guitar work that the German Thrash scene has helped make so iconic.

Hordes of Chaos is another similar thrasher that is more dedicated to brutality and going as fast humanly possible and these are instances that are likely to win over those just here for Lamb of God. Frontman Miller Petrozza at times seemed a little tired but these moments rarely lasted long as there was always an incredible moment just around the corner to give him that burst of energy. Kreator took a few occasions to slow down with the mid tempo grinding of Phobia and Satan is Real, both of which would go on to become setlist staples and fan favourites among the Thrash community even if they are at risk of being a bit corny. 

Kreator are a band that take themselves fairly seriously but have a tendency to be utterly ridiculous in the best way possible, Miller Petrozza signalled the introduction to Flag of Hate by waving a literal flag of hate in a moment that was so silly yet simultaneously amazing. The fact that Kreator are so straight faced with this gimmick as well as the hanging corpses that decorated the set and the people in costum who appeared during Violent Revolution make them all the more endearing, to call it adorable may seem patronising but it really is the best way to describe it. 

There were some bigger tracks that didn’t fit onto the setlist, Coma of Souls and Extreme Aggression were strange omissions but there are only so many songs you can fit onto a co-headline set and hopefully they won’t take another 7 years to return. 

Finally, Lamb of God started with the brooding clean tones of Memento Mori with an absolutely unmatchable atmosphere before the band bursts on stage with some of the best drumming you’ll ever hear in the metal scene, as well as Randy Blythe’s vocals having long since transcended music and become a force of nature. 

Randy has an absolutely unmatchable stage presence, he balances coming seeming like a down to earth and likeable frontman with being a force of destructive rage like nobody else and his classic iconic drum riser jump which would shatter the ankles of lesser frontman make it an absolutely incredible sight. Walk With Me in Hell is a rhythmically complex song with some incredible guitar work with some deceptively difficult riffing but nobody on stage missed a beat and the band maintained their reputation as one of the tightest bands in the scene. 

There are a number of classic spoken word introductions in metal that metalheads can quote verbatim and it’s time we added Omerta to that list, the second Randy said “such is the rule of honour…” the band began a crushing series of slower riffs that may not be the prettiest or the most technical but they are endlessly effective and may even be one of the band’s best tracks. Lamb of God’s self titled album was divisive but it sounds so much better live as they’re able to ramp up the intensity in a way that a studio album will never be able to replicate, Resurrection Man was the only other track from this album and its slower stomping pace was a change but gave the crowd absolutely no time to slow down. 

The encore was where the real heavyweights came in, Vigil was a crushing track that kept shifting and changing from riff to riff and breakdown to breakdown in a way that flowed amazingly and made for some of the most abrasive chugging moments of the night before hitting the accelerator and showing off some of the most incredible drumming you will ever hear in the metal scene from Art Cruz, a name that will soon become legendary among drummers. 

The legendary thrasher Laid To Rest came next, a staple of their show and a masterpiece of extreme metal that doesn’t sacrifice melody or rhythm and finally Lamb of God ended with Redneck, a song that requires no introduction or description, it acted as an invitation for the entire room to go insane and there were very few people standing still during this track. 

Lamb of God have taken up a residency at the Manchester Academy, it’s hard to imagine them playing at another venue in this city and while it took them 3 years to finally get here, it was worth the wait. 

Word by Dale Unsworth 

Photos by Philip Goddard 


Philip Goddard

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