THERE are three abiding images from Lamb of God's Belfast show in the Limelight1 in Belfast on August 12th that reflect the intensity of the show.
Randy Blythe stalking the stage like a caged beast ready to unleash his intellectual bile; a crowd surfer being ushered to the side by staff with a massive smile on his face; and, a beautiful girl in checked shirt heading for the bar with a snarl on her face as she sang along.
This was not the first ever visit to Belfast by Lamb of God, but it was the first visit by TesseracT. While they are a band with a certain cult following it was a mismatch in terms of the headliners, and this progressive, delicate style.
Drawing from debut album One and the more recent Altered States the sound separation and vocals suffered a little in the mix, leading to a muddiness in parts of the venue for TesseracT's textured sounds.
While the same issues affected Blythe's vocals in parts of the hall, for the most part the sound was spot on as riffs rained down on a quite devoted collection of rabid fans down the front.
For a pleasant man off stage Blythe is a menacing presence when performing, pacing back and forward behind co-conspirators in noise in Mark Morton, Willie Adler and John Campbell, while Chris Adler pounded the grooves into submission.
And when it comes to singing, Blythe's threatening stance, with foot atop the monitor, bent over, and torturing microphone and audience alike is an engaging spectacle for all the messages he delivers that challenge the conventional.
By the time Desolation shredded the opening, it was a straight run through with latest album Resolution given a fair airing: It is a reflection of the adulation fans hold for the Richmond five piece that newer tracks kike Ghost Walking and The Undertow receive the same greeting as standards such as Walk With Me in Hell and Now You've Got Something To Die For.
Blythe's plea to look after each other in the pit, as well as his reflections at being back in Ireland after "some legal difficulties" prompted his name being chanted, between the singing of Lamb of God.
Tight, and nailed down, the four-song encore opened with an introduction (The Passing) which many bands would have reserved for the opening sequence; but the finale of Redneck and Black Label saw the band's already high energy levels rise and rise again feeding off the crowd, leaving vocals redundant as hundreds shorted out a "motherf***ing invitation". Black Label even saw Blythe briefly take over guitar riffing duties in what he claimed to be a first for the band.
Lamb of God are a band that have emerged, quite literally, through the ranks; merging thrash, groove, punk and a metal attitude into a mixer before topping with lyrical excellence.
Coming so soon after Bloodstock and a Dublin date Lamb of God retained a barrage of noise and shredding in a set that was exactly the right amount of time for the audience to revel in, mosh, crowd surf and for others to just stand back and revel in the performance.
With a January UK tour just announced, Belfast can attest that this is a band ready to affirm its rise to yet further in the metal pantheon of emerging greats.