Lamb of God returns to their roots as they rock forward

At Lamb of God's brief but intense nine-song set, fans moshed and screamed toward the sky. The appetite for their music was loud and strong.

“We love watching people have fun out there,” bassist John Campbell says. “If they want to slam dance, that’s up to them. It’s cool watching people sing along or just do something aside from only standing there. I appreciate fans who really have fun out there.”

The death metal act performed on a bill that also included Slayer, Anthrax and Testament.

And while the band is having a blast, Campbell acknowledges the band is looking forward to delivering full sets when they headline a summer tour that will bring them to The Ritz in Raleigh June 11.

“This has been an incredible tour being out with Anthrax, who are one of the greatest touring bands out now, and with Slayer, who have written some of the best, most perfect metal songs ever,” Campbell said in an interview after the show, calling from Uncasville, Conn.

“The guys in Slayer are generous and kind dudes," he said. "They’re awesome. It’s their final tour and we’re witnessing it. I can’t express how cool that is.”

Lamb of God has nine albums to draw from, including the recent album “Legion: XX,” which dropped last month and was recorded under the band’s original moniker Burn the Priest.

“We’re looking forward to slipping in a few (concerts) in which we can play all night,” Campbell says. “We have a lot to draw from and it always feels better after we play an entire set."

The new album is comprised of covers from the early ‘90s. The tunes from Ministry, Quicksand and Bad Brains are from an era when the line between punk and metal was blurred.

“That was an incredible time,” Campbell says. “It was the formative years for me. You don’t hear songs like Ministry’s 'Jesus Built My Hotrod' or Quicksand’s 'Dine Alone' or the Melvins' 'Honey Bucket' anymore. The covers album was a project we wanted to do for years. We finally found the time. Growing up listening to those bands made me want to be in a band.”

Campbell came of age listening to a steady diet of Washington, DC, hardcore bands, such as Minor Threat and Fugazi. Those straight-edge bands discouraged moshing, but Campbell and his bandmates encourage fans to express themselves during their shows.

Campbell appreciates that Lamb of God still exists. Considering the current jaunt is the swan song for Slayer, he understand the lifespan of a band.

The band's future was uncertain after Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe was arrested by the Czech police in 2012 following a Lamb of God show in Prague in 2010. Blythe was charged with committing intentional bodily harm after he was accused of pushing a teen fan off of a stage. The fan hit his head on the floor and died.

“We had to consider that the band might be finished,” Campbell says. “It’s different from what Slayer is going through. They’re ending the band on their own terms. I’ll never forget going through the psychological shock. I didn’t know if my band would ever play again.”

But the Prague court found that Blythe was not criminally liable.

“We quickly came back, and we really get how fortunate we are,” Campbell says. “That whole experience was so jolting but we came back and look forward to playing everywhere and we look back at where we have played as well.”

Campbell recalls playing a club in Garner during Lamb of God’s early years. “I remember how enthusiastic the audience was there, so we’re looking forward to Raleigh. There’s always good crowds in Raleigh.”


Who: Lamb of God

When: 8 p.m. June 11

Where: The Ritz, 2820 Industrial Drive, Raleigh

Tickets: $35

Info: 919-424-1400 or ritzraleigh.com

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