The Metal Tour of the Year came to its conclusion at the Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota after a little over a month run across the United States. The bill featured co-headliners Megadeth and Lamb Of God with special guests Triviumand Hatebreed. Thankfully this tour didn’t succumb to cancellations like many other tours trying to cross the country. A sold-out venue waited for a heavy dose of fist pounding metal and this tour didn’t disappoint.
Hatebreed came out with every intention of destroying the place. Led by vocalist Jamey Jasta the band blistered through a ten-track set that opened with “Empty Promises.” Jasta told the crowd it was Hatebreed’s job to warm up the crowd, and they did a lot more than that. Circle pits ignited to counter the massive energy coming off the stage. It’s impossible not to love and appreciate what they bring to the table every time they step onto the stage. The only thing that matches the intensity is how much fun they have and how they attack every second they have to play. The music is aggressive but the attitude is 100% positive and they have a way of uniting everybody in the building. The only true way to experience who and what they are, is too take in show and hear the material in its truest form, loud, unapologetic and without mercy. A couple of my favorite songs made the cut with “This Is Now” and “Looking Down the Barrel of Today” were highlights. The band ended the night with “I Will Be Heard.”
Trivium has a brand-new album set for release called ‘In The Court Of The Dragon” and that’s where the band started as they took the stage. Kicking off with the title track the Florida based unit hit with a musical precision that sliced though the building. I thought the bands last release in 2020, ‘What The Dead Men Say,” was one of the best albums released that year and this was our first taste of hearing some of those songs live. Along with the title track we also got “Catastrophist’ which sounded amazing and left me wanting to hear more of that record. Plagued with a shortened time-slot and so much material the play, they went with “Strife,” “The Heart From Your Hate” and another brand new song off the upcoming album “Feast Of Fire.” It’s hard not to get anything from ‘Ascendancy’ or ‘Shogun’ but understandable giving the slot they are in. This set delivered everything you have come to expect from a Trivium show, lots of passion, energy and songs executed with perfection. The show ended with “In Waves” and now we wait for the next album to drop (October 8th) and I would assume there will be a tour right around the corner to support it.
To put into the simplest words, the band that took over the stage next, was an absolute beast! Lamb Of God took the roof off with a set that any adrenaline junky would have enjoyed. The cement floor was bouncing like a mini-trampoline because everybody was jumping up-and-down as the chaos that was on the stage was seeping into the crowd. The energy that engulfed the Armory is something you just have to feel, and be part of, to understand its magnitude. They opened with “Memento Mori” and never looked back as they obliviated a twelve-song set. When vocalist Randy Blythe introduced the song “Walk With Me In Hell,” the stage became a fiery inferno. Flames shot up into the air throughout the stage as he stomped from side to side. The band provided its own fire that didn’t need pyro to fuel it. They were tight and ferocious and built the musical landscape to which Blythe used as his own personal playground as he leaped off anything, he could use to take flight and taking moments to windmill his dreadlocks. Some of songs that made it on to the list were “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For,” “Set To Fail,” “512,” “Ruin” and “Laid To Rest.” It was an explosive set that had fans absorbing every note as people sang, screamed, fist pumped and jumped into circle pits. The closer, “Redneck,” brought the house down and whatever energy people had left, they spent it happily. Lamb Of God put on an exhilarating show and after a long period of no concerts, people were clearly ready to go from the moment they took the stage.
The legendary and proud member of the Big 4, Megadeth, would take the stage to close out the night. They opened the show with a track from one of the most important albums in metal history, ‘Rust In Peace,” the thrash classic “Hanger 18.” Just like the bands before them, you could hear the roar of the crowd as they took the stage. Dave Mustaine is the only original member left that created some of the most iconic and influential metal every recorded but the band he had assembled was flawless. Kiko Loureiro on guitar, Dirk Verbeuren was on the kit and James LoMenzo, recently tapped to cover bass for the tour, excecated the material that met the high standards of Megadeth fans. It was really a breath of fresh air to see Mustaine on stage and ripping through those massive riffs and shredding those blazing solos. We all know of the cancer battle he went through and then the pandemic shut the world down from concerts. I wondered if we had seen the last of Megadeth, but this tour, and seeing this band back on stage, is a heavy indicator that there is still gas in the tank. The perfect set-list could be debated for days but to close out the final date we got “The Threat Is Real,” “Sweating Bullets,” “Trust,” “She-Wolf” and the massive hit “Symphony Of Destruction.” The best was saved for last as, for me, the two most important songs in catalog came next. “Peace Sells,” was the tune that pulled me into the band, and “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due,” a genre defining song, that never gets old live. As the lights went down on this show and the tour, I can only hope that this is just the beginning of tours to come. If you were born metal, live and breathe metal, this is exactly where you needed to be and where you need to go in the future.