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REVIEW: Lamb of God Invites Arizona to See the Omens at Arizona Financial Theatre (10-14-22)

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PHOENIX – In support of their new album Omens, Lamb of God performed with Killswitch Engage at the recently renamed Arizona Financial Theatre. Nearing the end of the approximately 2-month long “Omens” tour, an impressive slate of east coast bands was completed with acts Fit for an Autopsy from New Jersey, and the Washington D.C. progressive metal band Animals As Leaders.

There are certain elements that are expected at every metal show: One is a circle pit, which – for the uninitiated – is what it sounds like: a moving circle of humanity, some slamming into others, and others just there to run around and avoid those hits. Most in those pits walk away with mutual respect for everyone else who partook, and it is a staple for most shows no matter the size. Another would be passing by religious protests outside of the venue. While the protesters are mostly there to yell at attendees, they also provide comic relief for the fans of a band that used to be named “Burn the Priest.” There is also an unwritten rule that a metal show should have fire of some sort, and to the delight of the pyros in the audience, this show delivered.f

Fit for an Autopsy

Joe Badolato (Vocalist), Fit for an Autopsy
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Smoke rose from the stage as the pit filled and fans trickled to their seats. Drummer Josean Orta, guitarist and backing vocalist Pat Sheridan, guitarist Tim Howley, and bassist Blue Spinazola of Fit for an Autopsy (FFFA) took to the stage, with the first note of “Sea of Tragic Beasts” shortly following. Lead vocalist Joe Badolato erupted onto the stage, yelling out “ARIZONA!” before singing the first lines of “Tragic Beasts.”

FFAA have previously stated that they get their inspiration from Lamb of God (LoG), and in fact, Badolato temporarily replaced LoG lead vocalist Randy Blythe when he contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. Fit for an Autopsy released a cover of “Walk With Me In Hell,” which Metal Hammer postulates is even heavier than the LoG original release. 

Tim Howley (Guitarist), Fit for an Autopsy
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Indeed, while it is possible to draw parallels between the two, FFAA is often heavier than their idols. Badolato stalks the stage, headbanging between lines, and implored the crowd to bring their energy levels up. For some, a 4-hour long metal concert means a slightly less than energetic reaction to the opener, no matter how heavy they are. Badolato did his best to bring up the energy in the venue, so at one point – right before “Pandora” – he told the crowd that the song “involves a very massive circle pit, the biggest one this room has ever seen.” The fans gladly placated him, quickly forming a circle pit for the duration of the song.

Joe Badolato (Vocalist), Fit for an Autopsy
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

As the set drew to a close, Badolato spoke about his time in the Phoenix area, mentioning he had lived there for a year during the pandemic, and noted his mother was currently at the concert. What Badolato didn’t mention was the fact he had owned a barbershop next to The Nile in downtown Mesa during his time in Arizona. He is a talented barber who regularly gives those on tour with him haircuts and beard trims.

Animals As Leaders

Matt Garstka (Drummer), Animals As Leaders
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

The next band to take the stage was Animals As Leaders (AAL) – a trio of exceptionally talented musicians: Guitarists Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes, and drummer Matt Garstka. There was but a single microphone on stage, set in front of Abasi, who used it sparingly. The music speaks for itself, with Garstka putting on an absolute clinic behind the kit. The ease at which he plays complex and technical beats are borderline unfair, and he is known as something of a prodigy. Currently just 33, he joined the band at 23 and has been blowing the minds of audiences ever since. Drum Magazine wrote an article – albeit nearly a decade ago – about the technical prowess of Garstka, and it seems the only thing that has changed is his skills have simply increased. 

Tosin Abasi (Guitarist), Animals As Leaders
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

AAL being a three-person band means that each member needs to be able to perform at the top of their game, night-in to night-out. Reyes and Abasi do just that, and what these two wizards do with their 8-string guitars is something that no one would want to miss. In fact, as soon as they left the stage, the many in the pit – and the audience in the seats – made a beeline for the restrooms and concession stands. In a genre where it is not surprising to see two or three guitar players and a bass player, watching these two execute some incredibly complex patterns with no margin for error, producing sounds that normally take full bands to accomplish, it is no wonder that the theater stood in rapt attention, watching and soaking up every single note that poured forth from the trio. 

Javier Reyes (Guitarist), Animals As Leaders
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Compared to the other three frontmen in the night’s lineup, Abasi was a soft spoken – yet firm – and calm voice between the 6 songs the band performed. The set opened with 2016’s “Arithmophobia” – a song first performed live at the now defunct Livewire in Scottsdale, Arizona – and then showcased 4 songs from their newest album, The Madness of Many, before the band circled back to “CAFO” from their 2009 self-titled debut album. Before CAFO started, Abasi asked the crowd to give the crowd a round of applause for each of the other bands before saying, “this is going to be our last one of the evening. We’ll catch you next time we’re in Phoenix, take care.”  

Killswitch Engage

Jesse Leach (Vocalist), Killswitch Engage
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Killswitch Engage seemingly has become a staple in the Phoenix music scene, even though they’re based far across the country. This was the third time in this past year that they had performed in the Phoenix area, but there was no sign of fatigue from fans. The repeated appearances could also be due to the tour manager having roots in the area; a bonus for the band since the manager has contacts with local businesses and can get some great local brews delivered. 

Justin Foley (Drummer), Killswitch Engage
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

As they took the stage, the difference between the size of the drum kit that AAL’s Garstka uses and that of Killswitch Engage’s drummer, Justin Foley, is notable. Foley prefers a smaller drum kit – a simple set-up compared to the monster that Garstka uses – but he is a master behind the kit. Literally; he has a masters degree from Hartt School of Music and has played with symphony orchestras in the past. It cannot be emphasized enough: Garstka and Foley are genius drummers, and to see the two back-to-back is a rare treat. 

Mike D’Antonio (Bassist), Killswitch Engage
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

The rest of Killswitch Engage is vocalist Jesse Leach, guitarists Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz, and bassist Mike D’Antonio. Leach, while an intense presence onstage, does not have the angry, caged-animal style Badolato and Blythe share. Instead, he moves around from side to side with something that could be considered grace if one were to compare him to his contemporaries.

Jesse Leach (Vocalist), Killswitch Engage
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

There is a mutual interaction – something unspoken if you will – between Leach and the fans. It is not to say the other bands cannot connect with the audience, it is instead that Leach focuses on connecting to the fans onstage, and his charisma shines through naturally. At one point, he stated that “At the end of the day, it’s all about unity man, it’s all about us coming together to have a good time.” He also made a point to ask how the people up in the nosebleeds were doing, and after asking if they have a bar up there, he said, “At least they’re taking care of you up there!” 

Adam Dutkiewicz (Guitarist), Killswitch Engage
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

As the night drew to a close, the band jumped into their cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver”, a song they released in 2007. After it finished, Leach acknowledged the fans who sang the entire song, and then paid tribute to Ronnie James Dio by saying, “You have to pay respect for the masters, the ones who have paved the road for us.” Leach closed the night out by dedicating “The Signal Fire” to their managers, saying they had taken care of them in their 20s, and now they’re “old pricks.” As that song wrapped, Leach told the fans, “We love you!” before leaving the stage. 

Lamb of God

Lamb of God
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

As the crews rushed out to set the stage for Lamb of God, a curtain was lowered, covering the stage and raising the anticipation for this upcoming spectacle. The song “Memento Mori” began to play as the lights fell – inciting cheers as a backlit, swaying silhouette of Blythe appeared. He sang the first few lines of the song in a surprisingly controlled, quiet – relatively speaking – manner. Then, a concussive pyrotechnical effect exploded, the curtain fell, and the night devolved into a maelstrom of noise, fireballs, and screaming guitars. 

Randy Blythe (Vocalist), Lamb of God
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

As mentioned, Blythe has the stage presence of a caged beast; one that prowls in open, plain view, looking for his next prey to pounce on. His audience is utterly captive, and responds to his commands with glee. Circle pits opened, grew, shrank, and bodies surfed to the front of the stage where security helped them down to safety. Those who made it up to the front would then run back around and join the pit, where the entire process would start all over again. 

John Campbell (Bassist), Lamb of God
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

There was a sense of euphoria in the air during this show, mixed with the overwhelming sonic boom that LoG produces. Blythe is joined onstage by guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, drummer Art Cruz, and bassist John Campbell.

Art Cruz (Drummer), Lamb of God
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

It is hard, if not impossible, to overstate just how much talent crossed the stage on this night. There is a bit of duality with Blythe; the character you see on stage is diametrically opposed to the person who he is offstage. The angsty, stalking beast exists in the way he approaches the issues of social justice – directed at the oppressors – but he is also an example of integrity. His arrest in the Czech Republic in 2012 is an example of this, and he made brief mention of his arrest before the start of “512,” which was inspired by his experience. An excerpt from his book on this matter can be found in the Rolling Stone article, “Lamb of God Singer Reveals What He Remembers of Deadly 2010 Czech Show.” 

Randy Blythe (Vocalist), Lamb of God
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Once “512” ended, he announced – to the frenzied cheering of the crowd – that they would be playing “Grayscale,” the 8th song off of Omens, live for the very first time. In typical LoG fashion, the entire album is a ridiculously incredible display of lyrical mastery as well as the artistry that comes from the masters of guitar and drum, providing Blythe a wonderful tapestry to weave his vocals onto. The album is a must have for anyone who even remotely enjoys LoG, as it is another banger of an LP from the legendary band. 

Randy Blythe (Vocalist), Lamb of God
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

Throughout the night, Blythe made mention of the first show that the band had played at this venue 16 years ago with Megadeath. In the 16 years since first playing at the venue, LoG has returned 7 times, and is currently one of the few – if not the only – bands to play under all four names the theater has had. The venue currently known as “Arizona Financial Theatre” has had the names Dodge, Comerica, and Arizona Federal over the 20 years since it opened in downtown Phoenix. It is a very popular spot for LoG, as they have played half of their Arizona gigs in the venue since 2006, for a total of 8 shows there in 16 years.

Randy Blythe (Vocalist) & Willie Adler (Guitarist), Lamb of God
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

The end comes even if no one is ready for it or really wants it to happen, and after thanking the crowd, jumping off the stage and singing with the front row of the mosh pit, and after the fiery stage show, it was time for Lamb of God to say goodbye.

Mark Morton (Guitarist), Lamb of God
| Photography:
Katherine Amy Vega © All Rights Reserved

The last song of the night was “Redneck,” off the 2006 album Sacrament, released shortly before the first show they played at this theater known by many names. As the song came to a close, another concussive blast shook the venue, and the night officially ended. With quite a large fanbase in the area, there is little doubt that Phoenix will again see these four bands that are exceptionally technically adept and soul-shaking.

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Photographer: Katherine Amy Vega

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Lamb of God | Killswitch Engage | Animals As Leaders | Fit for an Autopsy

Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Animals As Leaders, & Fit for an Autopsy – Arizona Financial Theatre 10-14-22

Photography © Katherine Amy Vega, Kataklizmic Design
All Rights Reserved.

LAMB OF GOD Reveals New Album & Tour Details

Lamb of God follows 2020’s No. 1 Hard Rock Album with a vicious new testament. Riding high on a creative renaissance saluted by the likes of Rolling Stone and NME, the Grammy-nominated goliath returns with the gloriously unhinged Omens, produced by longtime collaborator Josh Wilbur (Korn, Megadeth).

Omens Arrives October 7

The first single, “Nevermore,” arrives on Friday, June 10. Omens follows on October 7 via Epic Records.

Lamb of God Omens album cover
Lamb of God’s “Omens” album artwork

The New Wave Of American Heavy Metal architects will support the new album with a massive Live Nation produced U.S. headlining tour, The Omens Tour, featuring special guests Killswitch Engage on all dates. Different legs will also see support from Baroness, Motionless In White, Spiritbox, Animals As Leaders as well as Suicide Silence and Fit For An Autopsy. The tour kicks off September 9 in Brooklyn and runs through October 20, see full routing below. Tickets go on sale starting Friday, June 10 at 10am local time here.

Citi is the official card of the The Omens Tour. Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets beginning Tuesday, June 7 at 10am ET until Thursday, June 9 at 10pm local time through the Citi Entertainment program. For complete presale details visit Citi Entertainment®

“Two decades ago, Lamb of God, along with Killswitch Engage, were a part of a new wave of American heavy metal music. Our scene grew from a small, loosely connected network of underground shows in basements and warehouses, into a global phenomenon that helped define an entire generation of modern heavy metal. We are thrilled to announce The Omens Tour, which celebrates not only the perseverance and impact of that original movement, but also the creativity and originality of the bands that it influenced. Heavy metal is alive and well. The Omens Tour proudly showcases the depth and diversity of our scene. This is not a tour to miss.” – Mark Morton

Densely muscular, soaked in unnerving spite, with a pessimistic eye toward inner struggles and global affairs alike, Omens is a furious entry in the Lamb Of God catalog, perhaps their angriest album yet. “The world is crazy and keeps changing. Omens is a reaction to the state of the world,” explains vocalist D. Randall Blythe. “It’s a very pissed-off record.” He pauses for emphasis. “It is extremely pissed-off.”

Omens is also Lamb Of God’s most diverse affair. The band tracked live in the room together at Henson Recording Studios (formerly A&M Studios) in Los Angeles, California, a location that birthed classics from The Doors, Pink Floyd, The Ramones, and Soundgarden, among others. “The inner workings of the band have never been better,” explains guitarist Mark Morton. “You can hear it in Omens. You can see it in our performances, and if you’re around us for five minutes, you can feel it.”

The Omens album pre-order is live now here, boasting several exclusive items, including a signed colored vinyl variant, shirt, hoodie, and signed CDs with an alternate color cover. All physical CD and Vinyl releases will include a free access code to watch the livestream viewing of “The Making of Omens” documentary, which will premiere the week of album release.

Omens Tracklist:

  1. Nevermore
  2. Vanishing
  3. To The Grave
  4. Ditch
  5. Omens
  6. Gomorrah
  7. Ill Designs
  8. Grayscale
  9. Denial Mechanism
  10. September Song
Lamb of God Omens Tour

The Omens Tour dates:

Lamb of God w/ Killswitch Engage, Baroness, Suicide Silence

  • Sep 09 – Brooklyn, NY – Coney Island
  • Sep 10 – Camden, NJ – Freedom Mortgage Pavilion
  • Sep 11 – Alton, VA – Blue Ridge Music Festival
  • Sep 13 – Youngstown, OH – Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater
  • Sep 14 – Baltimore, MD – Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena
  • Sep 16 – Atlanta, GA – Coca Cola Roxy
  • Sep 17 – Jacksonville, FL – Daily’s Place
  • Sep 18 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
  • Sep 21 – Boston, MA – MGM Music Hall at Fenway
  • Sep 23 – Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life Festival *No KSE, No Suicide Silence
  • Sep 24 – Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
  • Sep 25 – Sterling Heights, MI – Michigan Lottery Amp at Freedom Hill
  • Sep 26 – Indianapolis, IN – TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park
  • Sep 30 – Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium

Lamb of God w/ Killswitch Engage, Motionless In White, Fit For An Autopsy

  • Oct 01 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Great SaltAir
  • Oct 02 – Grand Junction, CO – Amphitheater at Las Colonias Park *
  • Oct 04 – Fresno, CA – Exhibit Hall at Selland Arena
  • Oct 07 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock Festival *No Fit For An Autopsy

Lamb of God w/ Killswitch Engage, Spiritbox, Fit For An Autopsy

  • Oct 09 – Vancouver, BC – Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre
  • Oct 10 – Kent (Seattle), WA – Accesso ShoWare Center *
  • Oct 11 – Portland, OR – Theater of the Clouds

Lamb of God w/ Killswitch Engage, Animals As Leaders, Fit For An Autopsy

  • Oct 13 – Inglewood, CA – YouTube Theater
  • Oct 14 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Federal Theater
  • Oct 15 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater
  • Oct 16 – El Paso, TX – UTEP Don Haskins Center
  • Oct 18 – San Antonio, TX – Freeman Coliseum
  • Oct 19 – Houston, TX – 713 Music Hall
  • Oct 20 – Irving, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

*Not A Live Nation Date

Lamb of God is:

  • D. Randall Blythe – Vocals
  • Mark Morton – Guitar
  • Willie Adler – Guitar
  • John Campbell – Bass
  • Art Cruz – Drums

Lamb of God online:

Featured photo (top) by Travis Shinn

Coffee, Comics, and Wine Coming from Musicians – Is This A New Fad?

co-written by Katherine Amy Vega & Nate Wert

March, 2020 – in just a few short months, the world went from whispers about a mysterious new virus overseas to a growing buzz around the virus and some signs of concerns. In mid-March, the unthinkable happened: the bars, concert halls, stadiums, and every other live music venue went dark as the virus took root and started to spread quickly worldwide. 

As the music world reeled from the sudden and shocking shutdown – and as it became painfully apparent that we would likely be throwing a birthday party for the “two weeks to flatten the curve” promise – bands started looking into different ways to stay relevant during the shutdown. 

During the past year, we have seen releases of coffee, graphic novels, and wine from the likes of Lamb of God, Jimmy Eat World, and Incubus.

In August of 2020, Lamb of God announced their Memento Mori medium roast coffee, in collaboration with Nightflyer Roastworks, owned by the guitarist of Between The Buried and Me.

Jimmy Eat World recently made their 555 graphic novel with z2 Comics, conceptualized from the uncharacteristically sci-fi music video for “555”, available for pre-orders with an expected release date of May 21, 2021.

Incubus’ Make Yourself Foundation has a long history of partnering with various organizations over the years – at least 47 since 2003 – and is partnering with Rebellium Wines on the limited stock “Our Love” Rosé. The label was designed by artists at Secure the Arts, an organization whose ethos is described simply as: “Rebels, trouble makers, the round pegs in the square holes.

One might think it is possible that Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria with The Amory Wars comic series, and Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) with Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards, largely paved the way for such releases from musicians. Each of Coheed and Cambria’s studio albums (except The Color Before the Sun) tell a chapter of The Amory Wars, beginning with the release of the album Second Stage Turbine Blade in 2002. As a descendant of northern Italian winemakers, Keenan’s passion for winemaking is in his blood: the aptly titled 2010 documentary Blood Into Wine offers insight into his journey, creativity, and personal growth involved in this fruitful endeavor. 

This begs the question as to whether these were aspirations of other artists prior to the pandemic.

Comics & Graphic Novels

Long before becoming frontman of the legendary My Chemical Romance, a young Gerard Way found his passion in comics. Pursuing a career in comics, in 1999 Way graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He created Eisner-award winning The Umbrella Academy series (2007) – which went on to become a wildly popular series on Netflix that has a third season in the works – followed by comic mini-series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2013) and co-founded DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint (2016). 

Canadian electropop artist Lights wrote and illustrated her own comic Skin&Earth – a story of a girl looking for hope in a hopeless world – along with her album by the same name in 2017. Following suit, dancing electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling, well known for editing her own music videos, creating the costumes she wears, and having a huge hand in the choreography of her videos and shows, released her own comic book Artemis in 2019. In it, the story of her album of the same name comes to life, adding another layer of complexity to the already fantastic album.

In 2004, Courtney Love co-wrote the manga series Princess Ai about a female rock star that Love described as, “like my alter ego, bust in a fantasy setting.” The manga was illustrated by Ai Yazawa, the acclaimed artist behind the award-winning music-based manga NANA (2000-2009), which focuses on the pursuits, rise, relationships, and mentality of members of the fictional bands Black Stones (aka BLAST) and Trapnest.

z2 Comics actually specializes in helping musicians tell stories through graphic novels. In addition to Jimmy Eat World, they have worked with Poppy, Gorillaz, Machine Gun Kelly, Dance Gavin Dance, and Ice Nine Kills, to name a few.  

In May of 2017, MentalFloss.com offered “10 Musicians Who Have Also Written Comic Books”, detailing some interesting releases from Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), Rob Zombie, Tyrese, Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s), and more. Interestingly, many of the musicians mentioned explore post-apocalyptic themes in their comics in their pre-pandemic releases.


Touring is a grind in and of itself, and many bands turn to coffee to wake themselves up in the morning and keep themselves going throughout the day. Indeed, DrinksFeed.com posted “Metal bands with coffee brands” in February 2020, confirming that many bands have offered their own branded brews, including Korn, Metallica, and Judas Priest.  Separate from their bands’ branding, David Ellefson of Megadeth owns the coffee business Ellefson Coffee Co., and Joey Kramer of Aerosmith offers a subscription for his coffee brand Rockin’ & Roastin’.

Lamb of God’s second signature coffee, the Overlord dark roast, was revealed in December of 2020. Frontman Randy Blythe mused, “I like my coffee strong, dark, and BLACK like my soul.” Both blends’ beans were grown in El Salvador. In collaboration with J Gursey Coffee, Korn first offered nu metal fans the chance to “Wake the F Up” with some fair trade Korn Koffee in 2018.

Green Day dropped a sustainably grown organic coffee through Oakland Coffee Works in 2019, which was named “Father of All… Dark Roasts” – a name derived from their thirteenth studio album Father of All Motherfuckers (censored as Father of All… or FOAMF) released in 2020, but recorded prior to the game-changing year. 

Wines, Beer, & Liquor

Wines that Rock boasts the production of wines for many artists, such as All Time Low, Pearl Jam, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, KISS, and for Graceland and Elvis Presley’s estate. Made for The King of Rock ‘N Roll’s 86th birthday, the limited-edition wine is quite reasonably priced at only $24 a bottle.

Bottles of wine from Wines that Rock

Slayer’s Reign in Blood red wine comes in tantalizing packaging consisting of blood-like red wax dripped from the cap, Slayer branding, an inverted typographical cross, a limited edition coffin-shaped box, and other features, resulting in quite a work of art inside and out that appeals to both wine aficionados and music memorabilia collectors.

Over the last two decades, craft beer has enjoyed an explosion in popularity. Unlike wine and many other alcoholic drinks, many beers take two weeks or less to go from the raw materials to a cold, refreshing beer. As the turnaround time is much shorter, it is far easier to set up a collaboration that is still relevant when it comes out. A great example of this is the ongoing collaboration between the Deftones and San Diego-based Belching Beaver. By far, the most popular of the six beers to come out of this is the “Phantom Bride,” first brewed in 2016.

Dogfish Head created “American Beauty,” a Grateful Dead-inspired beer with granola and wildflower honey which was first released in 2013. Less Than Jake offered a limited edition beer by JDub’s Brewing Co. in 2018. Last, but certainly not least, is the Queen creation appropriately named Bohemian Lager. Brewed in Pilsen – the Bohemian now-Czech Republic city where the Pilsner style originated from – the limited edition beer was brewed in 2015 for the 40th anniversary of “Bohemian Rhapsody“.  

Finally, we have liquor. First is the Motorhead vödka made in Malmköping in Sweden since 2019. Motorhead also partnered with Hillrock to make some very limited bourbon, retailing for a whopping $275 per bottle.

Bob Dylan unveiled a line of whiskeys called Heaven’s Door in 2018. Multiple artists have their own tequila brands, such as Justin Timberlake, Rita Ora, Sammy Hagar, and Nick Jonas. Timberlake entered the tequila business in 2009, co-founding 901 Tequila – which was rebranded as Sauza 901 when Beam Inc acquired a stake in 2014. With hopes to push boundaries in the industry as a female-founded brand, Ora launched Próspero Tequila in the US in 2019.

Rita Ora

Hagar has been in the tequila business for almost 30 years, having launched the award-winning Cabo Wabo brand in 1991. In contrast to the once-Van Halen frontman, Jonas is the most green of the listed musicians, having joined the game in 2019 with Vanilla One.

These are just a few of the many types of alcoholic beverages that musicians have owned, made, or collaborated on. Ultimate Classic Rock shared an impressive list of “73 Rock Star Beer, Wine and Booze Brands.”

While the pandemic has indubitably unleashed a tsunami of projects that fall outside the typical domain of the music industry, the question one must ask when examining said projects for originality is: are these artists trailblazers, going down a path none have tread before, or are they innovators in their own right who take a path others have cut before them to bring a product to market that the world might not have expected from the source? The overwhelming body of evidence is that in the decade or so before the pandemic began, the trends in the industry were increasingly leaning toward this path. As such, releasing coffees, graphic novels, and wines during the pandemic may not be a unique course of action, but it does allow for creative release in a different medium, and perhaps an opportunity for many of them to manifest a once-dormant dream into a delectable reality.

Lamb of God Releases First New Music in Five Years, “Checkmate,” from Upcoming Self-Titled Album, Due Out May 8

Lamb of God has revealed a brand new single and video, “Checkmate,” from the band’s first release in five years, and the first to feature new drummer Art Cruz. The self-titled Lamb Of God is due out May 8 via Epic Records.

Watch “Checkmate” Now Here

“‘Checkmate’ brings together all the components of the Lamb of God sound that we’ve been developing over the last two decades, but with the ambition and ferocity that comes with the start of a new chapter for our band,” says guitarist Mark Morton. “Re-energized and reignited, this is Lamb of God 2020. We’ve never been more excited.”

The fact that the band’s eighth studio effort would warrant ‘self-titled’ status is a testament to the band’s pride and satisfaction with these songs and this period in their creativity.

Putting only our name on it is a statement,
Vocalist D. Randall Blythe says.
This is Lamb Of God. Here and now.

A true collaboration between all members of the band, Lamb of God’s eighth studio album is an amalgam of each individual’s contributions, blended to create a singular style. Guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler fuel the album with a mountain of riffs, taking what Lamb of God are known for, and unbelievably, upping the ante to new levels. The rhythm section of John Campbell, looming large as a rhythmic shadow, and drummer Art Cruz, who makes his studio debut with Lamb of God here on this record, underpin the proceedings with passion, sweat and expansive dynamics. Vocalist D. Randall Blythe is as angry, insightful, and informed as ever. Never one to shrink from facing the darker aspects of our nature head-on, Blythe delivers with no punches pulled, and as only he and Lamb of God can in 2020.

In celebration of the release of “Checkmate” and the announce of the new album, Lamb of God will appear at a special show at the House of Vans in Chicago on February 14. The event is free and fans can RSVP beginning at 12 noon CST today at the House of Vans website here. The event will include a photography exhibit featuring photos from D. Randall Blythe that will be included in the new Lamb of God album artwork. Harm’s Way will open the show.

In the midst of writing the ten songs that appear on Lamb Of God, the group hit pause on the works-in-progress to man the stage as main support Slayer’s “The Final Campaign.” After months of playing their best-known songs nightly, Lamb of God returned to the new tracks and began to work with longtime producer Josh Wilbur (Korn, Megadeth, Gojira, Trivium). Special guests Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) and Chuck Billy (Testament) also make appearances on Lamb Of God.

Pre-order/Pre-Save Lamb Of God Here

Lamb of God

Lamb Of God Tracklisting

  1. Memento Mori
  2. Checkmate
  3. Gears
  4. Reality Bath
  5. New Colossal Hate
  6. Resurrection Man
  7. Poison Dream (feat. Jamey Jasta)
  8. Routes (feat. Chuck Billy)
  9. Bloodshot Eyes
  10. On The Hook

The Richmond, Virginia, quintet propelled heavy metal into the new millennium two decades ago with the prophetically titled New American Gospel. They followed with 2003’s As the Palaces Burn, which made the Rolling Stone list of the Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time. Ashes of the Wake, released in 2004, was the first Lamb of God album to be certified gold by the RIAA, as was 2006’s Sacrament, which also made a Top 10 Billboard 200 chart debut. In 2009, Lamb of God released Wrath, their first with Wilbur at producer, and earned the number one album spot on Billboard’s Hard Rock, Rock, and Tastemaker charts, with a number two position on the Billboard 200.

Those number one positions were repeated with 2012’s Resolution, which swung effortlessly between thrash, traditional metal, sludgy doom, with flashes of crust punk swagger and bravado. Lamb of God’s last album, VII: Sturm und Drang (2015) made its debut on the Billboard 200 at number three and finished number 2 in the world charts, reaching Top 5 in five countries and six addition Top 15 positions.

In 2020, Lamb of God is re-energized and unrelenting, ready to lay claim to the metal throne.

Lamb of God Tour Dates

2/14- Chicago, IL @ House of Vans *Headline show

European Tour with Kreator and Power Trip

  • 3/27 – Stockholm, SE @ Fryshuset Arenan
  • 3/28 – Copenhagen, DK @ Forum Black Box
  • 3/30 – Oulu, FI @ Club Teatria
  • 3/31 – Helsinki, FI @ Ice Hall Black Box
  • 4/2 – Kraków, PO @ Tauron Arena
  • 4/3 – Berlin, DE @ Columbiahalle
  • 4/4 – Oberhausen, DE @ Turbinenhalle
  • 4/5 – Wiesbaden, DE @ Kulturzentrum Schlachthof
  • 4/7 – Zurich, CH @ Samsung Hall
  • 4/8 – Munich, DE @ Zenith
  • 4/9 – Ludwigsburg, DE @ MHP Arena
  • 4/11 – Hamburg, DE @ Sporthalle
  • 4/14 – Barcelona, ES @ Razzmatazz
  • 4/15 – Madrid, ES @ Sala Riviera
  • 4/17 – Paris, FR @ L’Olympia Bruno Coquatrix
  • 4/18 – Saarbrücken, DE @ Saarlandhalle
  • 4/19 – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
  • 4/21 – Bristol, UK @ O2 Academy Bristol
  • 4/22 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Academy
  • 4/23 – Glasgow, UK @ O2 Academy Glasgow
  • 4/24 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy Birmingham
  • 4/25 – London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton
  • 5/9 – Daytona Beach, FL @ Welcome to Rockville *US Festival

Lamb of God Is:

  • D. Randall Blythe – Vocals
  • Mark Morton – Guitar
  • Willie Adler – Guitar
  • John Campbell – Bass
  • Art Cruz – Drums

Lamb of God Online

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Featured photo (top) by Travis Shinn

REVIEW: Slayer Reassert Metal Dominance in Phoenix on “Final World Tour” (05-02-19)

PHOENIX — One word continuously comes to mind when one thinks of metal music: catharsis. According to Google dictionary, catharsis can be defined as “the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.” Look around the audience at any metal show and you will see catharsis taking place in many forms. Maybe it’s the down-tuned, insanely heavy guitars palm-muting and blasting you with power chords, or the syncopated rhythms of the double bass drums beating fan’s ears into submission. Whatever it is about the music, metal brings people together and serves as a one-stop shop for the release of myriad types of emotions; happiness, anger, sadness, etc.

There’s a sort of camaraderie between fans at metal shows as people bond over their love for the music and in some cases, their equally great love for alcohol. The evidence supporting that love for metal is alive and well could not have been greater last night at the Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix as heavy metal forefathers, Slayer took the stage in front of about 22,000 in attendance after several intense opening sets from Lamb Of God, Amon Amarth, and Cannibal Corpse.

Picture this: flamethrowers perfectly synced to the frequent stops of the music with heat you can feel on your face from the audience, a giant, banner adorned the back wall of the stage replete with a devious-looking Baphomet among other satanic imagery, bright strobe and giant spot lights occasionally resembling double helix shapes. These were only a few of the visual treats fans were given Thursday night as some stared silently in awe, while others rarely stopped screaming their favorite lyrics to take a breath. Slayer has been around a very long time and yet despite their collective ages, their energy has not wavered in the slightest. From the opening speed metal riffs of the first song, “Repentless”, to the final onslaught of songs culminating in “Angel Of Death”, Slayer proved that they’re still masters of their metal domain.

Slayer - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Tom Araya (Vocalist, Bassist), Slayer
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Vocalist and bassist, Tom Araya has always had a distinct vocal style; it’s not singing but it’s not your average metal-scream either. It’s visceral, primal shouting from a man who otherwise comes off very kind and cordial on stage during the quieter moments in between songs. He’s a living legend, as are the other members; longtime guitarist Kerry King, recent stand-in guitarist and Exodus alumni Gary Holt, and drummer Paul Bostaph. Last night at Ak-Chin Pavilion, these four, with their powers combined, recreated some of the heaviest music ever written. King and Holt’s blisteringly fast riffs caused fans to headbang themselves into a state of whiplash, while Bostaph’s drumming undoubtedly caused plenty of heart arrhythmia from the sheer force with which he hits the many pieces of his instrument of choice.

Slayer - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Gary Holt (Guitarist), Slayer
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Watching Slayer is a musical experience of course but also one you can feel; physically and metaphorically speaking. Their lyrics are some of the most brutally honest words shrieked into microphones worldwide. For example, “World Painted Blood” (the 3rd song into their set) contains the lines “Gomorrah’s dream to live in sin, has reached its critical mass, man himself has become God, and laughs at his destruction…”, which gives an unrepentant glimpse into what’s on the band’s minds. Death, destruction, the unstoppable collapse of humanity due to its own ignorance; the band frequently come off as messengers of the impending doom that will surely befall humanity should we choose to ignore it. This serves for a powerful concert experience that’s not to be missed should you ever get the chance to see them perform.

Slayer - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Kerry King (Guitarist), Slayer
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

It’s worth mentioning that the supporting bands all brought the energy to critically high levels long before Slayer even took the stage.

Florida death metal legends Cannibal Corpse started off the evening with incredible stage presence and easily one of the best renditions of “Hammer Smashed Face” played to date.

Cannibal Corpse - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Erik Rutan (Guitarist), Cannibal Corpse
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved
Photo Gallery

Next, Swedish natives Amon Amarth brought along their trademark viking theme, with the drummer sitting atop a replica of a viking ship complete with glowing red eyes. Their unique take on metal and lead vocalist, Johan Hegg’s friendly demeanor, was warmly received by fans.

Johan Hegg (Vocalist), Amon Amarth
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved
Photo Gallery

Finally, Lamb of God stole the show with an insanely heavy set despite a few technical difficulties with the wireless guitar rigs. The other band members never missed a beat and effectively carried on regardless of any technical glitches entirely out of their control.

Lamb of God - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Randy Blythe (Vocalist), Lamb of God
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved
Photo Gallery

These are the marks of great live performance and each band, in their own unique ways, served as the perfect appetizers to temporarily appease everyone’s metal palate.    

Other high points of the night included one of Slayers more ambitious songs, “Seasons In The Abyss” as well as other brutal numbers like “Mandatory Suicide”, “Hate Worldwide,” “Disciple”, “Temptation”, and “World Painted Blood”. Slayer saved most of the classics like “Raining Blood”, “Hell Awaits”, and “South Of Heaven” for the very end of the night, which made for an extremely captivating finale to a great show on their “Final World Tour”.

KUPD - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Fitz Madrid (Afternoon Announcer), 98KUPD FM
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Local 98KUPD FM afternoon announcer, Fitz Madrid, prefaced Slayer taking the stage by announcing their imminent arrival as well as commenting on how he first saw the band in 1991 and that he considered it one of the best concerts he’d ever seen. That’s saying a lot coming from a person who has frequently attended many shows because of his line of work and love for music. Slayer’s music left a powerful impression on Fitz after witnessing what they could do live. That impact surely carried itself over to just about everyone else in attendance at Ak-Chin Pavilion last night, many of whom will one day describe their experience of this show as equally life-changing.

Photo Galleries

Photos by Rodrigo Izquierdo

Openers: Cannibal Corpse | Amon Amarth | Lamb of God

Slayer – Ak-Chin Pavilion 5-2-19

Photography © Reagle Photography
All Rights Reserved