The forefathers of hardcore metal have certainly had quite an impressive year. With the release of the highly acclaimed metal masterpiece, The Infinite Order, as well as concerts supporting the album including The Abominable Snow Tour, a one-off show on Scream The Prayer III in Dallas, and an exclusive iTunes deluxe edition of The Infinite Order, Living Sacrifice finished 2010 strong with their latest A Very Metal Christmas Tour. Several bands supporting the tour such as Becoming The Archetype, To Speak of Wolves, and As They Sleep made the tour very memorable during this holiday season. On December 10th, a friend from church and myself managed to attend their stop at The Bandwagon in Fort Worth, Texas. Despite an excellent performance from all the bands on the tour, this concert review will only be concerning Living Sacrifice’s set.
By 9:30pm, The Famine had just finished their set and Living Sacrifice was preparing for sound check. To my surprise, the legendary Lance Garvin was not present for this show. Instead, current drummer of The Famine, Mark Garza, was filling in drums for Living Sacrifice. Then I was reminded of what Lance told me during their last tour. Most of the time, LS’s booking agent sets up the shows and sometimes the band members have other engagements that need to be attended to. In the case of guitarist Rocky Gray, who is also the drummer for We Are The Fallen, he was unavailable to perform with LS earlier in the year. Based on posts from Lance Garvin’s facebook page, he somehow injured his hand and could not make it out on the tour. Luckily, Arthur Green, Rock Gray, and Bruce Fitzhugh were all together for this show but with the drumming pioneer in Christian metal not present, if felt like something very vital was missing. Nonetheless, the show must go on and it is always a thrill to see this band back on stage doing what they do best: playing heavy metal.
The lights went out and the small crowd of Fort Worth started cheering. Rocky’s distinct guitar intro to “Nietzche’s Madness” from their latest album ensued. The song opened up the show beautifully and afterwards the band started playing a few older songs (technically, no more than 5 years old) such as “In Christ,” “Bloodwork,” “Local Vengeance Killing” and “Symbiotic.” It didn’t matter if there were less than 100 people at this show. With a handful of people starting a mosh pit in the venue, it felt like I was with 1,000 metal heads ready to bang their heads and scream the lyrics. Living Sacrifice took a short break to say hello to the crowd and to inform everyone to support the other bands on the tour. Bruce Fitzhugh briefly mentioned the deluxe edition release of The Infinite Order, and that they would be playing a couple of songs from that album before the night was over. Afterwards, Living Sacrifice performed their latest single, “Rules of Engagement,” which several fans were overjoyed to hear.
Bruce took another break to ask the crowd to give him a show of hands if we were born after 1992. One or two hands were raised, and then he asked if anyone was born before 1992. A majority of the crowd raised their hands and Bruce said, “Alright. Majority rules! We’re going to play an old song that was written back in 1992.” I couldn’t make out what the title of the song was but to my understanding they played an updated version of “Enthroned,” an oldie from the band’s death metal roots. Whether I am accurate or not, the song was excellent and Living Sacrifice later played “They Were One.” Bruce announced that the next song would be their last for the night and he said a simple “God bless you all” to the crowd. Last song or not, they played the classic “Reborn Empowered” and it rocked the place.
Once the guys left the stage, the crowd chanted for them to play one more song. To our surprise, Living Sacrifice came back to perform one more encore. Also to our surprise, Jason Wisdom from Becoming The Archetype made his way to the stage as the band performed another classic called “Reject.” Jason grabbed Bruce’s microphone and engage the audience by screaming out the words, “I set myself up. I’ve got no one to blame, but my self-pity is useless.” A majority of the audience, including those involved in the mosh pit, pushed and shoved their way to the front of the stage to scream the words back to Jason. It was the ultimate heavy metal encore to end a terrific night.
Head bangers and metal fanatics can easily agree that this concert was hands down the best early Christmas present of the year. It is slightly frustrating to know that Lance Garvin was not able to perform on the tour, but it is best that he allows time for his hand to heal and be ready for 2011. Living Sacrifice is definitely a metal act worth seeing live and this show was living proof. If you are a devoted fan that missed out on this tour, make sure you catch these guys the next time they come to your town. Also if you enjoy Living Sacrifice, check out the other bands who were on the tour: Becoming The Archetype, The Famine, To Speak of Wolves, and As They Sleep, all of which brought something unique and refreshing to the Very Metal Christmas Tour.-- Fred Keel, 12/22/10
Living Sacrifice Set List
01. Nietzsche’s Madness
02. In Christ
05. Rules of Engagement
06. Local Vengeance Killing
07. Enthroned ‘98
08. They Were One
09. Reborn Empowered
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