The Metal Tour of the Year Comes to Mohegan Sun Arena – May 13, 2022
Last Summer, after being rescheduled from 2020, the Metal Tour of the Year, Featuring co-headlining sets from Megadeth and Lamb of God, made its way across the US. Toward the end of the tour, the Canadian dates had to be postponed, due to Covid travel restrictions. When it came time to announced the rescheduled dates for this spring, a whole new batch of shows across the US were added, also! This time through New England, they stopped at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.
Though announced for the original batch of dates, Sweden’s In Flames had to drop off the tour last year, and their slot was filled by Hatebreed. As much as I enjoy a Hatebreed show, I was very excited to see In Flames this time around! They opened up their set with “Cloud Connected,” off their 2002 album, Reroute to Remain. This was the first song I had ever known by In Flames, and it’s always a great performance.
The lineup of In Flames has changed a lot over the years. Frontman Anders Fridén and guitarist Björn Gelotte are the only members still around from The Jester Race era of the band. Bassist Peter Iwers left a few years ago, after nearly 20 years in the band, being replaced by Bryce Paul, while Tanner Wayne is now sitting behind the drumkit. Rhythm guitar player Niclas Engelin took a hiatus from the band in 2019, and there’s been no official statement on his status since then. Filling in for him on the road, at least, is former Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick. I was a huge fan of Broderick when he was in Megadeth, and so was very excited when he was announced to be playing with In Flames. One wonders how the relationship between him and Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine is, and if they’ve had any run-ins back stage on this tour. It remains to be seen what happens in the future, but in the meantime, I love watching Broderick and Gelotte perform together on stage!
In Flames sound has evolved a lot between albums, and some “old school” In Flames fans don’t enjoy the newer albums. They were in for a treat, as the band played “Behind Space,” off of their first album tonight. Some other highlights for me included “Walking Where the Dead Ships Dwell,” and their closer “Take This Life.”
It was great that In Flames was able to make it for the run of dates this year. Most of the shows I have seen them at were headlining shows at smaller theaters, so while they maybe didn’t get to play at long, it was great to see them on a large stage in front of a large crowd.
Florida’s Trivium returns as support on the tour this year. Compared to last year’s set, only their opening and closing songs of the set were repeats, the rest was changed up. I definitely appreciate when bands try to vary the material they play on each tour.
Having released their tenth album last fall, In The Court of the Dragon, they opened with the title track, straight into “Like a Sword Over Damocles,” also off the album. During the show, frontman Matt Heafy mentioned that he’s been a little sick, and his voice wasn’t in top shape. To give him a little bit of a rest, they made a last minute swap to put “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr” in the show, and guitarist Corey Beaulieu took over lead vocals for the song. Though Matt said he was struggling, he and the rest of the band still managed to put on a great show.
Lamb of God
Opening up with “Memento Mori,” off of their recent self-titled album, Lamb of God hit the stage with an unmatched fury. The curtain dropped and Randy Blythe and the gang blasted out an hour or so setlist of pure power. As they kicked into “Walk With me in Hell,” the stage was engulfed in pyro flames, which would pop up occasionally during the rest of the set.
Fan favorites like “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For,” and “Laid to Rest” were highlights of the show. Blythe, along with guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, along with bassist John Campbell and drummer Art Cruz knew just what the crowd wanted to hear, and had complete control of the audience from the first to last note of their set.
After the ritual “Prince of Darkness” intro track plays, Megadeth burst into their classic tune, “Hangar 18.” From there, they kicked into a more obscure track, “Dread and the Fugitive Mind,” off of their 2001 album, The World Needs a Hero. This album is often passed over by Megadeth fans, as being from maybe not the greatest era of the band, but I have always thought this was a great song, and was very happy to see it back in the setlist for the first time in 20 years!
Compared to the show we saw in September, the setlist was mostly the same, with “Dread,” “Angry Again,” and for the first time on this tour, “A Tour Le Monde” making their way into the set, swapped out for 3 others. An hour is not a long set when it comes to picking Megadeth songs, and there’s so many songs they *have* to play, like “Sweating Bullets” and “Symphony of Destruction,” as well as tracks to represent the newest album, Dystopia that the short set doesn’t leave a lot of room for changing things up.
One thing I noted last fall was that Dave’s voice was low in the mix, and sounded a little thin. Tonight, I thought he sounded amazing, as strong as ever. I was actually very impressed by how good he sounded, so he’s clearly been taking care of his voice.
Ole’ favorite Megadeth mascot Vic Rattlehead of course made an appearance on stage during “Peace Sells,” before the band walked off stage. Returning for the encore, Dave spoke to the crowd for a moment before playing their 1990 thrash anthem, “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due.”
It’s great to see that as the band continues on, Dave Mustaine and the rest of the band continue to sound great. While the co-headlining tour has been a great bang for fans’ buck, I hope to see a Megadeth headlining show in the future, where they are able to play a longer night of music. As always, the night wrapped up with Dave saying “You’ve been great, we’ve been Megadeth!”