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There was some classic melodic death metal—Arlington’s Deceased—happening closer to home last Friday night, but the presence of French band Gojira on the bill with Swedish pioneers In Flames (pictured above) was enough to get me to make the longer trek up I-95 to Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore. In Flames are deserved legends, essentially credited with founding the “Gothenburg sound” of melodic death metal. But while they still put on a good show—and Friday night’s set featured less of the newer material that long-time fans regard with some derision—at Ram’s Head they were upstaged by Gojira.

Gojira are a young group that play a somewhat more technical brand of death metal and are notable for two things: their positive, environmentally-minded lyrics (breakthrough album From Mars to Sirius is a concept album about global warming) and their ridiculously heavy sound. I find it endlessly amusing that this band that sings stuff like “We will see our children growing”—not exactly your typical gore-obsessed death metal fare—is also one of the absolute heaviest metal bands I’ve ever heard. This was reinforced live, where their monstrous riffing inspired crowd surfer after crowd surfer to get themselves tossed from the crowd over the security barrier, where the unfortunate souls working as security personnel had to catch them, practically once every ten seconds it seemed.

 

Madness in the crowd:

 

Opening was Alaskan deathcore band 36 Crazyfists:

For more of all three bands, and more crowd surfers, check out the full photoset.