PROVIDENCE -- Randy Blythe , slack-mouthed and bent at the waist, finally left the stage of Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel at half past 11. On the way out, he leaned over the crowd and explained, "This right here is what really matters." A hundred fists shot up in agreement.
Blythe, who has led Virginia quintet Lamb of God for more than 15 years, has always demanded solidarity of intent from his fans. He is among metal's most proficient maestros; every interaction between floor and band is carefully monitored, and adjusted accordingly.
"You want to go home now?" Blythe asked, when a track from an earlier album failed to elicit a strong reaction. "I didn't think so," he added, and the band launched into the opening grind of popular sing-along "Walk With Me in Hell."
Lamb of God's latest album, "Sacrament," received a Grammy nod last year in the best metal performance category. Partly this was an acknowledgment of Blythe's ability to micromanage the band in the same way he does a crowd: Songs start and stop on a dime, with nary an extraneous wave of distortion in earshot.
But it was also a celebration of the band , whose albums transcend the industrial sludge common to most modern metal acts. "Pathetic," from "Sacrament," and "Hourglass," from an earlier album called "Ashes of the Wake," were both bolstered on Wednesday by a surprising gracefulness. (Willie Adler and Mark Morton , Lamb of God's two guitarists, deserve much of the credit.) And "Laid to Rest" was an elegant, stutter-step rawk anthem.
The Lamb of God tour did not stop in Boston, although it will stop at a handful of other cities on the East Coast. In that way, the concert had the air of a mini-festival -- three bands, including an excellent Florida thrash act called Trivium, opened the show, and the audience was made up of fans from across New England.
Still, the show was Lamb of God's. Blythe has a knack -- and a budget -- for spectacle that other bands lack; a fog machine flooded the floor between songs, and a panel of strobes backlit the band through the set. At one point, Blythe was nearly swallowed by the effects. He appeared again at the left of the stage, a convulsing, stomping silhouette, one fist raised in the air.