The first song on Lamb of God's first album, 2000's New American Gospel, has been their live closer for years. During their stint on Ozzfest 2004, the band spent the summer telling crowds to split, Braveheart-style, and smash into each other when the song kicked in. It's a mosh move dreaded by the wise, beloved by the insane, one that dates back to the early days of hardcore. In early 2005, shortly after the band's breakthrough album Ashes of the Wake, frontman Randall Blythe explained to Metal Underground that the band was no longer initiating the move.
"We were warning people, like, "Look, if you don't know what's about to happen, get out of the way.' Particularly, our guitar player, Mark (Morton), won't even watch if we do that. He turns around, because he can't stand to watch it. It makes him feel kind of ill. You know, a good, crazy, violent pit is a good time as long as it's a relief for everyone, but when people start breaking legs and stuff, it's no good. And I don't wanna be responsible for some kid gettin' paralyzed or losin' an eyeball or anything. So we've kind of laid off on that, but the kids call for it every day. They're doin' it on their own sometimes. It's like you're damned if you do, damned if you don't."
Drummer Chris Adler echoed the sentiment to On Track magazine in an interview that took place just months before a 26-year-old man in Germany died during a festival crowd Wall of Death. "It's not about people getting hurt," he said, "it's about people havin' fun and you're right, the audience is absolutely insane and we're not gonna throw out shoulder pads so nobody gets hurt." He went on:
"I get goosebumps when we take the stage sometimes and you can just see the eyes of these people lookin' at you, and they're all crazy. It's like somebody just released an entire prison yard to come to our show; it gets totally nuts. And I think as long as nobody gets hurt and everybody has a good time and they're able to let out a lot of the aggression and love doin' what they’re doin', then it’s more power to 'em and we're havin' a blast with it."
And then people just kept doing it, forever, and the band mostly stopped shying away from it, too.