We are Lamb Of God from Richmond mutthafukkin Virginia” is the trademark slogan Lamb Of God fans all over the world have repeatedly heard over the years.
Extremely promising from the get-go, with their very raw debut as the then Burn The Priest outfit, fast forward twenty-some years and the band does not show any sign of either slowing or mellowing down. Equally, if you thought that singer Randy Blythe would have placated his spirits by now, this could not have been further from the truth.
Lamb Of God – Omens (Nuclear Blast Records)
Release Date: 7 October 2022
Words: Dany Jones
If anything, if these most recent years have been of any use, it is to provide a ton of fresh new material loaded with controversy and most certainly making for an inspirational well to draw from.
The exposure to a harrowing landscape, with the uncertainty of a future ridden by new wars, sickness, hardship, division and gloom, convey newfound dread and outrage.
With certainly a lot to shout about, their ninth studio album, Omens, is as hardcore as it gets and probably Lamb Of God’s most ferocious release to date. “I think a lot of the messes human beings find ourselves in could be very easily prevented,” D. Randall Blythe says, “simply by paying attention to obvious repeating patterns, both in our personal lives and in a broader socio-historical context. What some call ‘omens’ are really just manifestations of the fact that there is nothing new under the sun. It’s foolish to ignore this, but we all do it.”
The album debuts with the explosive Nevermore, which was released last June as the first single. In all its rightfulness, this song is colossal; catchy throughout, with a haunting and memorable refrain straight to the point.
It has been some time now since Blythe has introduced sections of clean vocals to his parts, which certainly add contrast between a moodier interlude, preparing for the explosion on the choruses.
Omens is a congruent record throughout, with no real leftfield surprises, and true to the LOG trademark sound. However, certain tracks do tend to stand out.
The Vanishing is epic and wondrously technical, loaded with groove, a flowing riff showcasing the skill of dynamic duo Morton / Adler with their signature harmonising twin guitars, plenty of chugs, breaks and a haunting breakdown on the outro.
In Ditch, the avalanche provided by the introductory percussive barrage we are greeted with directly reflects the sheer brutality of the lyrics. The line ‘I don’t give a goddamn about your demands’ roared by an enraged Blythe, certainly does leave a mark; while the chorus indeed makes for a future anthem.
Here visions of huge crowds of worshipping Heavy Metal fans headbanging and signing in unison are inevitable.
Omens is the second single from the self-titled album and probably the most ‘commercial’ sounding. It indeed holds its own, especially when picking up the pace on the middle eight, despite the super catchy hook chanted on the word. In addition, the guitar work never disappoints, and here we have yet another indelible riff that shall be reproduced for years to come.
But the true core of this record is seen with the nihilist Gomorrah. The leading motif played by the first guitar commands an Eastern flavour which only adds all the more tension, while the chugs laid over following the relentless beat of the drums mimic the solemn pulse of a military march leading the prisoner in front of a firing platoon.
A build-up, and then it all gets unleashed on the chorus as the words’ everything is doomed to fail’ deliver a rather stark shout of despondency denouncing the downfall. This track is pure doom.
Grayscale presents more of the same, with plenty of interesting musical moments and a heavy-duty chorus loaded with added sleaze. “Grayscale has just a smack you in the face, bit of hardcore feel to it,” Willie Adler says. “We had basically finished writing the record and I wrote this song thinking it won’t necessarily be a Lamb song. I sent it to Josh Wilbur, our producer, to check out and he responded with ‘Perfect, this is the last song we need for the record’.”
as if this album hadn’t already seen enough intensity, Denial Mechanical is pure Thrash. Powerhouse riffs, a blistering solo, roll thundering at million miles an hour, and it all calls for absolute carnage.
Another highlight has to be the gloomy September Song. Solemn and insidious, with a spine-tingling riff that resonates for quite some time, this was interestingly selected as the final track of the album. Its rippling effect seems carefully picked with the purpose of intentionally leaving a lasting impression.
Deviating from past masters of epic-sounding big productions of the likes of Sacrament, Omens feels like a return to the roots to a rawer, more straightforward vein.
Probably reminiscing the early era of New American Gospel, this is a ten-song compendium of relentless brutality that sees the band go back to a raunchier, less processed sound overall. It is a sheer rawness in true Lamb Of God fashion, where the band still manage to deliver that magic formula of power married to melody, memorable hooks and infectious grooves.
Worthy of a mention is the fact that new drummer Art Cruz, now on his second album with the band, truly comes into his own. He shines in leading the band into a more crunching-the-beat, fast, technical powerhouse type of sound.
As always, the guitar work is impeccable; flawlessly executed by riff lords Morton / Adler, who never fail to surprise with new super musical yet blistering riffs thou shalt bow to.
Add the steadfast performance of bassist Campbell and the punishing energy of the frontman, Lamb Of God truly make for a match made in heaven.
Omens is a solid record, and The Lamb Of God fans will certainly be in for a treat for the ninth time in a row.