Lamb Of God / Standing tall in the world of Heavy Metal
15 June 2020
Burn the Priest have made waves in the underground Metal scene since their inception in 1994. Once they morphed into Lamb of God, the titans from ‘Richmond muttha***ing Virginia’ did not take long before embracing international mega stardom.
Words: Dany Jones
Lamb Of God (Nuclear Blast) – Out 19 June 2020.
The peculiarity of this band and what has always distanced them from their peers, is that they have managed to fuse the brutality of Death Metal with a musicality in the vocals, probably thanks to Blythe’s more mainstream Punk background, while topping it all with an avalanche of insidiously infectious groove that nobody quite does like the killer Morton / Adler combo.
It is a potent formula which has enabled an extensive and prosperous career that has seen nine studio albums, live albums, DVD’s, several world tours, two Grammy nominations for ‘Wrath’ and the 2015 single ‘512’, and that has earned the band the title of pioneers of a new genre called the New Wave of American Heavy Metal.
Now at their tenth studio album and which has been described as the most anticipated record of 2020’, their self-titled ‘Lamb of God’ is out this Friday (19 June).
The biggest anticipation for this record has certainly come from the sceptics, who doubted Lamb of God will ever be as good following the departure of iconic drummer Chris Adler.
His replacement Art Cruz, however, has amply proven them wrong.
The percussive barrage provided by the new drummer, executed with the precision of a Swiss clock and with, if at all possible, even rawer energy, can only confirm that LOG fans all over the world have absolutely nothing to worry about.
But the change of drummer is not the only difference here.
The album marks a true milestone in the evolution of the band’s sound, going from the initially organic compositions to a far more refined sonic search and, by far, the most versatile.
Going through their discography, every single record presents its uniqueness while remaining true the band’s signature sound classed as Groove Metal or, plainly put, New American Heavy Metal.
From the raw brutality of ‘An American Gospel’, to the mastodon of ‘epicness’ that is ‘Sacrament’ thanks to its huge production and to the darker tones of ‘Resolution’ and ‘VII: Sturm und Drang’, we are now faced with a more varied and contemporary sounding compendium of stunning grooves, where Blythe further explores a multifaceted vocal rendition.
With tinges of Rock, Punk and pure Death Metal and even two guest appearances from Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed on ‘Poison Dream’ and Chuck Billy of Testament on ‘Routes’, Lamb of God does not disappoint.
Prophetic from the lyrical standpoint in songs like ‘Memento Mori’ and ‘Reality Bath’, whose refrain echoes “this is the new abnormal”, people will forever remember that this was released in the middle of a global pandemic.
Four singles have already been picked and released, however the anthems just keep on coming and it is simply hard to find fault.
The dynamics on ‘Memento Mori’, which opens with a muted chilling intro and an equally eerie vocal, are brilliant and the song moves into a massive groove in a classic LOG style.
The same goes for the moody intro, with the muffled guitar on ‘Reality Bath’, which is followed by plenty of hooks and an incredibly catchy chorus.
‘Checkmate’ embraces a quasi-southern flavour in the first notes, which is also reflected in the stunning Steampunk style video for the single, and then follows with a solid refrain.
‘Gears’ is uplifting and plain brutal, where the riffs create a great tension to then unleash into epic choruses and plenty of room is also given to the drums.
‘Routes’ is wonderfully ‘Thrashy’, ‘Bloodshot Eyes’ brighter and more Rock sounding, while the massive outro on ‘On The Hook’, simply lays under your skin like a rippling effect that just keeps on going.
‘Resurrection Man’, however, stands tall above all others.
In all its majesty of intensity and tension given by the relentless groove, in true Death Metal fashion, it earns the title of absolute blinder in its own right.
Overall this is an astoundingly solid album; a fine work of art true to the LOG signature sound, packed with groove, power, sheer brutality, epic choruses, melodic and memorable hooks.
Lamb of God is worthy of note and further testament that this band are far from being done.
“This is LAMB OF GOD, here and now” and they have just proven that, despite life’s steering path, they remain firm, standing tall in the world of Heavy Metal.
Randy Blythe – Vocals
Mark Morton – Guitar
Willie Adler – Guitar
John Campbell – Bass
Art Cruz – Drums