Album Review: Lamb of God, Wrath
Somewhere along their path during the last 7 years or so, the brutal metal-meets-hardcore Richmond, VA-based Lamb of God went from being just some metal band to the biggest fucking metal band on the planet. It’s unclear to me how they were really so successful in their climb to the top; their thick, riff-heavy style never really bowed to the passing trends of the Scandinavian-influenced metalcore movement to the absurd degree that many bands did, nor did they really ever create a new genre either, or even strive for much lateral thinking in general. And for that matter, Randy Blythe’s vicious roaring and screeching doesn’t exactly translate too well in “radio-friendly”, does it? Really, was it just the luck of the draw? I’d say ‘not quite’; their management has been extremely skilled at landing the band on headlining and supporting tours year-after-year-after-year that put these guys in front of exactly the right crowd. With this kind of support, Lamb of God has always been free to just do what they do; make some very badass boot-stompin’, face-splitting metal. It is now the eve of their fifth full length release, Wrath, and it appears Lamb of God are more aware of what people have come to expect from them than ever. While they clearly seek to shatter those expectations, Wrath is a well-produced release that sees them both expanding and stepping back to rely on their tried-and-true tricks, for better or worse.
Anyone who’s familiar with Lamb of God might be a bit taken back by the acoustic intro from this typically “ready, set, go” band. The first two songs taken together offer a much more progressive version of Lamb of God than we’ve heard before, with “In Your Words” segueing through a wider variety of vocal ranges and chord structures. In fact, the song vaguely sounds like Lamb of God have been melded with the progressive death of their brethren in Gojira, and it’s a welcome adaption in truth. However, after the shocking 1, 2, 3 punch of “Set To Fail”, “Contractor”, and “Fake Messiah”, it’s obvious that we’re back on Lamb of God’s home turf. While lyrics like “black liquid assets fuck the mujaheddin // paint their picket fences red with the American dream” might not rub some of you the right way, the riffage is just so blistering, crisp, and memorable that it’s impossible not to headbang along. The rest of the tracks on Wrath continue in the way that it was begun, with Lamb of God’s gritty bloodcurdling metal and anthemic vocals melding surprisingly nicely with some of the more varied textures that were introduced on Sacrament and embraced on “In Your Words”.
To me, Wrath is mostly successful. Despite the fact that it occasionally sounds like a band that’s slowly shedding it’s old skin and going through some slight growing pains, by-and-large this is some of the best ‘commercial’ metal the U.S. has to offer. The only important question at the end of the day is ‘will Wrath play well live?’ and the answer to that is a resounding fuck yes! It’s important to remember that Lamb of God probably doesn’t want you to intellectuallize their music; they make this shit to guarantee that the pit keeps spinning around.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm and is filed under Music Reviews with tags lamb of god, Metal, metalcore, Richmond, Virgina, Wrath. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.