Lamb of God
Lamb of God

I’ll make a full confession so you know where I stand. I am a Lamb of God fanboy. I have the Wrath era logo tattooed on me in what was, at the time, the most painful place I had yet to receive a tattoo (I will not confirm or deny if it was my b-hole). My two favorite albums of theirs are likely the same as most others, As the Palaces Burn and Ashes of the Wake. Sacrament is great, too, but not on the same level. To me, everything afterward has been good, but not great. So, when Lamb of God announced their new album after replacing Chris Adler, I was excited to hear some new material, but kept my expectations quite low.

I have never been happier to be dead wrong. I’m going to buck the norm here and give you my conclusion up front, then explain why. Take that, society! This is their best album since Sacrament. It may be better, in fact. This is Lamb of God re-energized. It has the production of their latter era albums, the speed and sense of urgency of New American Gospel/As the Palaces Burn, and incorporates a lot of new tricks. Is it the new blood of Chris Adler’s replacement Art Cruz or is it something else?

The opening track begins with some spoken word by Randy, which I have heard compared to Pete Steele of Type O Negative fame. I don’t really hear it since I’m a massive fan of Type O Negative and Lamb of God, but I can understand the comparison. The child’s voice whispering “wake up” foreshadows a bit as those are the first words Randy screams when the riff kicks in. It’s a pretty good riff, too. Standard for the band? Sure. It also includes a good chorus. There’s a breakdown, too, which happens with a little less than 2 minutes left. There’s a significant build towards it as well. I can see this going over well with the crowd whenever the hell we get live shows back…

I want to skip ahead a bit and talk about the hardcore “BLECH” at the beginning of “Resurrection Man.” In fact, let’s just talk about the song itself. Upon first listen, I loved it. In my opinion, it’s the best song they have written since “Walk with Me in Hell” or “Redneck” from Sacrament. The vocals at the beginning are some of the deepest I’ve heard from Randy in a while. The guitar riff itself isn’t dissimilar to the aforementioned “Walk with Me in Hell,” but it the deeper guitar tone on this recording shines through. With about two minutes left, that’s where this song really kicks you in the teeth. There’s a slow breakdown, followed by a fast riff, then another heavy breakdown to end the track.

Then, we get to the guests’ area of the album. After “Resurrection Man” comes “Poison Dream,” which includes a guest appearance from Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed. The track after that is called “Routes,” which features Chuck Billy of Testament. In the digital download, the track featuring Chuck mentions that he is, the one with Jamey doesn’t mention him, so take that for what you will. Jamey is, however, only featured in one part of his track, while Chuck appears throughout his. Maybe that’s the difference. Out of the two, I would say “Poison Dream” with Chuck is superior as his voice is unmistakable and of course makes one think of his primary band.

I want to mention track 9 as well, which is called “Bloodshot Eyes.” I wanted to bring up this track because it includes those clean vocals Randy employed for their last album. Perhaps it’s because it is no longer new, but Randy sounds more confident and they also don’t sound forced. On their previous album, I like them and felt they fit, but, yes, they did seem a little forced. In this instance, I feel they carry the track quite well.

As I mentioned from the beginning, this is not just another Lamb of God album. This is a great Lamb of God album in a world where we all need one. Is it perfect? Of course not. However, if you’ve not ever cared for them, this won’t bring you in or change your mind. If you’ve liked them even just a little in the past, I would bet on you enjoying this, too. I have had trouble pulling myself away from it. At the end of the day, a great Lamb of God album in this colossal, wet bag of garbage year makes it a little more tolerable.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
June 29th, 2020

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