Five years passed since VII: Sturm und Drang and now Lamb Of God are back with new self-titled album. This uncomplicated on the first glance name concisely represent the essence: with Lamb Of God fans receive wholly everything they expected from the band all these years.
The first two singles “Memento Mori” and “Checkmate”, watched millions of times on Youtube approximately let you know what will be on this album: of course there are lots of excellent riffs, groove and endless malevolent aggression. But these two songs are only the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of Thrash Metal elements, rough Crust and even Hardcore from time to time. But the main thing is that it sounds melodic enough, very catchy and remembered easily. Also let’s not forget about some anthem-like parts: I’m sure that “New Colossal Hate” will be yelled by fans when live shows will be allowed again.
Mark Morton and Willie Adler collaborate in this album greatly, complementing each other very well. The deliver tons of riffs and fast, tough solos. Furthermore, it’s quite hard to define where Mark’s and where are Willie’s parts in Lamb Of God. According to Mark, guitarists gained lots of material for this album “…but we made an effort to really have each other’s back. We wanted to get back to the way that we used to do it.” John Campbell’s powerful bass adds heaviness and aggression to Lamb Of God‘s music, as it always was since first Burn The Priest demo tape until today.
After myriads of live shows Art Cruz expectedly changed Chris Adler and officially became a part of the band. His playing is differs from Chris’, of course, but it doesn’t make Lamb Of God softer, worse or whatever people write in comments in Internet. He has a powerful delivery, really good dynamic and really great parts: just listen to the drums in the ending “On The Hook” or “Gears”. Art himself says about it: “…at the end of the day, you can be influenced forever, and we can always sound like somebody else, or try to sound like somebody else and emulate somebody else, but I’m never going to be Chris Adler, and I don’t want to be Chris Adler; I want to be me.”
Randy Blythe’s vocals are full of anger, disdain and rage, as usual. He spits the venom relentlessly and there is so much of it you can easily drown the Capitol in it. Nevertheless, his voice sounds very insightful despite all the above: there is some faint, almost inconspicuous hope for positive outcome. “I start by pointing out several glaring problems, the most important ones in my mind, and the root of them. Then it moves into a feeling that you can resist this stuff, to a feeling of hope. I could sit here and be a negative Nancy, and just write a completely 100% nihilist record, which I might have done if I were still 27 years old and drinking. It was important for me to have positivity in here, to keep the PMA (positive mental attitude), as the bad brains have taught us, which starts on an individual level.”
Hatebreed‘s Jamey Rasta and Chuck Billy from Testament can be also heard in the album at “Poison Dream” and “Routes” respectively. I can’t really say that guest vocalists have brought something definitely new to the album or diversified the music in some way – Randy copes with it greatly by himself. But also I can’t say that Jamey and Chuck are unnecessary here: rather it’s a good bonus.
Long story short: Lamb Of God is a quintessence of the band’s creativity. There is unchanging contemptuous rudeness, punkish swagger, which was on VII: Sturm und Drang and something personal like on Sacrament album. But if you ask me, the most important thing here is that with this album Lamb Of God show they won’t go anywhere: they still have a lot to say and a lot of energy to create. Brilliant!
Lamb Of God was planned to be released on May, 8th but due to COVID-19 it will be released on June, 19th via Epic Records in U.S. and Nuclear Blast in Europe.
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