Lamb of God (formerly known as Burn the Priest) is quite possibly the most famous band in the underground metal scene right now. Not only are they currently leading the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, but they just finished their own tour, which for some reason was supported by the legendary Children of Bodom. Although they formed in 1990 and began under the name Burn the Priest, their name hadn't changed until 2000, just before signing to Prosthetic Records and releasing the New American Gospel, which got quite popular. Three years later they signed to Epic Records and released their first major-label release, As the Palaces Burn in 2003. In a mere five months, LoG was back with Ashes of the Wake, which brings us to the present.
The album opens quickly with the single Laid to Rest
. There is some cool riffage initially. The vocals sound heavy and raspy giving the music a slightly more brutal feel. Blythe I think is a good vocalist. The music basically stays the same but each part has a variation of the main/intro riff. At one point it slows down quite a bit (almost like a breakdown). The track is pretty consistent and fast moving. It's pretty decent - a little too repetitive at first, but at least it wasn't too long. Hourglass
follows with some nice lead licks. The song really doesn't get too heavy, though. The vocals pull the tempo down in a weird way - the music is reletively fast while the screaming isn't. The track is based around is based around the lead riffs. They're not bad but I couldn't quite get into it. And I know the many people will hate the "lame chugga-chugga" riffs half way through.
Now You've Got Something to Die For
goes back to flowing speed they seem to excel in. An interesting palm muted guitar/fast double bass combo works well with the sound. the main parts are repeated until the break which is basically just low pitch guitar with heavy percussions. Once again, it has an interesting sound, but sounds repetitive to me. With The Faded Line
, they don't really take an experimental turn. Most of the song is low pitch plam muted guitar riffs with double bass. About half way through there is some some lead guitar work which turns into the only part I recognize from previous experiences - the riff played in the intro from their website. But other than those two creative parts most of the song is power chord based. Four minutes the song gets interesting - some slower guitar work and loud background noises briefly make a new feel until the song ends. Omerta
is next and opens with some ranting about honor before the music starts. It's the usual heavy guitars but the pinch harmonics throughout provide a nice breather. The sections with harder screaming and higher pitch guitar chords give a little much needed variation. This track is nothing special and went on too long.
Blood of the Scribe
is much better. The blast beats and fast lead riffs sound quite cool. It breaks out of their usual downtuned power chord rff pattern. The break with the double bass behind the guitar and Blythe doing a type of distorted singing is an interesting combo and sounds nice. The song eventually keeps the sme basic sound but slows down drastically - in other words it goes down hill from the intro. Near the end the guitars start pulling a very high pitch sounding thing - like a pinch harmonic on the B string or something. They're well placed and provide a good atmosphere. We then come to One Gun
. The vocals cerry this track while the instruments play various riffs that deliver a decent amount of heaviness. Half way through we actually get a guitar solo! It was pretty good too. Fairly fast, but could've been much longer. Near the end the song picks up again, with the instruments going all out to be heavy and diverse - they should really try doing that stuff during
the song instead of only being creative towards the end.
is more interesting track. The guitars focus a little more on lead work, and do a pretty good job. We can also see here that Blythe can do black metal shrieks pretty well, but I won't even go there. The drums do some cool beats from time to time and for the most part rise way above a simple double bass pattern. More than half way thorugh they do another almost-a-breakdown type of thing where the song gets very slow and all the instruments do small bursts of heavyiness. But enough of that, on to What I've Become
. It starts quite promising with some unique riffage. But again, it goes back down hill. Once the vocals start the music goes back to normal with heavy low pitch stuff. At 1:30 we get another solo. Very, very short but the dual guitar part at the end of it was awesome. The instrumental title track Ashes of the Wake
comes as we proceed. In the beginning there is some talking in the background about...politics?
What the hell were they thinking? But anyway, Ill try and put it out of my mind. The music is basically what they usually do but with solos. The first one we get to was nice and ast and souded quite cool. The second was nothing special, just slow and atmospheric. The third was a little faster but short. After that it goes back to the usual for a while before another solo which wasn't too bad. It started off badly but repeated a cool fast part twice before breaking back into heavy riffs combined with lead licks. The structure is bascially the same until the end with various solos riddled throughout. Some more political talking near the end and I realized that I'm not crazy about LoG solos.
Finally, we have Remorse Is for the Dead
. It begins clean, strangely enough. The clean part is good enough, but once Blythe turns his mic on I lose interest. It blends in with the rest of the music. The heavy parts are a little more diverse than the previous songs but this track is nothing special. I guess at this point I'm just plain losing interest. This song sounds actually heavier than thier previous work (on this album). The song is quite instrumental as well. Near the end the heavy riffs have the clean guitar riffs played over them and sounds pretty good. It ended pretty quick too. I guess all in all this was a highlight song - it's late and I was losing focus but now I see the truth.
The music was pretty heavy. Blythe had a brutal voice. They seem to be able to really play when they want to and many tracks features some very cool riffs. Most had a good pace and flowed pretty well, and the fast songs were very good.
It all sounds the same. Most of the songs were very similar and each song was quite repetitive. People who hate the downtuned palm muted "chugga-chugga" riffs will want to break this CD and burn the pieces. They can play, but unfortunately they chose not to use that talent at all except for the instrumental track.
Laid to Rest
Blood of the Scribe