Lamb of God
Ashes of the Wake


3.0
good

Review

by Jorn van Schaïk USER (172 Reviews)
July 3rd, 2007 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


America is a country in dire need of metal saviours. They export more pop punk and mainstream rock bands than can be good for one's mental health, but on the metal side the US has only a few gems going for it. Especially in the thrash/death metal scene, where the Americans used to reign back in the 80s. But what's left of those bands? Metallica is a shadow of their former selves. Megadeth goes through more lineup changes than a picky coach's squad and is only just managing to revive themselves. Slayer, except for 2006's Christ Illusion (which would come after this album), went down a descending slope. Anthrax turned into a soap. And Pantera was nowhere after Phil Anselmo left and some years later the tragic murder of guitar god Dimebag Darrell finished off any hopes of this band returning.

Since then, from the underground has come very little to make America proud in the 1990s. Sure, Dream Theater had the whole progressive thing going for it, and Iced Earth are still power metal classics, but other than that, who could come and take over the flame from the old metal masters? In comes what is termed the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, with such bands as Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God. The latter seemed to stick closest to the Pantera/Slayer rulebook.

But really, if this band is all the US has going for it, America won't reclaim its former throne as lead position for thrash metal anytime soon. Lamb of God is a decidedly average band that reminds us why Iron Maiden, Metallica, and similar still headline tours. It's because whatever has come out newly just seems to pale drastically in comparison to the old greats. Lamb of God's guitar work is straight from the Pantera rulebook, but they play it with no innovativity or creativity. It's technically all fine, but there is no extra oomph behind the band's guitar work.

Guitar solos and squeals, once a trademark of how the genre evolved, are provided, but the best ones come from Alex Skolnick (of old thrash dogs Testament) and Chris Poland (formerly of Megadeth.) Lamb of God's own solos seem to shrilly contrast with the classic metal firepower the old guard gives off. It just seems to be symptomatic of the endless syndrome of music that young upstarts hardly ever live up to their forerunners.

Even the vocals have no sort of significance. Blythe has an acceptable bark, but does he come over like you wouldn't want to meet him in a dark alley like Chuck Billy could? No, he doesn't. He sounds decidedly average. His vocals aren't even bad; they just have nothing special about them, they don't have that X factor that makes you say "now this is a GREAT vocalist!". There is just nothing that sets these guys apart that would make you listen to them rather than Pantera.

This is also reflected in the song quality. There are very few terrible tracks to be found on here, but there are no gems of the sort either. Listening through this album made me fall asleep during the process becasue every song sounded like I'd heard it before. The same track just ended a minute ago! The only notable standouts are opener Laid to Rest, with some impressive riffing and drum work, and What I've Become also shows off some of the vigor and power that Pantera used to display. But other than that, there's nothing going on here you haven't heard already a thousand times from older, better, and more talented bands floating around in the same genre.

And this experience of filler songs without any sort of distinguishing feature is what pervades this record and brings it down a notch to the shelf of mediocrity on my music list. The album is consistent in its musical quality and nothing too detracting can be said about the musicianship or how well the songs are played. But to be a really great band, there has to be more to the music than just sticking by the rulebook, because that's exactly the difference between buying and album and playing it or having that album collecting dust on the shelf. And Lamb of God with this album seem to display a mentality that sees them content with the latter option.



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user ratings (1969)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Altmer
July 3rd 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok, this might look like it should be a 2 or a 2.5, but it actually isn't that bad.

SCREAM!
July 3rd 2007


10206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've only heard a few songs off this album but they sounded good.

Pretty good review, maybe a little too much comparison to older metal bands but i guess thats the concept you had going with this review.

Confessed2005
July 3rd 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album has some amazing tracks.

Notably the first four and last two.

The middle part of the album is very lacking in oomph.

LifeInABox
July 3rd 2007


3709 Comments


Except for Break You, possibly the best LoG song ever.

Confessed2005
July 3rd 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No, the best LoG song ever is 11th Hour IMO.

LifeInABox
July 3rd 2007


3709 Comments


That's another one of them. Break You is so ba though.

BallsToTheWall
July 3rd 2007


44606 Comments


this cds better than you give credit for

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

Yazz_Flute
July 3rd 2007


18809 Comments


nice review, ive ever really gotten into LoG, you were right on with America lacking amazingly in the metal department. I think you should've mentioned Symphony X along with Iced Earh and Dream Theater but thats just me, they're definately oone of America's best currently.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

Two-Headed Boy
July 3rd 2007


4527 Comments


These guys are awful.

kalkal50
July 3rd 2007


2386 Comments


Agree a bit.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 3rd 2007


16434 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good review, got my vote. Lamb Of God is an average band, they do nothing special. The only songs I like here are Omerta and Laid To Rest. All the others bore me.

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

Confessed2005
July 3rd 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Average?

Have you heard the drumming? Chris Adler is a rare talent amongst drummers in metal.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 3rd 2007


16434 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I have heard the drumming, its fairly impressive.... but this band as a whole is just bland and uninteresting.

Cravinov13
July 3rd 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

IMO this album is solid and is the only Lamb Of God I really care to listen to when I am in a Lamb Of God mood. The others fail.

NeverFading14
July 3rd 2007


380 Comments


The first 7 times I went through this cd, I thought it was the most boring, unoriginal, over-rated load of musical wankery I've ever heard. But the more I went through it, the more certain parts of songs would get stuck in my head, soon every song got stuck in my head. Minus Omerta and One gun. Those are two tracks that just straight up suck balls. So, This is one of those cds that take a lot of plays to get into, and once you do. you'll enjoy it greatly, Also. I didn't hear much resemblence to Dimebag's riffs in this cd. Dimebag used a lot of blues licks and TONS of slight bends and vibrato. Lamb of god actually do use some odd scales, Sometimes for absolutly no reason, they go up to the 13th fret on the Low-D string just to avoid going to the 6th string on the next string. Wierd.

Monticello
July 3rd 2007


805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album's not fantastic, but worth a listen every now and then. Good review too, but....

Originally posted by End Of Third Paragraph
ihnovativity

I don't know if you meant innovation or something but that's not a word.This Message Edited On 07.03.07

kalkal50
July 3rd 2007


2386 Comments


ihnovativity

haha

Mikesn
Emeritus
July 3rd 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Boring album.

Digging: Grimes - Visions

combustion07
July 3rd 2007


5376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Everytime I hear omerta it gets stuck in my head.

Altmer
July 3rd 2007


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A typo got through, lol



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