Review Summary: Sludgy, raw, and incredibly forceful – Lamb of God is back.
For those who found Lamb of God’s direction on 2009’s Wrath
to be a bit underwhelming, the burning wreckage in the background of the cover might as well be a stack of those records. With the metal quintet’s latest offering, they eradicate any hints of the heavy-but-repetitive Wrath
by replacing that sound with something just as intense but markedly more satisfying. Whereas its predecessor was a transparent effort to prove they are still “metal” down to their very core, Resolution
actually puts some tangible backing into that claim whilst providing some much needed variation to a formula that was approaching worn-out status. There is also enough here to suggest that Lamb of God still has some unexplored depths which, after eighteen years of existence, is a very exciting prospect.
One thing that listeners will immediately notice is the album’s ability to deliver ideas in moderation – something that was lacking on quite a few previous releases. That isn’t to say that Resolution
doesn’t come at you with full force (because it does), but the brands of mayhem that each song possesses are better integrated. Take for example the opening two tracks: ‘Straight for the Sun’ creates an atmosphere with sludgy, menacing electric guitars while ‘Desolation’ thrives off of a more direct approach featuring driving percussion and thrash riffs. They function almost perfectly together as a one-two punch, and much to Resolution
’s advantage, the album more or less continues down that road. ‘Invictus’ is a standout with its constantly shifting tempo amidst relentless shredding and Blythe’s guttural vocals, while the ensuing ‘Cheated’ takes more of a machine-gun approach to percussion underneath a vocal-centric performance that is heavy on the growls. From start to finish, no two songs sound disjointed – and perhaps even more impressively, every track is still distinguishable on its own.
Besides varying their approach, Lamb of God also injects a few innovative ideas into their tried-and-proven sound. ‘King Me’, the longest song in the band’s catalog, is additionally one of their most progressive – featuring strings and female vocals that provide contrast against Blythe’s raucous growling and screaming. ‘Terminally Unique’ introduces a mathier approach, something that hasn’t been touched by the band in previous outings. Even when the band isn’t adding
ideas to their sound per se, they still manage to expand upon their foundation. ‘The Undertow’, for instance, possesses what could easily be Morton’s best guitar solo to date while ‘Visitation’ pushes Blythe’s vocals to the limit with surprisingly well-executed high-pitched shrieks. As individual aspects, they may not seem like particularly impressive feats. However, Resolution
’s experimentation is quite abundant (especially compared to Wrath
), and that alone makes this particular output feel like an interesting and completely natural progression in Lamb of God’s sound.
is a force to be reckoned with in every way. It is more raw than most of their atmospheric productions, such as Sacrament
, giving it a blistering sense of power that has rarely been matched before. And unlike Wrath
, this is more than just a collection of random in-your-face metal numbers. The tracks here are differentiable and memorable enough to actually be considered songs
, and along with some much needed creative direction, they manage to truly shine. As a result, Resolution
stands tall as a heavy metal record that flawlessly combine technical proficiency with sheer songwriting talent.