Review Summary: Firing on all cylinders...
I liked Lamb Of God's previous album, Wrath. I didn't love it, but I thought it was enjoyable. I've been listening to Resolution over and over for a day now and I can honestly say that it makes Wrath seem like a joke. This album is better in every way. This is Lamb Of God firing on all cylinders.
Resolution doesn't start off slowly like the album before it. You hear Randy inhale, and then it dives right in to the awesome opener that is "Straight for the sun." Despite Randy screaming his guts out on this song, the rest of the band takes it pretty easy. The riffs are very slow and sludgy sounding, it doesn't really feel like a typical LoG song at all. As the riff fades out we're greeted by a mini drum solo from Chris Adler. For a solid fourteen seconds he blasts the kit with some awesome sounding fills and beats that run right into the next song. The rest of the band comes back in, and with the exception of "Barbarosa" they don't let up until the album is over.
The first thing I notice about this album... and the thing I notice more than anything else, is how energetic it is. Every member of the band seems to be completely re-inspired. I'm not saying previous efforts were boring but there's a passion here that I haven't seen from them lately.
Mark Morton and Willie Adler are damn good guitarists and they do some of their best work on this album. With the exception of the solos the guitar work isn't terribly technical or over the top, because that isn't really the style these two excel at. Mark and Willie are at their best when writing riffs that are catchy and have personality. Mark has a very easily recognizable play style and though it might not be the most technically proficient playing out there, it sure is fun to listen to. The guy is a great songwriter and every riff does it's job perfectly. I find it challenging to listen to the tracks on this album without bobbing my head at least a little. When the guitar solos show up Mark does an excellent job. Though I wish there was at least one monster solo on the album, the short but very sweet ones scattered throughout Resolution are all very strong and satisfying to listen to.
I've always found Chris Adler to be an above average drummer, his work on previous albums is certainly enjoyable, but he really outdoes himself on Resolution. The production on this album is pretty outstanding, and the mixing on the drums is an obvious highlight. Chris, as usual, utilizes his entire drum kit at all times. He pretty much refuses to play anything close to simple. His patterns are changing constantly, he never stays in one place for more than a couple of seconds. There are plenty of spots in many songs that I can imagine some drummers getting stuck in continuous or simplistic beats, but Chris never lets that happen. His beats are very enjoyable all the way through the album and his fills are found all over the place. And what monstrous fills they are. The larger ones will probably make you hit the rewind button, and even the smaller ones are very rewarding to listen to. You'll notice that despite his very flashy play style, Chris never overshadows the rest of the band with his playing, something he's pretty much mastered doing. I've noticed that he recycles some of his beats and fills from time to time, but they fit so well and sound so good that it's hard to hold it against him.
Like the rest of his band mates, Randy Blythe is on his A-game on Resolution. Randy has very solid vocal range, and he puts it to full use. The mid-ranged bark we're all so familiar with is heard frequently, but he is constantly providing slight variations to it. Sometimes he goes lower than usual and sometimes a little higher, in fact he very rarely stays in the exact same range for more than a few words, and though the differences aren't drastic, they keep his vocals safe from ever sounding monotonous. Then of course there's his shriek. Randy can go pretty high when he wants to, and I think he put that skill to use more on this record than on any previous material that I've heard. I can't say I've ever found any of Randy's previous efforts dull, but his performance here is quite possibly his best. The energy in his vocals is obvious, and there's a certain level of intensity to them that wasn't quite there before. In fact he sometimes sounds downright insane. When he really goes over the top with his shrieks it sounds like the guy is having some sort meltdown... and it's a blast to listen to. The end of "King Me" and the middle of "The Number Six" provide some really crazy screams that are sure to grab your attention. I should add that he does use the spoken word now and then. I don't really care for these moments, but they never lasts long enough to do any damage to the song.
There are traces of bass here and there, I'm certainly no expert at picking it out since it gets lost in the mix of almost every band I listen to. It has some moments where it shines through but for the most part I just don't hear it, which is a bummer because when it does catch your ear it certainly sounds enjoyable enough.
The songs on Resolution have pretty good variation. The first and last tracks sound nothing alike. There are a few songs that feel like fairly typical LoG songs... they certainly aren't bad songs, they just won't surprise you. The upside is that the best songs on the record are REALLY good. "Insurrection," "Terminally Unique," "King Me," and "The Number Six" are all really outstanding tracks. The choruses are very strong and very infectious. I've found myself mouthing the words with Randy on several occasions. The best songs all have some very standout moments in them, usually about half way through, that manage to split the songs in half and prevent the choruses from getting old. Sometimes it's a guitar solo, sometimes it's a complete change in pace and mood. Whatever the case, all the songs had my complete attention all the way through.
Resolution is no huge departure from Lamb Of God's old sound. I'm sure anyone that has listened to them for a long time could identify the songs on this record as LoG songs through guitar playing alone. It does provide enough change to feel fresh though. If you're a fan of the band I'm sure you'll enjoy this album just as much as any from the past. If you just flat out don't like Lamb Of God this probably won't change your opinion... but if you're on the fence, you should really give this album a shot, I certainly like it more than any previous work from the band.