Review Summary: Modern metal done exactly how it should be- fast and to the point
Few metal bands can claim to hold the stature that Lamb Of God currently have within the community. They are one of the only metal artists of today that have a large commercial success story and also have not alienated the majority of the extreme metal fan base. Whereas artists such as Bullet For My Valentine have streamlined their sound beyond recognition and as such have drastically suffered in terms of creativity and integrity, LoG has kept to their initial sound throughout all of their career.
In 2006 the band put out an album that divided their fan base, with some considering it to be their finest work whilst others stated that it wasn't quite as good as what had come before. The release was entitled Sacrament and is comprised of eleven tracks of Lamb Of God's signature sound. Both guitarists weave in and out of one another throughout each of these compositions, whilst Randy Blythe shrieks his lungs out over the top of the cacophony of music created. Chris Adler's drumming prowess is once again showcased across each of these songs to great effect, and this was also the album that spawned the band's biggest hit in Redneck. Every element of Lamb Of God's music that enabled them to find a niche in the market returns on each of the songs, but how do they fare?
Walk With Me In Hell kicks the album off in spectacular fashion, providing one of the highlights of the album. The guitar-driven introduction leads into one of the coolest verses on the album and Randy screams his lungs out throughout much of this song, only resting for the excellent guitar solo. This is one of the band's best known tracks, and with good reason as it is a masterful number and serves as a marvelous introduction to the album.
Again We Rise is noteworthy for the absolutely spectacular vocal performance but little else about this track really stands out. Coming off of the back of Walk With Me In Hell, this track makes use of an eerie introduction that thunders along really quick, leading into another fast verse riff. However, unlike the first track, this song just feels like the band is writing a by the numbers obligatory fast track. The riffs do not stand out and distinguish themselves and their is little in the drumming that jumps out either.
The band's most successful song, Redneck, picks up from Again We Rise very well. Despite the ridiculous lyrical work in the chorus that abuses profanity to the point that it become laughable, this is a solid number and does the album a lot of credit. The riff in the verse is extremely chuggy and therefore is likely to turn off a lot of fans of the band's more technical outings, but the groove of the track and the amazing bridge section should be more than enough to sway even the most cynical listener.
The real low point of the album comes next in the form of Pathetic, a track that kicks off with an uninspired riff and then degenerates even further. Randy Blythe's vocals are about as monotonous as could be found anywhere, with his high shrieks sounding very forced throughout. Lyrically, this is another song that really does very little to encourage naysayers of the band and is likely to even turn off fans of their music. The chorus riff is absolutely awful, whilst the structuring of the song is just so predictable that this is an immediate failure.
The fifth track on the album is Foot To The Throat, a number that is slightly better than Pathetic but not by much. By this point, it really feels as though the band is just pumping out songs that will appeal to their most hardcore fan base without ever attempting to evolve their sound at all. The riffs are too repetitive and samey and the drumming does not really do any favors for the band, sticking mainly to thrash beats.
Thankfully, Descending picks the album right back up after two major blunders in the song writing department. Following an eerie, creepy introduction, this is nothing more than a sledgehammer of a track that boots the listener directly in the teeth with some heavy as balls riffing and a unique and amazing vocal performance from Randy. The drumming is the real stand out here, setting the band apart from many of their peers with some incessant double bass work at times and creative use of the rest of the drum kit.
Blacken The Cursed Sun may well be the best track on the album, opening up with a simplistic but catchy guitar riff and then building up into one of the most discordant but fantastic sections of any Lamb Of God song. This is a song that is made by its atmosphere, carrying a very dark feel to it that is only enhanced when the vocals eventually come in. Every member of the band is as energetic as it gets on this track, with the riffs jumping out immediately whilst the drum patterns do not dip below the quality that the last track set. The chorus is one of the most memorable and one of the best in the band's entire career and sets this track away from the rest of them.
Forgotten Lost Angels is the only real competitor for Blacken The Cursed Sun's crown as the best track on the album. This is one of the most technical songs in their career, with some very intricate guitar riffing at times and one of the niftiest solos they have ever bust out. The lyrics are a cut above the majority of this release's lyrics, and Randy delivers them with so much passion and fury.
Requiem is a track that slightly dips the album down in quality again. There really is not much that can be said about this particular song as it is just flat out unmemorable, with some poor riffing and a drum performance that is as uninspired as can be found.
The penultimate song is More Time To Kill and this is another winner, with some fantastic riffing from the word go. The drumming from Chris Adler aspires to go above and beyond what is expected of a commercial metal band, whilst Randy's shrieks of "suffer unto me" send chills down my spine every time I hear this song.
The chorus riff of the final track Beating On Death's Door says all that needs to be said about this track. It is an energetic, fast, furious, relentless assault on the senses that closes the album off in spectacular fashion. This one riff is one of the most technically challenging the band has ever written and sounds absolutely marvelous in the context of the song. Nothing could have possibly closed the album off in better form.
Lamb Of God's Sacrament is a spectacular album that shows off exactly why they are right at the forefront of the metal scene right now. Each of these tracks is a great example of modern metal done properly.