Review Summary: In Wrath, Lamb of God delivers the raw energy of their first two albums, while retaining the technical aspect of Sacrament.
Subgenres seem to be the fad of the 2000s and as such, have placed many bands into several categories. Lamb of God is no exception. However, by the time you get through the album for the first time one thing is clear: Wrath is a Metal album, pure and simple. If you are a fan of Metal, any kind will do, Lamb of God has something to offer you.
A current trend in the Metal genre is that everything has to be nonstop brutality. Wrath begins with a bit of a jaw-dropper for many longtime fans, and even for newcomers. The first track is a two minute instrumental beginning with none other than an acoustic guitar. Just as you are about to question what you are listening to, the song fades into a hard-hitting, aggressive, groove-filled, and technically-proficient Metal album that Lamb of God is both known and loved for.
The five Virginian metalheads have used their experience as a band wisely, never failing to keep all that makes Lamb of God what is has been secure, while constantly showing improvements in their instrumental prowess. One of the two originally released songs, Set to Fail contains all of the elements of a thrashy, groove-driven metal song. A perfectly timed guitar solo full of Bluesy licks allows the energy built up throughout the track to burst. Certainly, it is one of the most catchy solos I’ve heard in the past couple years, and silences those that despise “mindless, emotionless shredding.”
As you continue through the tracks of Wrath, you’ll find yourself immersed in a fast-paced flurry of sixteenth-note filled guitar riffs with an excellent display of guitar “acrobatics.” Headbanging is almost a necessity when listening to Wrath. As they did with Sacrament, Lamb of God added an ambience to the raw power of their songs in Wrath. In the end, Wrath proves that Lamb of God have constantly pushed forward in their career, never failing to build on their skills and force their weaknesses into the ground. For example, there are sweeped arpeggios in the solo on Grace. Yeah, seriously.
Randy Blythe’s vocal performance maintained (for the most part) the usual formula, utilizing his unique growls, screams, and shrieks to push the band’s aggressiveness over the edge. However, there is one wrench thrown into the mix. Semi-clean vocals (the chorus on Set to Fail). Some fans of the band may say it’s a sign that they’re losing their grip on their own music. Others, such as myself, see it as a perfect opportunity to sing (or scream) along at the next Lamb of God show.
Morton and Adler continue to pound aggressive riffs into their songs, but make sure to keep that groove in there as well. Solos riddle this album with the same bullet-like intensity as the riffs.
Campbell’s bass playing is present, but unfortunately has no shining moments. Then again, one could say that following along with the guitar riffs is enough.
As usual, the drumming Adler shows that he likes to play fast. Double bass filled rhythms don’t stop him from creating intricate beats with the rest of his kit. Perhaps the part of his drumming that stands out the most is his amazing snare tone (or how amazingly tight his playing remains at any speed).
All of the tracks are long enough to make a point, but short enough to keep the listener interested. The last track is somewhat longer than the others at a little over seven minutes, but that does not at all stop the band from keeping the listeners glued to the speakers.
Of course, as is always the case, some fans may be let down by Lamb of God’s latest effort. Those that loved the first two albums, but were let down by Ashes of the Wake and/or Sacrament may not receive the complete return to the roots they loved. There are certainly riffs that may have fit into their older albums, but the purely raw sound of those tracks has been replaced with the newer, fuller sound of the previous two releases.
On the other side, there are those that loved Sacrament and Ashes of the Wake but hated New American Gospel and As the Palaces Burn. Here, the exact opposite problem is evident. The feel of the newer albums is there, but some of the crossovers leave something to be desired.
In summary, Lamb of God’s Wrath contains all of the key components of Lamb of God that make them such a force in the Metal genre. Some may be disappointed, but most will have plenty of incentive to welcome Wrath as a solid Lamb of God album.
-Intense, groove-driven riffs
-Technical solos with a catchy feel
-Vocal performance shows more flexibility than previous releases
-Tight, complex drumming
-Some fans may feel that the new album attempted to merge the first two albums with the most recent two…and failed.
-Set to Fail
-Everything to Nothing