It"s no surprise when a metal band that invokes a sound that melds thrash-like riffs, grooves, intense vocals, and a deep brutality becomes a hit with the metal world. Fans everywhere bang their heads as they hail them as the leaders of the next extreme metal revolution, and for the most part, people are in conformity about the value of the new band leading the scene. Unfortunately, that band is not always of the highest quality, nor is it always well received by metal fans. In the case of Lamb of God, it seems as though metal has once again been graced with a band providing the masses with unique, enjoyable heavy metal. But alas, once again, a crucial aspect is missing in the metal puzzle, never more evident then on their debut, New American Gospel
While new Lamb of God is a smorgasbord of brutal riffs, fast drumming, and deep screams, old Lamb of God was in desperate need of maturity and progression. The main deficiency of the album spawns from the lack of substance and variation among the riffs, as well as weak vocals and poor production. Structurally, the band also seems to have been a bit unorganized. Songs are often stretched far beyond what would have done them justice, namely Black Label
"s emptiness into a breakdown and the tedious riffing of Pariah
. While they cleverly avoid sinking to the predictable verse-chorus-verse style of playing, it"s almost as though the band tried so hard to make the structures different and unpredictable that they intentionally extended the music to the point of languor. Nearly every song is 4-5 minutes long, a trend that does not bode well with the band"s sound, especially compared to the notability of A Warning
, a mere two minutes and twenty seconds.
Riffs become rather boring and monotonous very quickly, easily molding into a single undecipherable sound for the album"s entire duration. For a single example, it was nearly impossible to tell the difference of sounds when In the Absence of the Sacred
ended and Letter to the Unborn
began. Nearly every riff on the album is written in the same vein as the last, uniformity was taken to an extreme. It"s always nice to hear an album that flows as one, but one each song is identical to the last, listeners begin to beg for something " anything
" to break the repetition.
To make one final blow to the band"s sound, the production was exceedingly poor. The into to Black Label
was immediately off-putting, with Adler"s snare sounding very high and weak. His drums had an annoying click throughout the entire album (topped off by the all-too-prominent bass drum) that definitely subtracted from the overall sound. While the guitars were not vile, the bass comes through louder then most metal, a trait that seems to fall by the wayside in the midst of the album. Blythe"s voice sounds premature with its higher tone, which takes away greatly from the intensity of his deep scream he utilizes later on.
Despite a vast arrangement of negative persona, the album is not without charm. The Black Dahlia
features some extremely catchy and headbangable riffs that effectively differentiate themselves from the rest of the nine tracks. The enticing intro of The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion
leads directly into a palm muted riff attack. Heads will undoubtedly be banged during New American Gospel
, and dedicated moshers will definitely turn live Lamb of God shows into their home away from home.
With their debut, Lamb of God laid the foundation for what they would later expand upon and what would remain unchanged. It is evident how well they have grown over the past years, as New American Gospel
is a great display of potential squandered through untimely song writing and harming production. Luckily the band learned from most of their mistakes and expanded their style with future albums, but perhaps they should"ve taken the time to write some truly unique and catchy riffs instead of filling the voids with breakdowns.
- Black Label
- The Black Dahlia