Lamb of God
Lamb of God


2.5
average

Review

by TypoNegative USER (1 Reviews)
June 19th, 2020 | 110 replies


Release Date: 06/19/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: " I was born in a cemetery, learned to walk on skulls and bones"

There's a point in everyone's life where we either change and adapt, fall behind or fall apart. The 20 something year old who parties his parent's money away frivolously can't maintain that lifestyle into his later years-- sooner or later he's going to have to put a tie on, polish his shoes, and force change. Change is scary, no one is arguing that. However sometimes, it's increasingly necessary to become better or even more simply, survive. Music is not much different, in a scene of constantly evolving and changing sounds and trends, it's important to be flexible and change when needed. Despite this, many bands anchor down, stay the course, and for better or worse, never change. Lamb of God is absolutely one of those bands, with nearly 30 year history, there has been little change in the past half of that existence, and the signs of fatigue are becoming more and more evident.

In 2019, founding drummer Chris Adler left the band, citing a motorcycle accident the year before. During this time, new drummer Art Cruz joined on, and the band began work on their 8th studio album, conspicuously the s/t "Lamb of God". For a band 26 years into existence, eight albums in, and having recently fired their drummer, the naming of the album as self-titled is curious to say the least. Many speculate that Adler was forced out of the group for different reasons than given, and recent barbs in the metal blogisphere has added support to the idea the split was anywhere near as acrimonious as they wanted it to seem. Despite the drama, in 2019, they went off to the studio with Josh "Pro-Toolin' Foolin" Wilbur (real actual given nickname), who had previously produced their 2015 effort "VII: Strum und Drang". Did they use their drummer change to freshen their sound? Did they go experimental jazz? Did they....Alright I'll save you the time, the answer is no, no they didn't.

Opening track "Memento Mori", for whatever reason, opens with sampling of lyrics from "Marian" , from U.K. goth rock legends The Sisters of Mercy. It was a promising sign in all frankness -- they were sampling lyrics from a gothic rock band, this wasn't exactly the Lamb of God I was expecting in the first 20 seconds. Despite this, this passage lends into what I will say is the most "old-school" Lamb of God stylings we've heard since maybe 2004 - with a more modern sounding "New American Gospel" or "Sacrament" - esque feel I could only hope would last this entire album. A very positive track to open on, with the slicing Mark Morton trademark riffs and Art Cruz’s renewed youthful drumming (which, fun fact he is almost 20 years younger than the rest of the members).

Despite this promising introduction, the next track, “Checkmate”, which was the single, is just very uninspired sounding, as are the next two tracks, “Gears” and “Reality Bath”. “Checkmate” is very Resolution-era sounding, almost sounding like a leftover from their 2012 snoozefest. “Gears” however opens uniquely, with an almost post-hardcore tinged opening section that reminded me of Every Time I Die or other modern-ish borderline post-hardcore bands of the past 15 years. “Reality Bath” is lyrically relevant to current events, and once again they have an interesting opening that just leads into the same riff you could imagine someone singing to you if you asked them “What does a standard Lamb of God song sound like?”. The opening is like Vein , Korn, and a sliver of Marilyn Manson all smushed together before eventually leading into what I could only describe as a B-rate Testament cover band that Randy Blythe just happened to guest with. These three songs deflate any of the momentum the opening track had, what with the uninspired nature of it all and just a lack of execution so many ideas.

Following is the track “New Colossal Hate”, which for a song vaguely titled like a Meshuggah track is once again a mixed bag of ideas that just never seem to come together officially. Quite possibly most confusingly there is a record-scratch in a breakdown, with news clip sampling, that is just as out of place as it is ham-handed. We understand you are trying to be current, hip, political, but news clips are just a lazy way to make it seem so. At least on “Ashes of the Wake” it felt inspired, like you had something to say, but here it’s just anything but that. There is no feeling or excitement to this at all.

However, there is a few shining moments on this album, and “Ressurection Man” is easily the brightest. The dissonant riff adds a moody element to the chugging Sabbath influenced riffs, and Randy Blythe brings his A+ game lyrically to this track to boot. If this album consisted of only “Memento Mori” and this particular track, this album would be a monumental step forward for the band. But the disparity of quality between good, bad, and just plain average on here is what holds it back. This track shows that while the overall product may not be amazing or even good, Lamb of God are band capable of producing some fantastic heavy metal music if they actually tried or cared anymore. “I’m the shadow on your brightest dream”, Randy Blythe howls with intention and emotion that is otherwise lost on this entire album. Almost bittersweet in hearing a good track among a collection of utter mediocrity. It would be easier to swallow this pill if they all were equally forgettable.

With that little burst of encouragement, the following four tracks that close out the album have two that feature guest vocalists, namely Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed and Chuck Billy of Testament; and all are uninspired samness. All are as lacking in interesting sections as 80 percent of this album and it is just infuriating at this point in the album. While “Routes” has a “Mamma mia that’s a spicy drummer” type blaze-em intro from Mr. Cruz, it falters, and is just mixed ideas in a bag, left to rot in the summer heat with the rest of the leftovers of this album. The breakdown which Jasta sings on during “Poison Dreams” is so generic I was surprised Lamb of God even used it, and his vocals just strike me as sonically off to the rest of the album’s mixing. Altogether, the album fades out with a whimper, on the coattails of the albums finer rare moments, and leaving little to no impression at all.

“Lamb of God” was supposed to be a rebirthing album for the veteran metal band, yet it is as mired in mediocrity as their modern releases have been. However, the worst offense is the wasted ideas and potential that could have made it better if they had expanded on them, and stepped outside their comfort zone a little even a little. The moments that make this album worth it are far and few between, and what’s in between them is the same thing, same sound, same sameness of a band that seems to be out of gas and uninspired. Change may be hard, and it may be a risk, but when it comes to output like this -- it is the only possible way to redeem what was once a better reputation.



user ratings (144)
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (2.5)
Wake up, wake up. Wake up!...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TypoNegative
June 19th 2020


20 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

First review. Hope you enjoy.

tyman128
June 19th 2020


2060 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Pretty good first review! Definitely agree with a lot of what you said here, this album kinda feels more like a retracing of steps without actually trying to innovate anything... just feels pretty bland to say the least. Standout tracks for me are easily "Bloodshot Eyes" and "Memento Mori"

For the review, here's a few tips to make it flow just a bit better:

When stating an album name, try putting it in this for: [ I ] album name [ /I ] (just without the spaces) it overall makes it easier to distinguish within the review

The second paragraph, although not bad per se, is rather clunky and has some unnecessary information (reason for split), so you could try and cut that down and integrate it with the first paragraph of introduction.

Other than that, this is a pretty good first review, welcome to writing here! Keep with it and continue to work on nailing the flow of writing and creating a style of your own craft as you review!

BigPleb
June 19th 2020


60623 Comments


Yeah the singles pointed towards a 2.5, band hasn't been great for years.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 19th 2020


20304 Comments


Pos'd because of user name.

Digging: The Body - All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To...

Durrzo
June 19th 2020


2190 Comments


Lamb of God as Lamb of God on Lamb of God.

I got so fucking bored with this long before I finished it. These guys need to try some new shit.

SteakByrnes
June 19th 2020


19562 Comments


Feel like I already know what this album sounds like, nice review btw

Digging: Spiritbox - Singles Collection

DarkSideOfLucca
June 19th 2020


15086 Comments


Pshhhh whatever

I jammed half of this so far and I'm having a great time. I saw one negative review complain about "lack of variety" like they're listening to a band that ISN'T Lamb of God.


Palaces will always be their best by far, though.

Willie
Moderator
June 19th 2020


18808 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Jesus. No wonder their drummer left.

Digging: Make Them Suffer - How to Survive a Funeral

Thalassic
June 19th 2020


4973 Comments


Unashamedly loved every LoG album to date
Will probably enjoy this one as well

DarkSideOfLucca
June 19th 2020


15086 Comments


Fuck yeah, Thalassic. You know the deal.

Mythodea
June 19th 2020


4915 Comments


I only recently got into LoG because a friend of mine is in love with them. Wasn't surprised of their versatility, but because of their hooks and dynamics. And the gruv. If this album has all that LoG are known for, I'm okay with that. I'd like to see them do something different, but it's not like they don't know what their doing. They have a style and stick to it, either that being stubborness or authenticity and integrity, I don't know.

Dissonant
June 19th 2020


507 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

these guys are trash, never understood the appeal for them at all.

Ziggity
June 19th 2020


757 Comments


I always thought they were decent. Never really wanted to jam them on my own though.

vermillionZ
June 19th 2020


327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Memento Mori and Gears are great, the rest is kinda meeeh... Overall not bad but also not great. First time I'm a bit disappointed with a LoG record.

Digging: Haken - Virus

Element
June 19th 2020


32 Comments


always respected log but never found much enjoyment in their music, i'd rather listen to chimaira.

OmairSh
June 19th 2020


16373 Comments


Mark and Willie are such amazing guitarists, but they're suffocating in mediocrity and writing formulaic music

Haven't heard this but I'm not surprised by the average

Digging: Boards of Canada - Geogaddi

Titan
June 19th 2020


20843 Comments


I bet I know exactly what this sounds like

Rowhaus
June 19th 2020


3465 Comments


Randy Blythe looks like a vegan caveman

Digging: Stargazer (AUS) - The Scream That Tore the Sky

dante1991
June 19th 2020


742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Need to listen to a few more times, my initial impression is the last album was much stronger. Momento Mori and Resurrection man are cool though.

DaveT0738
June 19th 2020


769 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I bet this is even more boring than the previous album



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