Lamb of God
Lamb of God


2.5
average

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (345 Reviews)
June 25th, 2020 | 37 replies


Release Date: 06/19/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wake up, wake up. Wake up!

Once, Lamb Of God were heralded as the new faces of heavy metal and the group’s earlier releases garnered both a loyal fan base and larger critical appraisal. In particular, the band’s combination of breakneck grooves, harsh vocals and noodling riff lines oversaw a wave of brutality, thrash and groove presented to the same fanbases waiting for a “new Pantera” (or any other musical stop-gap) and largely took over the awaiting fanbases need for something heavier in a world of mainstream hooks, clown masks and nu-metal supremacy. Twenty years from Lamb Of God’s debut, New American Gospel (not including their Burn The Priest material) and Richmond’s metal export finally unveils what would define the band under a self-titled album.

It’s here I’d like to pause. A “self-titled”, eponymous record should mean something to a band, not unlike a defining moment of sorts… Lamb Of God does this in spades, but the group’s eighth studio full-length identifies with a band that’s burnt out, middling and ultimately going through the motions while watering down the formula that’s got them this far.

Back to it then.

Prior to this years’ release, the band announced a split with the group’s founding drummer, Chris Adler, (while citing a motorbike accident and little else) and recruited Art Cruz who despite having a chance to provide the band’s sound with new, fresher influences added nothing past a solid performance—merely existing to fill a void in the lineup. Still, “Memento Mori” opened the band’s self-titled record with gusto. Ominous spoken word weaves into minor melodies and eerie atmospheres. All in all, it’s a positive, less “balls out” approach than what normally introduces a past Lamb Of God album. Even as the track kicks into gear, it’s clear that Lamb Of God are going to lean heavily into their past nuances, and fairly, why shouldn’t they? For nine other albums it’s more-or less worked for them. Whether it’s the unbridled rage of As The Palaces Burn the sensational hooks of Sacrament or Blythe’s experiences in a Czech prison a la VII: Sturm und Drang, Lamb Of God has always had a translatable, relevant experience to present to their fans. Still, Lamb Of God sounds flat, mixed in quality and overly underwhelming when compared to the group’s past triumphs.

Where “Memento Mori” outlined a solid start to the new record, Lamb Of God quickly loses steam. “Checkmate” trades the band’s typical tight musicianship and endearing moments for questionable lyrical phrases and run of the mill musicianship for quick grabs at memorability. Blythe happily screams “make America hate again” and finishes a few stanzas with “the American scream” which makes a mockery of whatever socio-political standpoint the band stands behind. The biggest issue Lamb Of God’s self-titled efforts has is that the sum of its parts are supposed to define the very essence of the group. Lamb Of God isn’t blatantly offensive, in fact it’s clear that the group’s eighth record is listenable - but it’s also hard to dismiss the outward mediocrity that does cause listening offense. As such, the album bogs down in its belly. Tracks like “Gears”, “Reality Bath” and “Resurrection Man” don’t add anything of value to a group trying to define itself; the riffs are too simple, lyrical lines cringe (“born in a cemetery/walk on skulls and bones) and the atmosphere flattens to a point of forgetfulness. Lamb Of God is detached from the energies that propelled Ashes Of The Wake, Sacrament or As The Palaces Burn, reducing the band’s song-writing to their blandest form to date.

In the hopes of adding some diversity to the record, the album’s later half is littered by two prominent figures in mainstream metal. However, the Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) featured “Poison Dream” fails to punch through the record’s flatter tones. Jasta’s usual shouts don’t detach enough from the normal Blythe furor, somehow allowing only a Mark Morton guitar solo to bound out of the mix. “Routes” is also similarly consistent in quality. Despite featuring Chuck Billy (of Testament fame) the track remains in the same level of sameness that plagues the rest of the album. Harsh? Not really. Lamb Of God’s musical palette used to stand diverse enough without the inclusion of cheap featurettes, assuming that the band has brought these names in to expand on their soundscape only hints at other creative issues.

Since their ascension to metal’s highest level (including some prominent festival appearances and numerous accolades), Lamb Of God has always maintained a certain level of quality, even while exploring variations of their sound. In dropping Chris Adler and releasing a self-titled album the band has certainly induced some head-scratching moments, but none so more than any number of the tracks found here. Lamb Of God isn’t a defining moment in a successful career, rather it’s a definitive slump that will only see a handful of repeats amongst devoted fans.



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user ratings (178)
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
TypoNegative (2.5)
" I was born in a cemetery, learned to walk on skulls and bones"...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2020


12878 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Could have very much 2'd this and not have had a second thought.

MiloRuggles
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2020


806 Comments


Oof, that final line. Nice writeup. Having gazed into the depths of your scrobbling, I will treat your word as scripture for this one.
'Blythe happily screams “make America hate again” and finishes a few stanzas with “the American scream”'
fucking lol

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2020


12878 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

For a band that dominated my high school years, yeah - that.

Dissonant
June 25th 2020


663 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Some seriously brutal stuff going on here

peartnoy
June 25th 2020


1461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Could've just written "Lamb of God on autopilot" lol



Not a diss on the review btw, it's more that there is so little to say about this. Not bad but so uninteresting ugh.

Toondude10
June 25th 2020


14275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Lamb of God on autopilot"



album in a nutshell, not awful but really bland

supremejelly
June 25th 2020


1201 Comments


"In dropping Chris Adler"

Fwiw it sounds like he quit, and his reasoning was that he believed LoG prevented him from exploring his creativity


Digging: Zen Mother - The Ascent

osmark86
June 25th 2020


10137 Comments


https://www.nme.com/news/music/lamb-of-god-drummer-chris-adler-addresses-exit-from-band-2560404

sounds like he pretty much felt he had to leave.

DarkSideOfLucca
June 25th 2020


15089 Comments


Shit, I enjoyed this on the first listen but I don't know what to think of it now. It's solid, but like...I can't confidentially say that I'll jam it much after a new "great" album comes out.

peartnoy
June 25th 2020


1461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's enjoyable enough but there's nothing really memorable.

DaveT0738
June 25th 2020


837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Shit's aggressively boring

Mort.
June 25th 2020


15174 Comments


why is chuck billys name in quotation marks

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 25th 2020


35858 Comments


Last time I enjoyed LoG was Resolution in 2012, which I reviewed - and Nocte commented in disbelief that I listened to metal. Ah, memories. Good review, shit's aggressively boring [2]

Digging: Deftones - Ohms

alamo
June 25th 2020


3216 Comments


album cover looks so outdated lol it screams mid-2000s generic metal

Digging: Lidio Mateus - Determination

Scoot
June 25th 2020


20143 Comments


VII was great, this is meh

Digging: Cloudkicker - Solitude

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2020


12878 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Sow, it has been a while hasn't it? Ah, sweet nostalgia.

JeetJeet
June 25th 2020


8468 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"album cover looks so outdated lol it screams mid-2000s generic metal"

Their album art just gets uglier and uglier. What in the entire FUCK is the art for VII supposed to be?



Digging: Fleshwater - Demo

swordpath
June 26th 2020


13 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It grooves and its heavy. I actually expected to be much more bored with the album than I am. Lamb of God isn't reinventing the wheel rather sticking to what they do best and doing a fair job of it. It neither devolves from where the band has been nor does it chart any new territory. Quite simply its scratching an itch for me and that's good enough for now.

heck
June 26th 2020


4861 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the alternate cover for this is 10x better

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
June 26th 2020


21269 Comments


Some bands don't age well, and this is one of them. Good write-up Noct!

Digging: Anna von Hausswolff - All Thoughts Fly



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