by Ryan Meehan
Tuesday brought us the seventh studio album from Lamb of God entitled “Resolution”. A key player in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement, the band has had the same members since 1998, a hell of an achievement and almost unheard of in this day and age.
The metal market is pretty oversaturated these days because of a lot of “newer” heavy bands that tend to have a similar sound to them. To be perfectly honest, a lot of these bands aren’t very good. However a couple of them such as Lamb of God, Five Finger Death Punch and Mastodon, have really set themselves apart, even to those “diehard” metal fans that truly believe nothing good has come out of the heavy metal community since the before “…And Justice for All” came out. Unfortunately for every band like Lamb of God, there’s a thousand bands who are considered to be heavy metal even though they’re not anything even remotely close to being metal at all. Probably the height of this ridiculousness came when that Linkin Park band came out. They were the ones who had the Asian dude who would step forward after fifteen or twenty seconds worth of what was supposed to be heavy music and say shit like “One thing, I don’t know why…I’m so insecure ’cause I can’t fuckin’ rap” or whatever nonsensical bullshit was coming out his mouth that particular week. And then a month later, they were all over television on all of these metal shows like they were a huge part of the genre, which I think most of us can agree that they weren’t, and still aren’t.
But Lamb of God I truly believe is for real. I trust them to put out quality, good old fashioned, headbanging music and steer metal fans more towards the days of the Carcasses and the Six Feet Unders. Now, they are a lot different from the Irons Maidens and the Judas Priests of the world, but remember it’s a much harsher world these days. Metal fans are hungry for more brash, scowling, hateful sounding music and with Lamb of God that’s exactly what they get.
One of the words I’ve been trying to avoid in these reviews as of late is “solid”. Although accurate in most cases, it’s nothing more than a nice way of saying that fifty years from now, when you look at all of the reviews all over the internet regarding a certain record, the overwhelming majority of people won’t mention that they were “blown away” by the music on the disc. That said, this is what I would consider to be a very solid CD. Here’s a brief track-by-track breakdown of how this album shapes up:
1. “Straight for the Sun” 8.4/10.0
Pure Sludge. And more of the devil’s note, which is always good stuff. Only 2:20, and obviously a setup for the next track but in a way not only creates juxtaposition for what’s about to happen shortly thereafter, but also sets the pace for how the record will eventually end.
2. “Desolation” 9.1/10.0
Pure Speed. I love the lyrics in this one – “All that for nothing…what a fucking waste of time!!!” Boy, if I had five bucks for every time I’ve said that to myself…Probably a little bit biased towards this one because Hoth Wompah was called Desolate for a while, but this is an awesome track. This would have been my choice for the single hands down.
3. “Ghost Walking” 8.5/10.0
Starts off with a detuned acoustic guitar that sounds like me hammered in my bedroom at 3AM, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This track is the single, and the link to the video is right here:
Seems like a weird approach to doing a metal video, but remember there’s a lot of dorks/geeks in the community, so I can’t say I’m surprised.
4. “Guilty” 8.7/10.0
Very, very fast. Lot of intricate drumming here as well. Changing from speed metal to groove metal can leave you with some guitar riffs that sound double-time but aren’t actually double time at all, and I love shit like that. Abrupt ending probably could have stuck that one a little better.
5. “The Undertow” 5.4/10.0
Hmmm. Not a fan. The line “guaranteed to disappoint” is overused as well. Pretty predictable, stock type of chugga-chugga. Sounds like Hatebreed on a really off day. Yeah, hard to type anything positive about this one, I don’t like this song at all. And waaaaaaaaay the fuck too long. Why is it that the worst song on the CD has to be the most poorly executed and though out? First downer on the disc.
6. “The Number Six” 8.1/10.0
So at the beginning of this track there’s this ProTools drum edit thing that almost sounds like they were going to throw a record scratcher in there. Thank God they didn’t, and they recover from it well. It’s not exactly the most original chord progression in the world, but it’s got vocals that are super evil and that saves it. Sounds a little like The Wretched.
7. “Barbarosa” X/10.0
This is pretty much just an intro to the next track, very Wyoming” era Scratch style in the sense that it’s really depressing but you also know something cool is about to happen so you roll with it. But since it’s really just an intro in the middle of the disc, I’m not going to give it a score because it could likely just as well been attached to track eight. And I’ll never understand why a band like this does that – it’s not like they need to separate them in order to ensure themselves more radio airplay. Bands like this can’t get on the radio.
8. “Invictus” 6.3/10.0
The main riff of this song sounds like “Arcadia” by Clutch so that’s a good thing but man the solo ruins it for me. Maybe it’s time to just 86 all guitar solos for good? I don’t even vote, but I’d cast a ballot for that.
9. “Cheated” 9.7/10.0
Yes. This one starts off straight up punk rock, with the stick clicks and everything. (Think Minor Threat) And so goes the old saying – Punk + Metal minus the cheesy solos = Hardcore. So suffice to say I enjoyed this one a lot. Progresses nicely and ends perfect.
10. “Insurrection” 6.4/10.0
Is there a rule that says every metal band has to have a song called “Insurrection”? It sure seems like it…so zero points for creativity when it comes to the title. They tried to go math metal here and its a lot closer to simplicity than it is being anything complicated so I don’t really think it serves its purpose.
11. “Terminally Unique” 7.2/10.0
Now there’s a song title I absolutely love. Boy I could name plenty of people I know that fit that description. Anyway, this one basically has a shredder type lead base to it. (That could be a double entendre, which I bet isn’t as funny if you actually know someone who’s died of lead poisoning) I’ll give it a plus seven because it goes back to a rhythm shape for several measures at a time.
12. “To The End” 8.3/10.0
Lot of pinch harmonic stuff going on here, very reminiscent of Pantera and that Damageplan band that the Abbott Brothers were in shortly thereafter. Tough as hell.
13. “Visitation” 8.8/10.0
Slayer style old school thrash that has a lot of screaming. Every once in a while I’ll enjoy a track like this where everything’s just a fucking mess and all over the place. This is one of those times. Not super memorable but it’s the next to last song, so it doesn’t need to be. It’s all about sequence.
14. “King Me” 8.5/10.0
This was the first track I heard described to me off of this record. Another overused word in the world of music reviews seems to be “epic”, so I’ll just call this “anthemic”, but at the same time say that it would be impossible for it to be the band’s work to seem epic in the sense that classic metal is. This sounds much more like the epic black metal – the Dimmu Borgir, the Mayhem, the Satyricon, Thorns, and Emperor. The keys are there, the high female choral voice is there – it seems to be all there. How you finish is key and I think they did well.
Total Score: 7.8/10.0
The production on this record is phenomenal. Lamb of God knows their sound and knows what their fans want out of the band, and even though they try to mix it up a little bit at points on this record, they know that it’s not the greatest idea to stray too far from what made them who they are. I like how the guitar and snare drum tones are sharp as hell and they refuse to change them. Wouldn’t you rather have that be the case – with a little extra bit of treble instead of being so muddy and midrange sounding? I know I would.
This whole album is in drop D, so if that’s something that bothers you about new metal it’s to be considered before unloading whatever the fuck it is that iTunes is charging these days.
Dig them or not, Lamb of God is going to be around for a long ass time. The fact I mentioned before about the band members’ longevity tells me two things: 1) there likely hasn’t been a whole lot of alcohol and drug abuse with in the band, and 2) if there has, they’ve sure either done a hell of a job covering it up so that it looks like they can work through it without wanting to tearing each other’s hair out. Whatever it is, I certainly hope they can keep it going, and certainly wish them no ill will.
Official Site: http://www.lamb-of-god.com/home
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