Friday, February 10, 2012

Lamb Of God Are Back With A Vengence

I know that it’s only the first month of the New Year, but the bar has been set and it has been set very high. Lamb of God is back and in a huge way. Their new album Resolution was already on just about every “Most Anticipated Albums of 2012” list out there. We last heard from the Richmond, VA natives in 2009 with their album Wrath. The Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus has again delivered a product to make all other metal bands stand up and take note.

The album opens with “Straight For the Sun” and after an intake of a deep breath, the assault begins with a scream of attack by lead singer Randy Blythe. The riff is slow and churning and is like Black Sabbath on steroids. It’s dark and brooding and ends the same way it starts with that throat blistering scream from Randy. The next track “Desolation” really punches the gas to the floor and takes off into familiar territory of LOG fans. It’s intense, fast, brutal and in your face.

“Ghost Walking” will make you do a double take. Wait, did I just hear an acoustic guitar intro? A very cool, short, blues type intro is quickly plugged in and amped up with the volume cranked high. The solo in this song is blistering to the ears and fingertips both. Speaking of ears, “Guilty” will be reminiscent to fans of the earlier LOG sound of just pure intense assault on your senses. The “no intro” approach on this one is like going from 0 to 90 in a second as Randy launches this one out of the park.

Next up is one of my favorite tracks on the album, “The Undertow”. A bit on the thrash side, but still maintaining the elements that make LOG who they are. The solo is also pretty insane on this stellar track also. “Barbarossa” is a change of pace and a 1:40ish chance to catch your breath from the assault that you just went through. It’s an instrumental and sounds unlike anything else on the album. It’s short, but it solidifies the fact that these guys are great musicians not just a one trick pony.

“Invictus” quickly floors the gas pedal and gets us back into the trademark, aggressive territory with a heavy groove and a blistering solo. “Insurrection” is one of the more complex and rewarding tracks on the album and it has several layers to it. Randy’s vocal delivery is a crazy mix of spoken work, throat blistering screams and at times almost clean vocals. There is another awesome solo provided mid-way through. There’s also a killer riff that chugs along throughout the song carrying it to the melodic chorus and then picks right back up again.

The album closes with “King Me” and the guys may have saved the best for last. The intro to the song should be an indicator with how this song is about to build into an epic masterpiece. The guitars are dark and eerie when combined with the somewhat operatic vocals in the background and Randy’s clean, spoken lines. Then, the song bursts into the rawness that we expect from LOG but with a huge twist. The guys have gone way out on a limb on this track and push the envelope by including an orchestra/string section on this track. I think it works in an epic way and it will certainly be interesting to hear the fans reaction to this track that shows the guys really branching out.

So, is this a perfect album? Well, it’s not 100% perfection, but it comes pretty close. The second half of the album may not be as uniformly strong as the first half, but it certainly is far from being weak my most standards. Randy Blythe will truly astound you on here. If you have been following LOG, then you may think that you have already heard all the range that he had to offer. Well, he takes his epic screams to an even lower level of intensity that you thought was unimaginable. His almost clean delivery and spoken verse on a few tracks will definitely shock you.

The two guitar assault of Mark Morton and Willie Adler has raised the bar as well for their intensity and rawness that they deliver. Yes, there are plenty of blistering solos and insane shredding to the point that you wonder if these guys have any fingertips left. Chris Adler’s drumming is very underrated and his playing has gotten even more aggressive ob this album. I wish that John Campbell’s bass would be brought more to the forefront as it seems to get overshadowed at times by all that is going on around him.

Resolution has everything that Lamb of God fans have come to know and love over the years. The guys have certainly set the bar high for other releases coming out this year. Could the album of the year for 2012 have already been released so early into the year? Well, I think it may just have, but the next 11 months will prove interesting.

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