Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lamb of God Review

Wrath is Lamb of God’s latest release and is one of the most polished albums of 2009, thus far. The sixth effort from the Virginia quintet was worthy of being #2 on the Billboard 200 chart when the album was released. With each album the band reclaims their status as one of the tightest and most consistent metal groups in the last ten years.

They went from minor appearances at New England Hardcore and Metal Fest and New Jersey’s Hellfest, to playing in front of thousands upon thousands at Download Fest in Europe and supporting Slayer on a national arena tour within the last five years. Mark Morton, Randy Blythe, John Campbell, Willie and Chris Adler have created their own form of groove-metal established by the late, great Pantera, and put out album after album of inspiringly fresh metal for shredders and head bangers a like to enjoy.

Wrath still brings the long, exaggerated breakdowns that make you fear for your life when you go to their shows. But this album also has very melodically delicate sections with complementary brutal rhythms from Mark Morton and Willie Adler that is reminiscent of early Metallica .

But they didn’t water down their riffs for the sake of appealing to new audiences or keeping up with up and coming bands. Morton and Adler pull out their chops on tracks like “In Your Words” and “Contractor” to remind their peers of their shred credibility. Chris Adler’s presence on the drums is brilliant, as always, and proves to be just as vital to the songs as the vocals.

Lamb of God would not be the same band without Randy Blythe as the lead singer. His raw phrasing and energy is prominent through out all of Wrath. A true sense of maturity has come to their songwriting over the last two albums. They are one of the few bands that have found a niche in the metal community and stuck to it with each album. However, unlike other bands, they have not put out the same album repeatedly. They have built upon a formula gradually, where the first two albums established their musicianship and the last three have shown exponential growth in their abilities as songwriters.

While the traditional use of half time sections, or “breakdowns,” is overused in most hardcore and metal music these days, Lamb of God maintains a level of classic metal necessity. The songs are Wrath are entertaining for musicians for their virtuosity, but Lamb of God also manages to keep the live audience in mind for what will get a rise out of their fans on tour. The bridge sections on this album stray away from the standard “let’s slow everything down and kill each other in the pit” mentality, and instead deliver a more Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell power-groove break for fans to almost dance to.

By the end of Wrath, you know that you’re listening to Lamb of God and that it’s some of the best work they have released to date. Blythe’s screams are visceral and full of feeling backed with an assault of impressive fret work, while the rhythm section pummels the ears with beats only Chris Adler could think of. Lamb of God has proven again why they have maintained their versatility this long with Wrath.

More titles from Lamb of God, Walk with Me Hell dvd, and Killadelphia dvd.

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