Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lamb of God - Lamb of God

Long-running Richmond collective Lamb of God return with their 8th album proper and their first major lineup change to date as they are now without founding drummer Chris Adler. As the metal scene started to pick back up in the United States in the early '00s, Lamb of God emerged as one of the most important bands in what some have considered to be the NWOAHM (New Wave of American Heavy Metal) alongside contemporaries like Shadows Fall and Unearth, but as time has moved forward Lamb of God are still extremely relevant in comparison to the latter two. In 2020, Lamb of God is likely as popular as ever and fans have eagerly awaited another volume to their 20 year career.

Starting things off with "Memento Mori", the band gives a great example of an immediate paradigm shift going right from quiet spoken word and dissonance to an explosion into the classic stylings of what have made Lamb of God a force to be reckoned with. Grooves courtesy of guitar duo Mark Morton and Willie Adler help to provide the platform for which Blythe's signature growl stands upon. Fellow single "Checkmate" is a more straightforward banger and a good track to help get fans familiar with new drummer Art Cruz (ex-Winds of Plague). This track could honestly fit on any Lamb of God album as it is a perfect example of the songs that have continued to make the band so popular.

A few guest spots pop up on the album with James Jasta (Hatebreed) on "Poison Dream" and an excellent showing by Chuck Billy (Testament) on "Routes". The latter almost feels like it could have been on Testament's Low. Lamb of God continue to be a well oiled machine, as the band, while still known as Burn The Priest, goes back to 1995. These guys really know what works for them and they don't do much to change what got them to this point.

Is Lamb of God an album that will change what people feel about them? Absolutely not. But they don't have to. Lamb of God have helped to shape the heavy metal scene for Americans this century, as well as globally and for that we are certainly in their debt. In 2020, we need heavy from all matter of bands, so it is fitting that one of the best and longest enduring bands in the current scene throw out a solid slab of discourse in a time where we all could use to learn.

- Tom

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