Lamb of God – Wrath
For over a decade, Lamb of God has taken groove metal to the mainstream, slowly climbing up the charts, while gaining a reputation as one of the craziest live acts in metal. From chugging breakdowns to walls of death, there is no doubt that when somebody buys a ticket to a LOG concert, all hell is going to break loose. Lamb of God’s albums have always had a consistent quality to them, sticking to a formula with little change or experimenting. Sure, in later years, there has been a heavier emphasis on the lead guitar and vocalist Randy Blythe has worked with his range, but the band has mostly stuck to a career path that emphasizes brutality over innovation.
Wrath, the band’s fifth album, is no different than any of their past four albums. The production is better, there are bits and pieces of actual melody scattered around, and closing track “Reclamation” hits the seven-minute mark, but Wrath is still Lamb of God through and through. Many will read this with a sign of relief, a fear that the band was letting the surprising success of Sacrament get to their head. Others will sigh in frustration, wondering how a band can be so stubborn and unwilling to branch out.
Instrumental “The Passing” is a low-key start to Wrath, with acoustic guitars providing some complex textures normally not heard from Lamb of God. These textures return in the form of a bluesy jam to start “Reclamation” and a timely clean break in the introduction to “Grace.” Other than these calm moments, it is full speed ahead for the Virginian quintet. The first half is particularly strong, with “Set To Fail” and “Fake Messiah” keeping things mid-paced, while heightening the intensity and reckless abandonment. “Contractor” starts off like a freight train going off the tracks, killing everything in its path, before slowly down for a heavy breakdown that was made with the intention of smashing crap.
The second half is where the band deviates to tired and repetitive songwriting. It’s like the band seemed to run out of ideas, aiming for aggression and pounding riffs instead of any type of memorable attributes. “Everything To Nothing” is the only song that seems to have any type of kick to it, save for the god-awful chorus. The lyrics seem to be getting worse and worse as the band’s career goes on, and while that aspect of the band hasn’t always been their strong suit, Wrath seems to be nothing more than a mix of angry tirades and expletives randomly strung together with no clear message. Who really listens to Lamb of God for poetic lyrics though?
Wrath is the sound of a band on auto-pilot. Blythe’s vocals are still harsh and biting, though his singing could use some work, the guitar duo of Mark Morton and Willie Adler provide a few catchy riffs and solid solos, and the rhythm section is mostly dull, save for the work-horse mentality of drummer Chris Adler. Judging by their #2 debut on the Billboard charts, Lamb of God seemed to have found a large audience with Wrath; too bad that it came at the sacrifice of any type of progression or creativity.
Web site: http://www.lamb-of-god.com/
By Dan Marsicano