Album Review: Do Lamb of God Go All Black Album on Lamb of God?
Like AC/DC, Amon Amarth, and the late Slayer, Lamb of God trade on their legendary consistency. The loss of founding drummer Chris Adler and the decision to name their ninth studio album after themselves led to some concern. We all know what happened when Metallica went eponymous. Thankfully, Lamb of God stay the course. Rather than marking a new direction for the band, Lamb of God cements their commitment to being, well, Lamb of God.
What I’m trying to say is, Lamb of God sounds like Lamb of God. It’s an unrelenting burst of high-quality groove metal. New drummer Art Cruz brings a slightly lighter touch and more organic feel to the drums, but honestly, casual listeners won’t even notice the difference. The Richmond-based quartet have locked into their thing by now. The first half presents about as tight a crash course on how to write kick-ass metal songs as you’re likely to find anywhere.
Like the bands mentioned at the top of this review, Lamb of God don’t stray very far from their central mission statement. While you’re gonna head bang along to “Checkmate” and “Gears,” there ain’t a lot of variety to mix things up. The biggest curveballs come in the second half, when Jamie Jasta and Chuck Billy show up for guest spots. Those respective songs become fun little tributes to Hatebreed and Testament. Another nice thing? Randy Blythe applies his articulate lyrics and fathomless reward to political concerns — of which he has many. That rage throws gasoline on the fire, igniting these tunes.
Yeah, this is a Lamb of God album. There’s something impressive about the consistency of a band at their level, however. Despite an undeniable familiarity to the music, their passion and professionalism makes them stand out. As Blythe said, there may never be another Metallica or Iron Maiden, but nor will there be another Lamb of God.
Lamb of God comes out Friday on Epic Records. Listen to “Routes,” featuring Chuck Billy, below. Pre-order the album here.