Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer
Masters of Metal, Lamb Of God are back with their new self titled album set for release this Friday, June 19, 2020 via Nuclear Blast. Having been five years since their last album, it has fans everywhere drooling for it to be unleashed. The long and eagerly awaited new offering will be their tenth studio album release.
‘Lamb Of God’ opens with the already released single, Memento Mori. The second single unleashed from the album and the second taste into what is to come. A hauntingly heavy beginning sees the more often brutal growling vocals of legendary vocalist and frontman, Randy Blythe delivered in a deep and dark clean vocal with child-like whispers every so often to create an even more eerie feel before breaking into the heavy hitting soul of the track. With the repeated screaming of “Wake up, wake up, wake up!” – it’s a song that seems sadly relevant to current happenings in our world that has been a complete whirlwind of reasons for people to do exactly, that; wake the fuck up to what is going on around us and what we need to change in our world and within ourselves. The single also comes with an equally haunting music video which sees the guys play to a blue lit backdrop while the main character in the clip faces his demons in a nightmare that has him eventually ‘wake up’.
Checkmate is up next, which was the first single unveiled from this hard hitting new album and the very first glimpse of what we could expect. With Checkmate, it was clear fans were in for a treat. With Randy, Mark, Willie and John all naturally and seemingly effortlessly delivering that signature Lamb Of God sound and the newest member of the pack, drummer, Art Cruz stepping up to the plate and delivering the goods with drumming that has slotted right in so neatly, you’d think he was always there. His drumming style and talent, clearly matching that of former drummer, Chris Adler. The music video showing the guys performing the track while a swinging pendulum style clock (like the one on the album cover) mesmerises, almost hypnotises you as you watch, with cogs and wheels turning and what appears to be some kind of burial ground within. Cruz’s drumming like a heartbeat through this track; steady, hard, strong and unrelenting. This is the first album he is featured on and I am unequivocally impressed.
Track three, Gears. This track is a standout for me. It’s like a driving force of syncopated sound, with every instrument, including Blythe’s vocals drilling into my ears with every listen. This is a track I will listen to over and over again. Reality Bath starts off softly. Soft guitars like a delicate prelude into what’s about to be set free; like the devil of metal himself is ready to escape, it’s evil in the most wonderful way possible. Spoken word rolling into full guttural vocal. I know a lot of metal vocalists in local bands who rate Blythe as one of their mentors, one of the people they modelled their vocals from and 10 albums in, he’s still unwaveringly delivering that unmistakable brutally beautiful vocal that for me, and many others, sets him above the rest and inspires so many.
New Colossal Hate, the third track released as a single along with a lyric video. Adler has even quoted that this track is “my favourite song on the record…” in a recent press release about the single. He also stated “I’m pretty sure New Colossal Hate grew from a few different demos I had. You know, like parts of car. …” and I can hear that in this track, it’s busy; there’s a lot going on. But it all fits perfectly, a cacophony of heavy and aggressive sound that sits deep within your chest as you listen.
Resurrection Man. Another eerie beginning with the sound of rain, a storm and what appears to be a child’s jewelry box music, before a “Bleargh” from Blythe as the song breaks into its next stance; a steady, heavy beat of unrelenting force. Poison Dream kicks in next, this one featuring Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta on vocals alongside Blythe. With riffs and double kicks galore in this one making it fiercer than a starved lion and the additional brutality added by an extra vocalist, this track certainly stands out.
Routes, the blistering fourth single released is by far another stand for me. Featuring Testament’s Chuck Billy, this one is fast and furious, lending itself, in parts to a very Thrash Metal sound. At 3:04, it is the shortest track on the album, I think due to the velocity in which it is played and delivered. Although this song is the most fleeting, it has a deep meaning and was lyrically inspired by Blythe’s experience and time at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota during the #NODAPL movement. Blythe has said of the song, taken from a recent press release: “I went to Standing Rock because I had heard reports of violence committed on the peaceful protestors there by both state law enforcement and private security contractors, and this violence was not reported in mainstream media for the most part. I went to bring supplies and support these people, who were trying to protect their water, and thereby protect everyone, as everything in the natural world is protected. I was there a week, made some great friends, and learned a lot. It was a very profound experience in my life, and I knew one day I would write a song about it.” Having Chuck Billy, who is of Pomo Indian heritage, to add additional vocals to this meaningful track, gave a deeper authenticity to Blythe’s lyrical story and to the song itself.
Bloodshot Eyes doesn’t hesitate with soft beginnings or any prelude of what’s to come, it begins as steadily as it continues to flow throughout the entire track. This track, for me, lends itself more to a Groove Metal feel and sound. The final track, On The Hook is the opposite of its name, this track is, rather more, OFF the hook. Again, Cruz’s drumming abilities are highlighted here, there are moments during this song where my brain tunes out to everything else and just listens to him, though it’s only a fleeting moment as one can simply not ignore the extreme talent and divine musical force of each and every member of this legendary band of metallers. On The Hook is a fierce and fiery ending to ten turbulent, tenacious tracks that make ‘Lamb Of God’ an album, very much worth waiting for.
Everyone I know who is a big fan of Lamb Of God has a favourite album out of their previously released masterpieces. I feel that this one will be a new favourite for many long time fans. Now if only live music restrictions would lift and the guys could tour again, there is no doubt in my mind that these new songs would be absolute Metal magic delivered in a live performance.
Pre order ‘Lamb Of God’ HERE
Lamb Of God are:
D. Randall Blythe | Vocals
Mark Morton | Guitar
Willie Adler | Guitar
John Campbell | Bass
Art Cruz | Drums
LAMB OF GOD online:
With thanks to Nuclear Blast