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To say that I was hoping this would be a good album is an understatement.
With their first two albums, 'New American Gospel' and the Devin Townsend produced 'As The Palaces Burn', I'd long come to the conclusion that while Lamb Of God's sound, whilst nothing mind-blowing or strictly original, was exactly that - their own sound, which no other metalcore that I knew of was making at the time... plus they sounded heavy as fuck, with the debut album even sounding intricate on a technical level.
Aside from the rather bizarre step of going from having producers with such high reknown as Steve 'Today Is The Day' Austin and Devin Townsend working on their albums, to someone who's name both escapes me and strikes no core of recognition anyway; Lamb Of God have opted for the rather pathetic step of trying to carry on the sound they had going on their previous album, that far from sounding relatively new just makes the album feel stoic and bland, which coupled with the fact that the other parts of the album sound like mediocre Killswitch Engage-tributes makes for a foreboding outcome on the acclaim of this album.
I won't go as far as saying this is strictly a "BAD" album, it's just nothing compared to the bands previous material. Also you have to take into account the awe that 'New American Gospel', in particular the track 'Black Label', struck into me when I first heard it, as well as the sense of progression you got when you first heard their next album.
As much as I lament to say it, Lamb Of God's songs on 'Ashes Of The Wake' blur into one more or less totally monotone and dare I say it, formulaeic brand of bland metalcore that quite frankly doesn't really cut the mustard anymore.
The band CAN do better, of that I'm not really in doubt, it's just whether they choose to stop kissing up aurally to Killswitch Engage & Shadows Fall long enough to realise that on their day they can be far superior to either band.