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So far, I'm surprised that there hasn't been any reviews really praising this album. Well, I'm definitely confident enough to rate this album highly. "As the Palaces Burn" is a great album, but I find "Ashes of the wake" to be much more superior sound wise, lyric wise, and over all brutality wise.
First of all, the production on this album (done by Machine) is awesome. I can hear every word Randy is saying (no joke - every word), which is something I can't say about "Palaces". I can also hear the drums a lot better. In "Palaces" I can barely make out the cymbals in the mix, and the drums sound pretty bland. But in "Ashes" the drums sound real in-your-face, and you can hear every little splash, crash, and ping in the cymbals quite clearly... The guitars sound a lot cleaner as well, while still maintaining that heavy crushing sound. I know there are many that are a fan of the real raw sound, but I really prefer to hear every note and instrument, and understand the lyrics...
Which brings me to my next point: the lyrics. Man, these guys have got a lot to say. These lyrics are some of the most powerful, well thought out, and cryptic messages which I have ever heard. Right from the opening line "There's blood on the wall, so you'd might as well just forget it!" I knew this album was going to fuckin blow many of my other CD's out of the water lyric wise. I won't get into the themes here, you'll have to read for yourself.
This album is just fuckin brutal. The riffs are heavy as shit, and very well written. Lamb of God is just a straight up, no bullshit, metal band. Period. I haven't taken it out of my CD player since I bought it... hell, I'm listening to it now, which is probably my 20th straight listen in a row. I really have no complaints. The artwork is just incredible... Actually, the only complaint i have is the "Parental Advisory" sticker on the front. What the fuck is up with that? There is nothing "explicit" about this album IMO. Well... maybe to some momma's boy who can't handle the graphic artwork and the powerful lyrics. Other than that, I highly recommend this album. "As the Palaces Burn" is great, but this CD is far superior. I really hope these guys don't sell-out at any time... As long as they keep pumping out albums like this, I'll keep buyin.