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With the dawn of the new century came a load of new ideas, one of those being in the music idea. The genre being "metalcore", as it is called, although being underground in the late 90's, a few groups helped this genre rise up from the underground and become the commercial monster it is today, one of those bands is Lamb of God.
When this band first released their album as the title they are under now, they were nothing more than a basic metalcore type band to me, but eventually they grew more and more into the metal realm, being more influenced by heroes of the more popular metal bands of the 90's such as Pantera, and Machine Head. With all the change they were taking, they got signed after their 2nd release (third if you include the Burn the Priest album), and released this album which I believe to be there second best album. This album was important to the whole genre of metalcore itself, having the lead single on Guitar Hero and introducing a whole new legion of people to the somewhat extreme for of music.
Before talking about the music, I thought i'd talk about the production, which I find solid. The guitar is good in the mix, you can hear the riffs, and solos when played, the drums are quite audible, and the vocals are in the mix well also. The only problem I have is that the bass is a little quiet but whatever. On to the good stuff.
The album opens up with Laid to Rest, the song which is featured on Guitar Hero 2, and for good purpose, I believe the riffs are excellent, and to be honest, sound awesome (probably why they put it on guitar hero). The drumming in this song, and the album in general is pretty basic metal thrash/groove metal drumming, with the occasional good fill and cool drum lines. Metalcore is often crapped on for using breakdowns alot, which I think is stupid it gets crapped on, the bands that are "true" metal also use this, such as old cryptopsy(if you don't believe that just play a few songs on None so Vile), as well as Suffocation. While used on this album, I find that the breakdowns are well placed, and fun to listen to.
Solos on this album are spacious, but sweet, with the biggest highlight for fans of solos being on the title track, with a solo from Chris Poland (Megadeth fame), and Alex Skolnick (Testament fame), as well as a solo from the two guitarists of the band. The guitar playing on this album is fun and creative enough that I can honestly say I think they are the best guitarist of the new genre of metal, while they may not be as awesome as Dave Murray/Adrian Smith, they know their way around the guitar. The main turnoff in the instrumentation is that the drumming is way more simple than the As the Palaces Burn album,which I found to be excellent, but this is probably a showing of the changes to a more groove oriented sound.
Many of the lyrics deal with a anti war stance, and liberal stances in other things, while I do not offhand agree with all the material, I think it was all pretty well thought out stuff, the only exception being the spoken lines in the song "Ashes of the Wake", I just found that annoying and the only turnoff on that solid song.
Overall, I found this album to be excellent, and probably could compare it to the Master of Puppets of thrash, or the Altars of Madness of death metal, while not as technical as other releases, it is largely influential on their own respective genre, as this album is to metalcore or possibly future genres of music to be pioneered.