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New American Boredom - 29%

The_Ghoul, June 18th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2000, CD, Prosthetic Records

I have a philosophy that might strike some as being petty, but it's something I rigidly adhere to: whoever owns the keys to the car or the keys to the house has veto power of the music. Such a philosophy lead me to be listening to Lamb of God's supposedly most "death metal" album whilst sitting in the passenger's seat of a friend of mine. However, I attempted to like it. That's kind of the second part of that philosophy: whoever is in the passenger's seat or a guest will try to enjoy whatever is being played. So I tried my best to enjoy New American Gospel, preparing myself for brutal breakdowns, vicious drums, cutting guitars, and barked vocals.

I didn't get what I had hoped for, and then some; I have not, in a long while, heard a more monotonous affair than New American Gospel. I don't know if the rest of Lamb of God's material is equally bland, but let me describe what this album has in store for the potential listener. I found drums that seemed to vary from mid-paced idling on the double bass with that ever so cliche' tuned-ever-so-high snare drum occasionally joining in, to slow narcolepsy-inducing breakdown section, with nothing that pushes the engine even past 3000 rpm. The guitars try their hardest, though, to deliver a fit of aggression deserving of the half angsty/half tuff guy lyrics, but by golly they seem to just get mired in this morass of chugging and tritones, delivering one soulless and meandering riff after another. They try, sweating and plunking away at the strings, oh these guitarists try, but the riffs never seem to rise above the level of mildly perturbed, much less pissed off or raging. I mean, even considering that this is half groove metal/half metalcore with a tinge of grindcore influence, and adjusting my expectations accordingly, it still can't help but seem like these folks are acting like a third-tier band at best. These riffs literally annoy and frustrate me with their level of retardation and tedium, and even if it's just the sluggishness of the drums rubbing off, it still makes listening to this album hard.

Don't rely on Blythe's vocals to redeem this mess, because he delivers probably the most monotonous, droll, and useless performance here out of all the members, "rawr rawr rawr"-ing (I mean that in the worst way possible) his way through the songs without changing up his rhythm or pitch, because no, that would mean deviating from this tough guy act he has going. I mean I guess it fits in with the whole "let's be super repetitive" thing this band has going, but god his voice gets annoying after a couple minutes. It's like Blythe feels he has discovered the perfect vocal rhythm and delivery style, just as the guitarists feel they have discovered the perfect riff, and is committed to writing only variations and permutations on that one rhythm or that one riff. Same goes for the drums, except he uses 3 basic types of beats, which is better, I guess, than Blythe, who uses only one style. Either way, there are hardly enough ideas on this album for an EP, let alone a full length album. Leave this album to the newbs and 14 year olds who think they're super badass, seeing as there is so much better out there, even in the creativity-starved world of -core.

Too plastered to even get to the pulpit. - 38%

hells_unicorn, August 2nd, 2012

Lamb Of God tends to be a popular subject of discussion amongst younger fans of metal, or at least that has been my experience. Constant references to them as being drawn from a death metal sound, particularly with regards to their earliest material kept coming up, thus prompting both a sense of skepticism and curiosity in me for what was actually going on with this band back in 2000. Upon learning that the band used to go by the name Burn The Priest (a more appropriate title for the alleged sub-genre affiliation), and also finding out that there was some grindcore influences going on in their 90s material, it became clear where the death metal comparisons were coming from.

Many laud this band’s debut “New American Gospel” as being their most intense, but many more seem to disown it as a botched first attempt, and in a sense both parties have the right idea. This is an album that is defined literally by how heavy it tries to be, pulling out a veritable arsenal of Pantera, early Machine Head, Meshuggah and trace amounts of NYDM influences here and there, mostly in the instrumental department. The riff work gets a bit busy in a thrashing, chaotic fashion on parts of “Letter To The Unborn” that is mildly reminiscent of Malevolent Creation, while the closing long song “O.D.H.G.A.B.F.E.” throws in a bluesy sounding Black Sabbath-styled riff with a strong dose of Southern attitude ala Pantera. However, most of what is heard on here guitar-wise tends to stagnate in moderately intricate chug groove territory, getting monotonous after the first couple songs, and relies heavily on the drums (which are pretty dry and flat sounding) to keep things interesting.

While mostly a straight-forward groove album with a few extreme twists here and there, this thing really crashes and burns in the vocal department. Its common knowledge that vocalist Randy Blythe was hitting the bottle to the point of feeling no pain during the recording sessions for this album, and boy does he showcase what happens when someone can’t hold their liquor. Right from the beginning of “Black Label” (named for Blythe’s favorite brand of daddy’s cough medicine) the random barks and shrieks that are largely remnants from the death/grind aspects of Burning The Priest” are amounting to little more than unintelligible gibberish. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue for a grind-infused offering, but the rhythmic precision that should always come with a non-discernible series of gurgles and shouts is not to be found here, rendering an otherwise fairly tight musical arrangement into a garbled mess.

Perhaps the biggest mistake I made in approaching this band was going to the very beginning, and most who are generally drawn towards the modern, metalcore-like character of this band’s later offerings should steer clear of this album, along with anyone who might be receptive to the band’s more extreme past prior to taking the LOG moniker. In spite of all the cliché Pantera trappings lifted right off “Far Beyond Driven” and occasional references to the goofy atmospherics of “Burn My Eyes”, this is a style that can be pulled off reasonably well. But it definitely didn’t happen here.

Very Shaky Start for a Fantastic Band - 70%

Mc_Metal_95, October 31st, 2011

The very first time I heard this album, I swore it was a completely different band. I had only recently become a LOG fan and was only familiar with Lamb of God post-Ashes of the Wake, and when my ears were exposed to the very first Lamb of God album, I was not a fan of it by any means. The production was paper thin, the drums (even though the playing was phenomenal) sounded like cardboard, the guitars sounded like they were recorded through a wall, and the vocals... well... haha. I flat out hated it. But as time progressed, I began to fall deeply in love with Lamb of God, and so I thought it was time I put all opinions aside and give New American Gospel one last go. My thoughts this time around were much better than before, so lets get this god damned review on the road.

The album starts off with the absolute crusher of an opener, "Black Label", with pounding guitars, drums, and bass. Its definitely a mosh pit favourite. It's also one of the best off the album. The only thing that lets the track down is the horrible roaring coming from vocalist Randy Blythe, apparently recorded the whole way through stone cold drunk. The next two tracks, "A Warning" and "In the Absence of the Sacred", are absolutely fucking great. "A Warning", just like "Black Label", explodes out of nowhere and really announces itself. It also features a blast beat, played furiously by drummer Chris Adler. "In the Absence of the Sacred" is my personal favourite off the record with the band giving it 100% all the way through and for once I can actually bare Randy's vocals which seem very fitting to the song.

After such a solid opening, this is where the album takes a turn for the worst. While not a bad song, "Letter to the Unborn" just plods along sounding quite uninspired and just another run-of-the-mill extreme metal song, as do "The Black Dahlia" and "The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion". Descending further down the trail of mediocrity is "Terror and Hubris in the House of Frank Pollard", containing guest vocals from the album's producer, Today is the Day's guitarist/vocalist Steve Austin. To be frank, the vocals are horrible. They're shrill and extremely high pitched, but on the bright side they make Blythe's screaming sound amazing in comparison.

The last third of the album really ends the album in an extremely positive light. "Pariah", a song about a run-in Randy had with his friend (who was a drug addict), is a perfect addition to any Lamb of God concert set. Well performed by the band throughout. "Confessional" follows in the same light, rocking hard with the band giving their all. The album closer "O.D.H.G.A.B.F.E (Officer Dick Head Gets a Black Fucking Eye)" not only holds the title for best song title ever, but is a fantastic album closer.

Lamb of God's 2000 debut album, New American Gospel, starts off fantastically only to be let down by a weak middle and then a great last portion. While not the greatest album, New American Gospel introduced the whole world to Lamb of God, we embraced them, and they embraced us five albums and countless shows later. Lamb of God have proved that they are here to stay. Whether we like it or not.

Overall: 7/10

Production:

Well, it's pretty damn piss poor, but the band/producer did what they could with the amount of money and the amount of time they had (which wasn't much). The guitars are paper thin and the drums, in particular the snare drum, sound horrible. The bass is inaudible. Randy's vocals are the only part of the album that sounds mildly professionally-recorded. However, this doesn't stop the band from performing brilliantly.

Overall: 4/10

Individual Performances:

CHRIS ADLER (drums): fantastic from beginning to end and never a dull moment listening to him drum. A hugely important element to Lamb of God's success.

10/10

MARK MORTON/ WILLIE ADLER (guitars): fantastic performance as well from Mark and Willie while some riffs on Gospel... seem to be very stock/run-of-the-mill guitar riffs. They were and still are giving guitarists everywhere a run for their money.

9/10

JOHN CAMPBELL (bass): it's almost impossible to review a bass performance when the instrument is barely audible.

?/10

RANDY BLYTHE (vocals): compared to other LOG releases, his performance here is by far my least favourite. He seems to fail to produce notes. Just simple noise. He has improved greatly over the following albums, and I can see nothing but improvement from here on in.

4/10

I actually like it... - 60%

Seducerofsouls85, June 16th, 2011

I tend to make my friends scratch their head when I say I like this album, or more so on occassions when I expose them to it. Now I don't hate metalcore, but I do think there is a winning formula in order to do it, or otherwise it is obsolete emo tantrums. If you're relatively new to Lamb Of God, say for example you listen to anything post "Ashes of the Wake", then you maybe wondering what all the metalcore comparisons and accusations are about. Well, this should be the unshakable conviction that Lamb Of God weren't always the supposed heirs to the throne of Pantera. Back in the day, they had a mix and match of sounds, sometimes it worked out quite well other times it didn't. Their debut as "Burn the Priest" had two or three tracks I actually liked front to back, but this album had vaster improvements in songwriting even if the production is terrible. Now anybody who is reading my thrash reviews is probably astounded to find I prefer this more than Sepultura's debut "Morbid Visions". This album suffers the same setbacks even though it is a different genre. Only the black metal in me liked "Morbid Visions", the rest was sub par and really predictable even for 1986. Sorry I just had to throw that out there - do not want to be seen as a hypocrite. And "New American Gospel" just seems to hold my attention span long enough not to be considered a terrible album.

When listening to this album, you get a mix of sounds ranging from Meshuggah or Malevolent Creation, add a barrage of hardcore noise...I'm thinking Discharge, then add a hint of early Shadows Fall and perhaps Killswitch Engage and you got "New American Gospel". Now on paper the concept probably seems fucking abysmal, especially if you're into your pure death or pure thrash or whatever. But I find it to be surprisingly good. "A Warning" and "In the Absence of the Sacred" often milk the shit out of the same riffs and Randy's vocals are nothing to write home about unless you haven't been exposed to much death metal, then I guess they would hold some novelty. But the choruses are quite memorable and infectious provided you give this album more than one listen and I'm sure they will grow on you too. "Terror and Hubris..." has quite an interesting beginning with a long drawn out half-baked lead, but considering the subject matter of the track I find the mood the riffs set to be quite fitting. "Pariah" might make some people cringe with the tough guy lyrics and what have you, but the song is about a friend who was a heroin addict and betrayed them. I'm not here to preach, but who are we to judge this song? And again, although it is repetitive, "Pariah" is one of the most memorable. "The Subtle Art of Murder and Persuasion" starts out with a genius lead, or is it a riff? Anyway, the intro has much more of a traditional stamp on it, and if you ask me this is the earliest indicator of the evolution to come surrounding this band. It is concluded by breakdowns with a few mosh-worthy riffs, but the entirety of this track is not as good as the opening twenty seconds. "Letter to the Unborn", while very personal concerning Randy, holds little to no hooks for my liking. Nothing about this song is catchy or bearable and is definitely skip worthy. I actually like the raw production on this album, probably due to my years of listening to Darkthrone. The drums are a little clicky, but again we all know about the time constraints. And even though Randy was shitfaced recording his vocals, it isn't that bad. Trust me, he is not the first in rock and roll history, so honestly who the fuck cares?

In conclusion, I feel this album probably gets a bit too much stick than it deserves, but this is not coming from some fanboy because Lamb Of God have never really been one of my favourite bands. Sure, I own all of their albums and yes, I will be the first to admit the winning formula of constant chugging groove ala Pantera that they use of late can be tiresome, but Lamb Of God always add something interesting to the equation back when this album was released and now. Back in their metalcore days, most bands were simply playing breakdowns. Lamb Of God didn't. Now they play more groove-orientated material. With every other band all you get is the groove. Again Lamb Of God don't. Lamb Of God are a band with a few good ideas on a slow interesting evolution even to this day. Whether they are metal titans or not really lies in the difference of opinion, but had Lamb Of God carried on in this vein, we maybe comparing them to Job For A Cowboy or Suicide Silence.

Mediocre Metalcore - 60%

Five_Nails, August 14th, 2009

Another band from my old metalcore days, Lamb of God was my drug of choice while trying to find an outlet for my hormonal teenage angst (before it became outright hate at least). I picked up “New American Gospel” back in 2004 after listening to “Ashes of the Wake” so many times that I heard it in my sleep. At the same time as I picked up “New American Gospel” I was hit with a rough case of the flu and strep throat which kept me out of school for a week, a week that I ended up spending listening to “New American Gospel”. After a few listens where I hated the album, I began to grow to like it, and as an angry fourteen year old headbanged until I puked.

This album, “New American Gospel” has been lambasted the world over as one of the most poorly produced, worst sounding, and least intelligible albums the Virginia metalcore outfit has ever recorded. Despite this being their first album as Lamb of God, and despite having only a few days to record this album, despite being royally screwed over by their manager, despite financial problems, and despite the fact that they hadn’t even finished all the songs for the album, this album has a ton of places where it could be improved and still a ton more where it is obvious that they did not have the time to improve it. I’m not going to dispute that Blythe’s vocals are ridiculously unintelligible, (and not even creative enough to get kudos for being brutal or br00tal) neither am I disputing that the production is bad, it’s absolute shit, but the music itself is still pretty good. I don’t mean that it is groundbreaking at all, anyone who can headbang can do it to this album, but the music itself is unique and well-written at times. At other times, though the music is a detriment to the album.

From the ridiculous amount of bass and guitar blending in “A Warning” to the terrible wailing of Randy Blythe in three quarters of the album, it is obvious why many would absolutely hate it, but some sections of the music are really well done. The breakdown in “In the Absence of the Sacred” is pretty intense and heavy though it does get a tad too br00tal after going around too many times. The chorus of the song though is another exceptional part as Chris Adler’s superb drumming comes through in some intense blast beats. The drumming is a focal point of the music as it is one of the few elements that done right on this album. From the double bass beats in “Black Label” to the intense tempo of bass and cymbal in “Letter to the Unborn”, Chris Adler’s drumming is one of the few things holding this album together and allowing it to pass, but barely.

“Terror and Hubris in the House of Frank Pollard” is a well written song; the epic beginning really sets a dark scene for what is to come, which is a groove-oriented hardcore sound. Blythe’s vocals sound like shit as always, but looking past them there is a well-executed set of riffing, powerful double bass, and a much darker and heavier ambiance than what is created by the rest of the album. “Terror and Hubris” is another focal point of the album as it, “Pariah”, and “Black Label” are, for the most part, the best songs of the album with a lot of annoying and directionless filler between them.

As there are so many other flaws in this album, no matter how much I used to like it Lamb of God’s “New American Gospel” is still a very sub-par album. I really wanted to go back and immediately like the album, but while listening to it all I can find are generic deathcore breakdowns in nearly every song, annoying wailing from Randy Blythe and very slow and arduous riffing that should have been broken up by soloing or at least some change in tempo at times. Each song is something that any mindless headbanger could get a kick out of, but for something that is supposed to be serious metalcore, this album just doesn’t cut it compared to “Ashes of the Wake”, Lamb of God’s only really good album in my opinion. Though there are a couple of highlights, if you want some metalcore that has some more thought put into it with just about the same production value, Shadows Fall’s “Of One Blood” is a much better written, but just as poorly produced piece of metalcore.

Their most br00tal release. - 37%

IWP, February 9th, 2008

So this is where Lamb of God (formally known as Burn the Priest) started out. It actually took me a little while to get into Lamb of God, and once I did, I realized that they're actually pretty good. At the time, I had their new album Sacrament. Shortly, there after. I bought Ashes of the Wake which was also pretty decent. Then, I heard buzz about this album being the best. Knowing that, I deceided to get this album expecting to hear some more great riffs. This album does indeed have riffs, and it's quite heavy as well. However, there's just two little problems thta this album has.

1.Randy fucking sucks on this album! It sounds like he's just screaming randomly during these songs. And his voice gets very annoying, especially after the first couple of songs. I've always wondered why this band has been labled as metalcore, and now I know why. There is a lot of metalcore and hardcore influence on this album. Randy's annoying screaming and the breakdowns make this sound a lot like a metalcore album. Thank god, they would ditch this style by Ashes of the Wake and just go for a straight-up post-thrash sound.

2.The lack of variety, and solos also make this album very unlistenable. Every song is heavy as fuck, but that's all they are. There's no othe qualities that the album has. It's not catchy, it's not very interesting, nor is it even very hard to play. The formula gets very irritating to the point where you want to kill some babies. Hell, Unearth can even do better than this. At least they have melody, and awesome solos for a metalcore band.

However, there is one listenable though not very good song on here. That being Black Label. It's nice and heavy, and the riffs fucking slay. Though, the vocals kind of butcher it a little. It's the best song on the album, though that's not saying much considering how the rest of the album is complete utter garbage. If you want to hear some good Lamb of God, get their newer albums, because they've certainly improved their sound drastically since then. Whoever says that this is better than Sacrament or Ashes is a fool. nuff said. Avoid this album at all cost.

Why musicians should be sober during recording - 45%

enshinkarateman, February 9th, 2008

Black Label be damned. Apparently, the first song on Lamb of God’s “New American Gospel” was named after vocalist Randy Blythe’s drink of choice, and he was dead drunk when he recorded the vocals. And it’s a damn shame he was, because he almost ruins an otherwise listenable album.

The songs themselves are decent, but Randy’s indecipherable screaming is just irritating. Some songs you can get past it (“Black Label”, “In The Absence of the Sacred”, “Pariah”), but the majority of the album is a chore to listen to.

Not just because of the vocals, mind you. The drum sound is atrocious, with the double-bass having the dreaded “cardboard” sound. The drumming itself is fantastic, but the sound transformation it underwent during the producing stage killed it. Pity. The bass is good and audible, but usually doesn’t stand out much, save for the beginning of “Confessional”, which also features impressive drumming from Chris Adler.

Which brings us to the guitarists. I do not understand modern metal’s problem with solos. Sure, there’s a solo in “Letter to the Unborn”, and some interesting guitarwork in “Terror and Hubris in the House of Frank Pollard”, and “The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion”, but really, for a band claiming to be “Pure American Metal”, there are simply not enough solos. Sure, the riffs are good, but, as the old saying goes “Man does not live on riff alone”, or something like that. The lack of solos are one reason as to why I would say “New American Gospel” is more of a hardcore album than a metal album, in addition to the slew of breakdowns and screaming vocals.

One thing that is outstanding about New American Gospel is the lyrics of Randy Blythe. His unconventional vocabulary makes for a refreshing change from the seemingly-juvenile “I hate everything” lyrics of your typical metalcore/hardcore band. Another positive thing about "New American Gospel" is the appearance of Today is the Day’s Steve Austin in “Terror and Hubris on the House of Frank Pollard.” His “duet” with Randy makes for a disturbing atmosphere, and Austin’s vocal delivery makes it possible to follow along with the lyrics printed in the booklet, which is a very appreciated change from Blythe's enigmatic howling.

Overall, Lamb of God miss the mark due to horrible vocals, lack of solos, and atrocious production. If Lamb of God went back and rerecorded “New American Gospel”, then maybe it would earn a passing grade. In the meantime, I recommend you pick up “Ashes of the Wake”, of you want Lamb of God at their peak.

Highlights: Black Label, Pariah, O.D.H.G.A.B.F.E., Letter to the Unborn

An Exercise in Tedium - 21%

DrOctavia, May 4th, 2007

Let me start off by saying that I have tried, quite hard, to like this album. I bought it having had Lamb of God repeatedly recommended to me by a couple of friends, one in particular whose musical tastes I tend to agree with. I had heard a couple of songs by them, such as “Laid to Rest” and “Omerta” from Ashes of the Wake and they seemed pretty good. And so I flushed some cash down the proverbial pooper, by buying the reissue of this now well-known metalcore band’s debut, New American Gospel. Now, I’m not a big metalcore fan by any stretch of the imagination. I find that most metalcore bands have pretty unoriginal leanings in most departments: riffs, drums, vocals, lyrics, etc. But I’ve also never been one to completely discount a genre based on a few bad experiences, and given the fact that this CD came so recommended, I thought I couldn’t really go wrong with this one. Unfortunately for me, this proved not to be true. New American Gospel serves as little more than a dais from which one can vividly witness the malady that has plagued metalcore since its very foundation: mediocrity.

When I first planted this CD in my stereo, my initial reaction was, well, satisfied. I wasn’t floored by any means, but the impression I got from the first track, “Black Label”, was a positive one. The song started off with a heavy riff, backed by some nice drum work. That can, in fact, pretty much sum up this song. I found that Randall Blythe’s indecipherable shrieks didn’t really add much, but they were tolerable (besides, it’s not like the lyrics are well-written enough to be anything I really wanted to hear). I liked the palm-muted heaviness that this track had in spades, and I could easily see myself moshing to it live. It wasn’t a bad start, so I was interested to see what else LOG had in store.

Regrettably, they blew all their ideas on the opening track, because you know what? THE ENTIRE FUCKING ALBUM SOUNDS LIKE THAT. Yeah, that’s right, for 41 minutes and 33 seconds (longer, if you bought the reissue, like me) you’re force-fed the SAME GODDAMN PALM-MUTED RIFFS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER. This album is like an exercise in auditory endurance. The CIA probably used this as a form of sonic torment on prisoners, imitating Chinese water-torture but on an aural level. After less than ten minutes you find yourself praying for a solo to save you from the sheer tedium, and one might blissfully appear for a span of two seconds, only to be cruelly snatched away long before you can appreciate it. No wonder Blythe was piss drunk when he recorded this, it was probably the only way he could cope with the intense ennui that this album provokes. As for the rest of the band, they must have been wearing some form of hearing protection or another, I can’t think of any other way for them to have played such an intensely soul-draining exercise in boredom. Perhaps the only minor relief from this bleak expanse of uninspired drivel comes with the song “Terror and Hubris in the House of Frank Pollard”. Really the only thing that makes this track any different from the rest is the fact that it features something of an introductory solo, and that the producer sings, giving a much needed break from Blythe’s insipid growling. Sure, it’s still a pretty shitty track, but when you’re dying of thirst in the Sahara, you take whatever source of moisture you can, be it an effervescent oasis, or a stinking, steaming wet pile of camel dung (sorry for that image, but it’s a fitting metaphor for an album as appalling as this). Goddamn this is awful!

But hold on, we’ve still yet to go through more cookie-cutter songs, like the “kill me now” agony that is “Pariah” and let’s not forget the fifty seconds of repetitive “DUH-DUH-DUH-DUH- TING!”, drumming that starts off “Confessional” before it bursts into another one of those relatively fast, but derivative, “haven’t I heard this before?” riffs. And, of course, who can forget the finale, O.D.H.G.A.B.F.E., which supposedly stands for “Officer Dick Head Gets A Black Fucking Eye”. Can you feel the creativity at work here? In the words of a million uneducated anti-authoritarian nimrods, “FIGHT THA POWA DOOD!!!” Aside from the pathetic excuse for a title, the song features equally cliché, pseudo-revolutionist lyrics (not that you’ll be able to understand them, unless you actually go to the trouble of looking them up in the liner notes). And ya gotta love that final line, “Auschwitz Kent State Chi-Town 68 Tiananmen Waco”. Congratulations, Randy! You actually paid attention in history class! Too bad you failed English because you never could get proper grammar, syntax, or basic predicates! But here, I’ll stuff a sucker in your gob if you’ll just agree to close it for five goddamn minutes!

And with that, we end this auditory abortion of an album (at least if you have the regular version). If you have the reissue, you might consider listening to the Japanese bonus track, as it possesses some odd, almost indefinable qualities that distinguish it from the rest of this tripe. Or perhaps it’s simply the knowledge that I can comfortably turn my stereo off, knowing that I have endured all the unmitigated excrement that those who bought this album upon its initial release had to suffer through, and that now I can sympathize with those unfortunate people. Either way, it’s over, and we hath endured. Congratulations if you actually managed to sit through the whole 40+ minutes of this garbage. You might find yourself stronger for it. Or traumatized. Whatever. Personally, I’ll be fine knowing that this album will sit, gathering dust in my collection for many a year, perhaps forever, now that I have fulfilled my duty of listening to it one last time so that I might warn the uninitiated. Or perhaps I’ll give it to one of my friends who likes the band. I can pretty much guarantee that they haven’t heard this one, or they’d be off Lamb of God faster than Rosie O’Donnell off a diet.

Conclusion: When most people, or rather, those who are uneducated in anything but mainstream bands, talk about Lamb of God, they invariably say, “Well, they’re like, so heavy…” Yeah, they’re heavy all right, but what the hell is that worth without any decent songwriting to back it up? I can write a “heavy” riff in a second, just using some basic palm-muted power chords, and if this album is any indication, this would seem to be the exact way this band writes all of their music. There is little room for originality, creativity, or actual coherence on this record. There is simply that which this band seems to worship above all else: the almighty HEAVINESS, to the exclusion of anything enjoyable. The songs on here might be bearable in small doses, but one cannot reasonably expect to go through an entire sitting of this and be actually engaged by the music. This album does little but fulfill the age-old stereotype that defines metal to the masses: it’s really loud. And so, I can really only give you one simple word of advice, fellow metalhead: AVOID.

This isn't what I expected. - 65%

ThrashingMetal, November 25th, 2006

I bought this album due to all the hype I heard from various sources. It's even been referred to as "Death metal". The problem is that this album isn't what's it's hyped up to be. I bought the 'remastered' version and on the inlay there's a speech about how poor the conditions were in recording this record: Randy was drunk the whole time, they only had a very short time-frame to record, and Randy had to do the vocals in like 1 session. All of this adds up to mostly negatives with very little positives.


The vocals are absolutely terrible. On "Black Label" the lead singer [Randy] isn't even saying anything audible except 5 words IF you listen very closely with the lyrics in hand. It doesn't help when isn't even saying the correct words on "A Warning": "I'll suck you down and drag you dry!", but on the demo he says what the lyrics say; "I'll drag you down and suck you dry!" I can see some slurring due to his apparent alchohol consumption, but these lyrics are really bad. Most songs require to have the lyrics close by, and even still you're only gonna make out half of the lyrics IF you're listening intently.


The guitars and drums on here are saves the album from being totally lost. They are pretty heavy, and prove that this album is more crushing then their later Groove metal albums. Unfortunately, 'crushing' isn't enough to salvage this album. The drums sometimes are so loud that they make a popping noise even on low volume levels, and the guitars aren't anything spectacular compared to current-day Metalcore bands. It's basically crushing music, but mediocre at the same time. Strong but normal I suppose.


I reccomend this album to anybody who is a really dedicated fan of Lamb of God. Otherwise, steer clear of this one and don't fall into the hype. As most albums go, buy the opposite of what people tell you. If you don't give a shit about lyrics, then maybe you'll enjoy this one, but most of the music just isn't really spectacularly different from any other Metalcore album.

Certainly one of the best metalcore albums. - 90%

AzzMan, April 2nd, 2004

The one way to summarize an album like this, is to just start headbanging.

Being one of the bands (and albums) that lead the Metalcore genre today, Lamb of God (and NAG) have outdone themselves here. On a good day I can just listen to this album and say "Well hell, screw "True" metalheads, this owns." Others I put it on, put on my game face >:{ and headbang. The album truely has thrashy elements to it, like in the drumming.

The drumming is more than solid, it's just fucking great. Its fast, powerful, its creative and it even includes fucking double bass riffs. Not that other bands don't build upon their drumming, and make it so the drumming is complex but follows a pattern.. but here it really feels like their drummer is riffing. This guy.. owns.

Vocally the album kills, too. Randy was probably my first role model in vocals, and because of the evil strength in his voice. He sings deep, which seems to be something seen rarely in metalcore. Where it is populated with half-growls, we get actual growling vocals. Where the genre includes talking, we get higher pitched screams. Not like screams, but more like metalcore's version of black vox. Its sinister, it really is.

The riffs are pretty fast, and create a nice, headbangable environment. This shit isn't pure thrash, but it creates a good feel like it. At some spots the speed drops and they go for a heavier atmosphere, but it works just as well. It all comes out sounding really good, especially for metalcore.

Bass lines aren't few nor far between. Creating a, yet again, distinctive feel, they hold everything together with deep noises and while not as fast or hard as the guitar riffs, they do their job and create a hold over anything sloppy to make it sound good.

In my time listening to this album, I've yet to find one problem with it, exept maybe the fact that every one of my friends calls me a "goth" for it. That's not a problem wiht the album, though. The only TRUE problems that anyone might care about, is that in spots the songs aren't as clear as they could be, for one reason or another. Maybe a few bits of the main riff of a song dosn't sound perfect, but nothing is.

Bottem line: get it. Now.

A kick in the face - 87%

Egregius, February 23rd, 2004

Woa, a band with their own sound. Of course I could say this for their Burn The Priest album as well, but as Lamb of God they've really marked off their own corner in musicland with New American Gospel.

Their sound has become thicker (less thick than on the later 'As the Palaces Burn'), and also more accurate. No more occasional smudgy buzz-riffs as with BtP, but razorsharp precision riffing, semi-staccato or otherwize, and accompanying drums and vocals. These guys know exactly what they're doing: they're delivering a kick in the face with remarkable self-contained violence.

Speaking of the drums: Ye Gods! Chris Adler can DRUM! This guy can drum amazingly tight and well-timed. Drum-riffs are actually used as a seperate niche in the sound. Sometimes I'd almost say he was actually converting thrash-metal guitarriffs to polyrythmic drum-patterns. The drumssound isn't meaty at all, it's more 'tock-tock-tik-tock'-esque, but this means the overall sound comes out well instead of being drowned by thumping drums. At any rate, this guy keeps surprising me with the way he drums. Often staccato, and very varied, it really builds out the guitar-sound, sometimes throwing in odd timing signatures.

Then the vocals, razor-sharp high-mid range growly shrieks, often follow the rythm of the music (which is odd for vocals). I can't make out most of the lyrics this way, but Blythe's vocals sound menacing. He doesn't sound angry, or enraged, but violent.

If I had to list top-songs, I'd be giving a tracklisting minus 'A Warning' and 'Pariah', but I'll list 'The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion' and 'Confessional' as 'personal most favorite'.

This is an album I intensely enjoy (if that much wasn't obvious from the review), as almost every song has elements I particularly like, and Lamb of God's sound has me in awe. The only possible quip with this album would be that not every song sounds totally different from the others, as there are common elements, but that's minor since the basis is excellent anyway, and I'm sooner thirsting for more than less.

horns up - 95%

ironasinmaiden, December 30th, 2002

Somewhere on the sonic spectrum between Meshuggah and Pantera (w/ some Malevolent Creation thrown in for good measure), VA's crushing Lamb of God have big things ahead if 2000's New American Gospel is any indicator. Barbed wire guitar riffs, constantly shifting time signatures, and a singer whose voice brings to mind any number of wild animals make NAG one of the heaviest discs I own.

Black Label kicks off with one of those riffs that makes you go "oh shit what's gonna happen next" and ends up being a relentless barrage of intensity (the story of this album). LoG focus more of the rhythmic aspects of the guitars (which are produced as raw as they come), but when leads do appear (Terror/Hubris) they are damn good. There is a strong Meshuggah influence no doubt -- check out that Future Breed Machine riff during In the Absence of the Sacred, but not enough to prevent LoG from forging their own style of brutality.

I must say that Randall Blythe's vocals are the most ridiculous in metal. At times they barely sound HUMAN, and you can hear the force put behind them, always a plus. There are no power ballads in Lamb of God... this is just pure 100% HEAVY FUCKING METAL through and through.

The only song I couldn't dig on was the last one, a sort of sludge/NOLA groove dirge thing ala Crowbar that stretches on way too long. They should of used the japanese bonus track, Nippon, cos that song FUCKING CRUSHES. So in conclusion, if you like metal heavy and enjoy the modern breed of intense bands, you'll be all over Lamb of God. Now let's cross are fingers and hope Devin Townshend (who's producing their new album) won't destroy their sound like he did with Soilwork.