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Sacrament is Lamb of God's big leap to popularity, and it's easy to see why. The songs are better organized, hit harder, and drag far less. The riffs are more fully formed and downright engaging and groovy. The music as a whole is more memorable and concise than before with some songs being scaled back to three minutes to make the album run more smoothly. LOG was already pretty well known here in Virginia, but this helped them get to new heights of popularity. They made an album that distills their groovy aggression into songs that pull no punches and make you remember the hits you took and the hooks you heard.
This album sounds bigger, grander, and more varied than the albums preceding it. This is especially evident on "Walk With Me in Hell" which is a gigantic, anthems song that could Herald the coming of the apocalypse with its tsunami-high builds and stomping groove riffs akin to a fast march. It's truly a massive song. The next three songs opt for a catchier delivery and more emphasis on riffage, especially on the rumbling brawler "Redneck" and the massive and spiteful “Again We Rise" with its low-pitched and explosive choir vocals. These three songs also have a large amount of lyrical bile to dispense, as well as the next one. This album takes aim at common arrogance and the "Southern pride" and "redneck" attitudes. It bashes down hard against people who are very proud but have hardly anything to be proud of. Posers acting like rednecks when they're fairly well off, people who are proud of the fact that they "work hard" even though nearly every functioning adult works hard, disparaging any hard work that isn't blue collar, the jerks who don't value even basic education, yet still feel proud and "wise" despite their lack of knowledge, the hypocrites who stockpile more guns than they could ever use in a vain hope of rebelling against the government, yet fellate the very police and military they supposedly plan to fight at every turn. These songs take aim at that proud-yet-impotent mindset, with "Again We Rise" being bitterly sarcastic in its reference to the phrase "The South shall rise again" when Lamb of God delivers pummeling grooves and spiteful shrieked lyrics that say otherwise. They don't directly go after specific examples, but attack the concept of excess pride in a southern setting.
The element of hubris is explored in this album. This is displayed more so on "Foot to the Throat" which brings up Virginia's long history of corruption and rebellion and how they see it. If The Great Southern Trendkill was the big "Southern pride" metal album, Sacrament is its opposite, attacking the needlessly proud and referring to ugliness in religion and history that we just shouldn't be proud of. Lamb of God drags them down into the mud with their grooves and pummels them senseless. Large, impressive rhythms and grand, anthemic songs fill the album and give it such strength. They have far more dynamic to them than before and as a result, the songs don't get boring with more concise and less winding song structures and tempo shifts that are executed pretty smoothly. Songs like "Blacken the Cursed Sun" and "Descending" employ doom elements with large, imposing atmosphere and plenty of heat. Each song has its catchy riffing and a nuke's worth of punch, the rousing choir choruses add strength and make the added dynamics hit even harder. It's an album that where the Adlers, Campbell, Blythe, and Morton give us their all with a groove metal album that goes for catchiness, massive sound, and a fierce punch.
This feels like a super-sized Pantera album with the kind of grandiosity you'd see in later Machine Head albums. (I wonder if this album influenced The Blackening?) It's got the ferocity of their previous albums with more catchiness and a greater variety of tones and tempos to make this feel thrilling and complete. This is a damn fine album and makes me happy to be from Virginia. This album will energize you and rip you to pieces. Every song has something to offer and I can't pick out any filler. This is one of the strongest groove/metalcore pieces out there, it's big, it's catchy, it's energized, it's vicious, and it balances smart composition out with simple throwdown groove attitude.
Lamb of God are one of those bands that get lapped up by a lot of regular folk, but are mostly loathed by the purists. Why, though, is anyone's guess. Their popularity makes them prime targets for hatred and negativity, while their musical style is largely inoffensive. They aren't quite metalcore enough to warrant abuse on that front, because the breakdowns are not disgustingly overused and the vocals aren't screamy/whiny, though not exactly perfect. Really, the appropriate response is probably a casually amiable shrug - "they're fine, I guess".
And that's LoG's strength, but it's also a downfall. They never make me really excited, but they never especially let me down. That's why your Regular Joe likes them, because for him, they're really heavy; your seasoned metalhead, on the other hand, sees the workmanlike attitude of the band and is surprised by neither heaviness or originality. That said, 'Sacrament' was a big step for a band who had wallowed in shit (debut album) and made technically challenging but rather unsatisfactory albums ('As the Palaces Burn' and 'Ashes of the Wake'). The general equipment that the band are using here is not vastly different, but the effect aimed for has shifted a good few degrees.
Randy Blythe is singing much more clearly (his diction made his vocals insufferable early in the band's career) and less overtly about Afghanistan and Iraq, which is a fucking relief, plus the vocal hooks are much more pronounced without losing the heaviness from the delivery. One-line hooks like the title of 'Walk With Me in Hell' or the closing rally cry on 'Blacken the Cursed Son' give individual songs definition, while the guitarists have also created more memorable riffs: the attention-grabbing 'Redneck', the bounding groove that kicks off 'Requiem', or the (actually rather poor) motif of 'Descending', which - if you hadn't guessed - is a descending riff. The tone doesn't quite go for that "we must make everything sound heavy even though it isn't really" vibe that a lot of popular modern bands have gone with: it's actually much smoother, which makes the chug-and-fill formula palatable, while the more adventurous riffs stick out as parts of a song instead of pit fodder. Solos are less frequent than I would like, although the few opportunities aren't squandered. I know, I know that Chris Adler on drums is busy and skilled, though his approach of loading fills and frequently changing parts doesn't really complement the catchier direction the band were pursuing here. Fuck knows what happened to the bass - I certainly haven't been listening to it.
'Sacrament' partly achieves the goal of being memorable and helping the band cross over to the mainstream, but it certainly doesn't do so with flying colours. 'Walk With Me in Hell' and 'Redneck' stand out for their unwavering vision and do represent the most immediately appealing material here. 'Redneck' is reminiscent of Pantera's 'I'm Broken', which is naturally a problem for some metalheads who do not approve of the groovy meathead direction, but I'm not really fussed. 'Foot to the Throat' and 'Pathetic' get the blood flowing a little faster and are generally heavier than the other songs; again, they don't truly explode and the album ends up feeling short of gas. The band don't play fast very often, they don't sound mean enough when they play slow, and they don't nail the hooks with enough regularity to make 'Sacrement' a fun romp. It's not bad, it's just not great.
For those in the metal scene that are unaware as to Lamb Of God's existence, they really are not missing anything great. Aside from a few great tracks, their pre-Sacrament material was monotonous and boring, drilling the same riffs into your head a thousand times until one gets so sick of them they vow never to listen again. Ashes Of The Wake is the only album they have put out before Sacrament that one could find real merit in, and even that was dragged down by filler songs such as Omerta that chugged along and bored the life out of the listener. Sacrament was the 2006 installment in their discography and, whilst still being monotonous and boring, it is somehow a cut above the albums released prior to this and is a more than listenable release.
The guilty party is comprised of guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler on guitar, Chris Adler behind the drum kit, Randy Blythe screaming his lungs out and John Campbell on the completely inaudible bass guitar. The album was released to great praise and remains one of the highest selling bands the album has put out to date. Lamb Of God have often been compared to Pantera for their groove metal style and whilst such comparisons wouldn't be entirely unfounded, Sacrament remains one of their least groove-oriented albums. Instead this is more of a thrash album with pounding drums, fast paced guitar riffs and Randy Blythe screeching like the world was about to end around him. The lyrical topics on this album focus on hypocrisy in personality, the government and other political issues and various homages to the apocalypse.
The musicianship on this album is of a very high standard with various fast-paced riffs that fly past and hit you so hard you barely have time to get your breath back. However many of the songs are absolutely indistinguishable from each other as the band clearly focused on playing fast without creating too many memorable moments. The intro to Walk With Me In Hell has a sound akin to that of the world ending around the listener, and it very much fits the lyrical content and serves to build a solid atmosphere for the song. Grammy award nominated single Redneck also stands out as being very catchy and the riffs, whilst chugging along as is expected of Lamb Of God, still manage to stick in your head. Redneck also has a highly enjoyable chorus that one will be screaming along to. However, this song is also guilty of having some of the worst lyricism out there, with lines such as "This is a mother fuckin' invitation" that really detract from the song itself. The band are clearly talented and this only take away from the sound.
The most talented member of the band is drummer Chris Adler, who lays down some varied and exciting drum beats that are consistently great and highly varied. He is often singled out as the best member of the band and his performance on here is flawless, with some fast double bass sections but also some great use of cymbals on songs such as Redneck and Requiem. Aside from the drumming however, Requiem is a boring song that fails to do anything new and feels like the band was just going through the motions to create a song that just chugs along and gets the listener from A to B. The lyrics on here are also highly immature with frequent usage of the F-word which is completely unnecessary in the context of the song. Swearing in music is not so much a problem when done tastefully but Randy Blythe is guilty of using it at the wrong times. Also another complaint that can be made about the lyrics is the lack of relevancy to them-many of the songs have political statements directed at George Bush, and therefore this was more an album of its time instead of now.
The songs themselves are mainly fast paced thrashers with Randy Blythe unfortunately not carrying them forward very well with his frequently samey vocal patterns and unusually small range. His performances on Ashes Of The Wake and later on Wrath and Resolution showed off that he has a decent enough range for a screamed vocalist so on here his two tones really do get annoying, and his Phil Anselmo tough-guy shouting is a cause for alarm. Without him they may be a little more tolerable but unfortunately, Randy only drags this album down. None of the songs are particularly TERRIBLE but many feel as though the band is just re-hashing things they have already done five times on this release already. For the best songs, check out Walk With Me In Hell, Redneck and Descending (which boasts some fantastic drumming and riffs that are actually more than memorable whilst being crushingly heavy). Stay away from songs like Pathetic and Requiem however as they are nothing more than chug-fests that your time is better served elsewhere. This is a solid enough album that just has too many flaws to be anything more than a great release that is listenable enough but only in small doses.
After 'Ashes of the Wake' people started having huge expectations of the Virginian post-thrash metal band. Along with Machine Head and some others they were considered the saviors of the metal scene. Lamb of God probably took the chance to surprise the people who were waiting for an "Ashes of the Wake pt. 2", and released a rather over-produced album instead. Not that I have anything against massive studio albums, but I do have something against a raw metal band like Lamb of God trying to sound like fucking Epica. Yet, this album has really fucking great moments. The riffs and songwriting overall make up for a lot of the wannabe 'epic metal' stuff they pulled off.
As the album kicks off we directly hear choirs chanting along with 'Walk With Me in Hell' and guitars and a snare drum reverbing as if they were recorded in the St. Peter's church. Randy Blythe breathes in and out closely to his mic with a shitload of reverb and delay processing his voice into a weird demonic echoing sound. What the fuck is going on here?! This isn't the same band that smashed you right in the face with the first riff of the album! ('Ruin' on 'As the Palaces Burn' and 'Laid to Rest' on 'Ashes of the Wake') That's what I wanted to hear! Well, the tone was set. It was quite a shock to hear them doing this kind of stuff.
Later on I started to find out that the album actually also has it's great moments. Mid-paced headbang-track 'Descending' is one of those moments. Randy Blythe sings about his alcohol addiction and puts it into words like a true poet ("This God that I worship, this demon I hate, conspired as one, it's exactly the same). Overall I wasn't disappointed by his lyrics. Eventually I also grew into the other tracks. 'Redneck' pretty much became a classic of course. It just annoyed me to hear how polished their sound had become. The real hardcore Lamb of God fans will probably be able to forgive the band that they released an overproduced album and some retards will actually praise it of course.
But fact is that Lamb of God shows once again that they have created their own signature style. Their riffs and vocals sound pretty different than other bands these days which is a thing I absolutely admire about them. It's good to know that there are still bands out there with an unique sound (a lot of those deathcore bands lately all sound the same in my opinion). Music-wise I'd recommend this album to any Lamb of God fan, but get ready for a seriously unfitting production. Oh, and if you don't believe me about the choir stuff, just get the producer edition of Sacrament and check out the 'FX' track of 'Walk With Me in Hell'.
After Lamb Of God released this they were riding a wave of commercial success, and gaining a lot more media exposure from some unwelcome sources, you know the MTV guys or The Rolling Stone, and their researchers probably had to tell them this was not the bands first album. This is the only Lamb Of God album where my opinions on the music is divided. On their other albums people say they are god awful, and I will say "It's not terrible...it's just not great either." But on this album, if somebody said they hated it, I wouldn't waste my breath trying to talk them around. Not because I think this is a terrible album, but now and again the mediocrity levels rise dangerously high, and sometimes the music sounds refrained and lacking, add to that the the flawless clean production...basically everything that makes metal sell to the wider masses or other oblivious outsiders, and sometimes the results are not good. By this point (2006) everyone and their grandma knew this band, and the fight between Randy Blythe and Mark Morton shown on "Killadelphia", was pretty much the laughing stock of the metal community at the time, and had probably been seen by thousands. Add to that the more approachable sound, and a bad music video, the whole thing really could have tipped into the stangant dump pile, which most commercial metal tends to belong. But this album has a few saving graces at least...
First thing is first, Randy holds back on the vocals. If you listen to extreme death metal and have heard his vocals on previous albums, you maybe thinking how is that even possible, considering they aren't raw and extreme anyway as some strange people like to believe. His vocals on previous albums were like gutteral snarls, but mainly gruff shouting with some high register screaming. Here his vocals are just rhythmic shouting, and on occassions have about as much character as a brick wall. But it does pick up in places, and is more bearable like Phil Anselmo's more better vocal cuts, but like Anselmo it can get all too repetitive, and after three songs you can actually guess what the vocal performance throughout is going to consist of. Like much groove metal singers from the 90's, it is generic and quite uninspiring. Not that I have a particular problem with that vocal style, (I'm partial to a bit of Pantera from time to time.), it's just you're reading a review by someone who likes a bit more charisma in a frontman, examples may include: Chuck Schuldiner, John Tardy, Chris Barnes, or even James Hetfield or Millie Petrozza. But enough about Randy, he never was the shining star in this band. The drums are spot on, no surpises there. The guitars and the production, are two things that have trouble going hand in hand. Now the riffs are good, but with that crisp perfect production all the attitude dissipates from the guitars the minute it passes through your speakers. It is like they wanted to play technical, get it perfect craft-wise and production-wise, but abandoned the feel which saved previous albums from being dull. At this point in Lamb Of God's career, they could have shocked all the doubters and haters by releasing another abrasive album. Like when Pantera released "The great southern trendkill", it proved that they may not be your 80's metal saviours, but they were serious and weren't going to take any shit, and at the height of their popularity shunned the media attention. If LOG went that way about things, maybe today they might just have gotten a little less stick. But it wasn't to be, and they released a slightly watered down step backward, however the success of much commercial metal albums is that it eventually takes time to grow on the doubters.
"Walk with me in hell" starts out with a emotional riff which would not sound out of place on a AX7 record, although it pains me to say it. But it quickly turns into a meandering more functional groove riff, which repeats itself as Randy sings for the first time literally less than a minute in, not only displaying his vocal difference, but a stark realization there will be no waiting around, no interludes or long intros which tends to give a metal song it's climax. "Redneck" is the next best track, with an infectious chorus line. Although the vocals could have been penned by any tough guy, and Randy is lucky this was a good song, because I expect the "mutha fuckin" one liners from the likes of Sworn Enemy. Oh and the video to this song is just atrocious. Randy has a skinhead, rather than his bizarre mohawk or long hair, which instantly screams approachable trendy frontman. And the women dancing and grinding on the bus? It left me pining for the days when metal videos were about dungeons, magic and crystal balls (No lie!). In fact after watching this video it seems laughable that the biggest evil in the world, was once Metallica's Black album, an album I didn't mind any way. Now "Descending" is one of the more interesting tracks. Good riffs, with a bit more of a focused direction, than the mission of hooking the listener and repeating it over and over. "Lost angels" has a lot more catchy riffs, and as the shortest track probably is the only one that does not outstay a long welcome, I haven't listened to it in about a month, but I still remember it and enjoy it. "Beating on death's door" tries to opt for a ferocious thrash sound I think, but these guys have too much Meshuggah or Pantera on the stereo, to know a good thrash riff when it is staring them in the face. That must be true considering the two guitarists hail Jeff Waters from Annihilator, and Randy did some vocal work on one of Overkill's songs. But despite that "Beating on death's door" does do a good job closing the album. This album has many good sides, and a lot of downsides. It took me a while to see the positives at first, but that is always the way. I always had this preconceived idea in my head, that the band sat down with a beer, and realized simpler digestible metal songs is the only way to make any serious money in this game. With the dollar signs alluring them, they must have surely realized they weren't getting any younger or fitter to pull off such a task. But the argument to that is of course, they had been touring extensively and made quite a name for themselves...they might have wanted a mature offering, and in some sense "Sacrament" is a small evolutionary step, but only baby steps and even LOG knew this would be territory wise not to explore again. Good in some places...but in other places it is the kind of stuff your girl friend would bob her head to.
A decent argument can be made to defend the claim that Lamb of God is a frontrunner in the movement destroying heavy metal as we know it. For the longest time, I was an avid supporter of this claim. I dismissed them as overhyped media children with no integrity. Eventually, a friend showed me Laid to Rest (long before that Guitar Hero abomination, mind you), and I was forced to admit that it was at the very least catchy. Next thing I knew, I was learning how to play the song, then I was listening to Ashes of the Wake in full, I found myself excited to see them when they opened for Slayer, I found myself singing along to Hourglass when I saw them live. It was about that instant that it hit me like a slippery fish, I like Lamb of God, and I am not ashamed.
The newest album as of now, 2006's Sacrament, has once again split critics down the middle. Haters continue to hate it as vehemently as they did previously, but now the fans are split as well. I fall on the side that this is a great album that is unfairly dismissed as being too commercial.
Maybe it's "unmetal" to enjoy clean production, but I do. The point of music to me is to hear it, so slick production does not bother me in the least. The only time I get pissy about production is if it is intentionally atrocious (see As the Palaces Burn) or if there are disgustingly bad drum triggers (Into Eternity's The Scattering of Ashes). This album has neither, so I find the recurring theme of production that surfaces in reviews to be foolish and completely irrelevant to the music at hand.
Superficial buggery aside, let us approach the meat of any review, the music. I understand many of the criticisms that befall upon Lamb of God, but I think a lot of the things people complain about are just plain and simply inaccurate. I don't find these riffs to be half assed or boring. They aren't the most original things I've ever heard, but there is nothing inherently wrong with them. They aren't high octane thrash riffs, nor are they crushing death metal monsters. They are more of a chugging middle ground. I would never call Lamb of God either thrash or death metal (the band seems to think otherwise though *rolls eyes*), but I feel the riffs fall between the two genres in terms of attitude. The solos, while few and far between, aren't terrible either. It's hard to really describe a solo, but trust me when I say they are average, maybe a teensy bit above average, but not by far. The drumming is super tight as usual. And lastly, Randy's voice seems to be a bit more versatile than before. It is by no means better, but the screams tend to vary between his lower register and more mid ranged screams, and even some clean singing and pseudo-Pantera tough guy baloney.
Few songs are actually bad... although I find the opener, Walk with me in Hell, to actually be a very shitty song. It doesn't pump one up for the rest of the album, nor does it even do it's job as a song by making me want to listen to it again, in fact, after countless spins, I STILL can't remember how it fully sounds. The same can be said for the following track, Again We Rise. Strangely, these are both live staples, confusing considering they are the most boring tracks on the record. More Time to Kill and Foot to the Throat are mediocre tracks at best, lacking in the memorability department, which as you all may know, is what I consider to be the most important aspect of any song. The outro to Blacken the Cursed Sun goes on far to long and serves mainly as fan service for live performances. Really, that part should be done live, but left out of the studio album. Redneck can also be seen as second rate Pantera worship, and I can see the comparison, but I personally think it stands well on it's own.
Don't get me wrong, I obviously like this album, but there are quite a few problems that mar the overall quality. Thankfully, I hear songs like Forgotten (Lost Angels) and Beating on Death's Door (my personal favorite Lamb of God song) and forget why people hate the band so much. Those two seem to be the only two furious monsters the whole way through, that I feel never descend into mediocrity or shameless catering to the mainstream. Redneck is, despite the ridiculous lyrics, a great song and I can say the same about Pathetic. Lamb of God have never been great lyricists, and I can usually overlook a problem as such, but if you scream "FUCK" every other word and your name isn't Devin Townsend, you just get annoying.
I seem to have spent a considerable amount of time dwelling on the negative here, but don't misinterpret what I'm trying to say. It's difficult to describe what I like about Lamb of God, but I guess it can be summed up with the statement "I find their songs enjoyable", and that's really the only reason one needs. Standout drumming abound throughout the record and catchy riffs. Beware, the album starts off an a staggeringly low note, but completely redeems itself by the end. I find this to be a definite step up from their early works, and I feel that Lamb of God as actually improved with each release, contrary to popular opinion. Oh well, if you don't like the band before hearing this, it won't change your mind, but it's another solid release for established fans.
The 2006 release “Sacrament” sees some change in Lamb of God, most notably the vocals. The music is more mainstream oriented but still manages to sound decent, there's even clean vocals thrown in here and there, sadly its nothing great though there is an improvement . But even with all the cons this album has its ups.
The album starts off with “Walk With Me In Hell” which is my favorite off this album. Has an amazing apocalyptic intro. Theres an interesting breakdown at 2:34, not your typical “chugga chugga” ones. Vocals are pretty good especially at the chorus when Randy goes into a high pitch scream, it should be noted that the vocalist does tend to go overboard which results in annoyance.
Another interesting track that caught my attention on first listen was “Descending”. Its a kind of track that sounds like it was composed for extensive airplay, yes a typical hit single, but it comes out as being a standout track on this album. I really liked the small segment at 2:23. Although I'm not a big fan of Randy's vocals in general I must admit that his vocals on this track are good.
The clean vocals are implemented well in “Again We Will Rise” and “Pathetic”. These two tracks are great has some good riffs but manages to get old after a couple of listens. Pathetic got a nice riff on its outro which happens after a short pause followed by a warping sound. Then there is also “Redneck” with its crappy chorus “This is a motherfucking invitation”, sounds like something Fred Durst would come up with, also this song is supposed to be on George Bush which is really old seeing that Ministry released multiple fucking albums dedicated to it and Randy sounds a lot like Phil Anselmo on this track.
“Blacken the Cursed Sun” and “Forgotten” are tracks to look out for too. Forgotten has a nice short solo. “Requiem” and “More Time To Kill” don't really stand out. The album closes with “Beating on Deaths Door” which includes some fast and intense drum work by Chris Adler. Theres a breakdown where Randy keeps repeating “shes all yours now” and its really brings the song down.
The biggest downside of this album has to be the vocals, there are times where he's at his best but there are times where he just sounds like hes clowning around. The Drumming is not the best out there but its definably the light of the album. Also due to the over production, the raw sound which was present in As the Palaces Burn and Ashes of the Wake is gone. If you liked LOG's earlier work then you may appreciate this album otherwise try sampling it first before purchase.
Recommended: Walk With Me In Hell, Descending, Blacken The Cursed Sun, Beating On Deaths Door.
Lamb of God is one of those bands that has an era where solid records are made, musically, instrumentally and everything else. As soon as that happens and record companies acknowledge that they can make mainstream music and sell this type of music to the masses, they buy the band. Lamb of God SOLD OUT. Ashes of the Wake was still a solid album, so I thought I might give this a listen (despite having outgrown the Lamb Of God mainstream metal phase I had).
The first thing that I noticed was that the vocals were more vivid and uniquely thrashy/Pantera-ish. This of course, was NOT a good thing. It made the music softer and more like something you'd hear on MTV in my opinion, softer so that ears of individuals being introduced to metal for the first time can handle it. Another thing about Blythe (vocalist) is that he uses gay cliche swearing in the most obvious parts, i.e. "This is a motherfucking invitation". I think you could think of something better to say for a chorus... And this brings me to another problem, every bit of every lyric on this album is garbage. It's either about politics or hating someone, another perfect way to make money, bash on Bush. We know Bush isn't the brightest crayon in the box, but FUCK it's getting old.
On a lighter note, the musicianship (although lame and typical) is still solid, and Chris Addler kills the drums with his own unique style. The riffs are the same as the past 100 Lamb of God songs so I daresay it's kind of boring, no matter how technical or melodic they may be. HOWEVER, there is a solo in Walk With Me In Hell, which is something you usually don't see in pathetic Metalcore/Groove Metal bands.
The band made a video for "Redneck", and that was what really got on my nerves moreso than anything. It was a stereotypical MTV-friendly video that would be similar to the likes of any A7X or Bullet For My Valentine video, about a girl's birthday party that "tuffxguys" Lamb Of God comes to play at! Of course they have to come in the girl's backyard and crush her blowup pool, because that's what happens in every shitty video like this. All in all it just made me angry how they were on an RV with hot girls, because whatever "metal" was left in Lamb of God just got fucking Annihilated.
I recommend this band to all the pussy hot topic kids, and dudes that like to paint their nails black and wear eyeliner, subsequently listening to Slipknot.
Lamb of God has stormed the American Metal Scene in the last few years – much to metal elitists dislikes. Their interesting blend of thrash, death, and groove has taken most metal fans by shock and lead the band to become one of the most recognizable touring names in the United States. Sacrament is the culmination of their reach to become one of the most sought after metal bands in the world.
Sacrament is not the usual Lamb of God that most fans are going to expect. There style that was present on the last album, Ashes of the Wake, is not completely gone but it is definitely more thought out and manipulated. They have really incorporated a variable to the fold, one of a bit of melody and pushing more towards a musical approach to their style rather than a raw energy driven approach. I’m not saying that the music is by any means not fast, heavy, or flat – but when listening to Sacrament, one can tell they spent a little more time in the composing part of the album process. Mark Morton and Willie Adler add more complexity to the mix along with a focus on the lead guitar as opposed to the focus of rhythm on Ashes of the Wake. The guitars are definitely a dominating force on the album and Chris Adler’s drumming is nonstop professional grade playing. The music is heavy and full of groove – but Sacrament is also more focused on varying melodies and lead guitar parts. There are even a few songs on the able where parts are almost reminiscent of Pantera (I wouldn’t go as far to say they sound like Pantera). For me, this throwback to As the Palaces Burn is an excellent path for Lamb of God to head down. Now, with a Grammy Nomination, I hope the band continues down this way of thinking for their musical writing.
The most notable change for Lamb of God as compared to their previous efforts is in fact what I believe to be their weakest link – the vocals. Where originally the vocals were “pig squeal-esque” and later when they seemed very monotonous, Sacrament presents us with a progressive sound from Randy Blythe. He varies the sound of his guttural presentation to involve a little bit of everything and even a little more (thanks to producer Machine) and it finally adds a layer that Lamb of God have been missing. Blythe whispers screams and even does a pretty descent thrash voice on the last song. Also something I think Blythe did right this time around is to avoid writing the lyrics politically. Nothing dates a song faster than political messages - unless they are cleverly written. The lyrics focus more on personal issues and demons rather than worldly ones.
Overall, Lamb of God have come a long way from being a bar band to being one of the most popular bands. They haven’t reached the potential I believe they have, but Sacrament is getting closer. There is a lot of room for improvement still but if they continue on the road Sacrament is pointing to then they will have earned the right to be one of the most popular metal bands in the United States.
Songs to check out: Walk with Me in Hell, Redneck, Beating on Death’s Door.
Right from the get-go effectual and eerie inhabitant riffing of Walk With Me In Hell - with its tried and true testament to speed metal, and hatred neck breaking blasts, beating on death's door; directly to the reign in blood junk key drumming and Sacred Reich laid to restless guitar grist, imbalanced by a hostile, vehement vocal entourage - America's #1 thrash metal pioneers prevail, purified with their most passionate sacrificial offering to date. Descending like a cynic who has been bleeding the blood of the scribe, into the depths of death, with more time to kill; again, triumphantly Lamb Of God rise from the ashes of the wake, while watching the pathetic poseurs' palaces burn.
This sacrament - this oath of allegiance - is technical and riddled with time changes. Drummer driven Chris Adler is phenomenal! He borrows brutally and meticulously from Dave Lombardo, Paul Bostaph, and Gene Hoglan; then expands their subtle intricacies, to create his own manic method. He is definitely the best American drumming flaying skins today. Guitar temerity team Willie Adler, brother to Chris, and metal mastermind Mark Morton, mix blues laden hooks with undulating guitar gripping anthems to create a paradigm and poise, unmatched. Even Chuck Shuldiner would bow in deference, with diligence. This requiem resounds when Randall blithely blears with his gut wrenching vocal vitriol. Overbearing, yet prolific producer, the proto metal - Machine, made Randall really work to achieve a sound unlike any he had previously attained. He even compelled him to run around the block to the point of exhaustion, just to return to the studio and nail that last take. Randall reaps the Phil Anselmo aggressive antics while laying low like Chuck Billy; still his unique foot to the throat threnody vocals are quite discernible, and seldom forgotten. This line-up would not be complete with out the poker faced snare of bucolic bassist - Mr. John Campbell, and his cunning wit.
For your malice and ruin - each song on this sacred sacrament speaks for itself; showing identity and integrity with probing poignant personality. This time evading any political intrigue, or anti-war protest; the subject matter is more personal and appropriate. Mark Morton is a lyrical lycan, sinking his teeth into the heart of the matter in such delectible diatribes. Randy realizes this anguish and upset, and the audience is drawn right into the pit and pendulum. Cuts like Redneck with it's validation video pan; Black Sun, or Time To Kill create constant apathy; whereas, Forgotten (Lost Angels) conveys their contempt for L.A.; no doubt, eluding to the club who would not book them, solely based on their former namesake - Burn The Priest. Songs like these and other primal pieces evoke such bile and bitter taste.
It took several revolutions for me to engage in this conflict and struggle. Once I tuned everything out and absorbed the melodies, the music became etched into my gut, and seared into my skull. After reading the lyrics, I was initiated into the last rites and holy disorder. The limited edition CD also comes with a three song live bonus disc; but it is also accompanied by a bonus 90 minute DVD deliniating the rigour and wrangle the band underwent in the studio to create such an act of contrition and communion. They were baptised by the blistering blade of belief. There are also sketches for each members side-projects and personal hobbies. Mark likes to drag race and win; John is a competitive card player; Willie is a wonderful cook and focuses on his wife and son; Randy loves chili cook-offs; and Chris' concern is the band and his drumming destiny. There is also the aforementioned video for Redneck or a studio montage rendition - your choice. Metalheads, it's time to shatter the hourglass and discover the sacred lamb's offering; for now you've got something to strive for!
as originally posted at www.metalcovenant.com
Oh Lamb of God, the modern day Pantera some say, the new Slayer others say. The kids love it and I get it, but this is far from being anything innovative or groundbreaking. Sacrament is the band's attempt to mature and grow, and while it may have happened, the result is pretty boring.
This is a very dark and introspective view of Lamb of God. I don't think they will ever release another album quite like this one. From the music to the lyrical content, the attitude is a very somber one that almost lends atmospheric qualities to the listening experience. So points go to that since they have set a tone for the record.
The biggest difference is in the vocals, since the rest of the band hasn't changed anything at all. Randy Blythe kind of "sings" on this record I guess. He has added a melodic touch to his usual bark. Think of a much less talented Devin Townsend and you'll get the approach.
The riffs and the overall structure of the songs are exactly the same as Ashes of the Wake, it's just darker. However where Ashes had some good songs that really pounded on occasion, this record has much less of that. Lamb of God added melody to their sound, they just didn't do it very well. So expect a lot of random twists in the riffs, like on Ashes only with more leads and melodic breaks. The bass is once again nonexistent in the mix and Chris Adler delivers a fine performance behind the kit. Once again he is by far the band's strongest member.
Onto the actual songs. I must say the first two tracks are very boring. "Walk With Me In Hell" never picks up at all, rather hovers at around 120 bpm during its entirety resulting in Z's all around. "Again We Will Rise" is not much better with uninspiring riffs and vocal attacks. However one of my favorites is ''Descending'', a song with a very new flavor to the band. It's slower and Blythe really spills his guts out in the vocal department. ''Blacken the Cursed Sun'' has a jolting rythm section which is perfectly complemented by the vocals. ''Forgotten'' is also a choc-full of riffs with some pretty tech-filled passages, especially in the drum department.
The album closer also rips. ''Beating On Death's Door'' ends the record in style, and differently than on the last couple of records, where the closer would start of with a clean part. This one just rocks from head to toe and once again showcases Chris Adler's chops on the drumkit. I must give it to Lamb of God, they almost always finish their records on a high point.
So there you go, an attempt at growing which was stunted by style which is becoming all too predictable and stagnant. This isn't terrible or anything, but it does not deserve incredible praise. Watch the DVD though and you may have an easier time getting into it.
Lamb of god has done a really good job on this album and has been a good improvement for Ashes Of Wake. This time around they went for a more Pantera feel and a stronger groove/thrash metal sound. From the first to last track this album never fails to bore me. First track is "Walk with me in Hell" great opening track, the begining of the song the guitars are really erie uplifting kind of sound and sounds pretty awsome, this song has a pretty good riff and feel throughout the song and finally a solo and a quite good one at that, the track aslo has a pretty angry/sad epic kind of feel but a great song. Another song that really caught my attention is redneck, the single for this album and also has a party type good feel, and good vocals.
The vocals on this album are a highlight where Randall Blythe has nice clean yet screaming vocals and you can pretty well make out wat he is saying throughout most of the songs. The instrumentals in this album I liked very much, the guitars have lots of good riffs and some occuring solos which is a nice touch such as in "walk with me in hell" and "decending". Also the drumming was very good in this album with lotsa nice beats and good drumming along to the riffs which adds to the whole sound. In all a solid well rounded metal album and good one to headbang your head off to
If you are a fan of lamb of god you should really pick up this album and give it a listen I garentuee you will enjoy it very much. Even if your not a fan of Lamb of God still give this album a listen, you will probally enjoy it.
It's too early to say how this will stand up to LoG's other 3 major releases, because like all of Lamb of God's back catalog, this album has a distinct sound all its own.
Lamb of God have never been one to be content with their current sound and keep running with it. The transition from New American Gospel to As the Palaces Burn was a noticable one, and even to Ashes of the Wake there were many different elements incorporated. Sacrament follows this trend and delivers a great and consistent album with a much different approach and vibe than any of their previous releases, but managing to still sound like Lamb of God.
The first thing you'll think when you pop this in is 'epic,' or 'grandiose.' Layers and layers constitute the lavish production that brings this record to life. The drums sound better, the bass sounds better, and the guitars sound BIGGER. Randy's voice, besides some melodic leanings (I never thought I'd see the day), is pretty much like it was before, although with more reverb/delay/various effects than before. Bottom line, this is the best sounding record Lamb of God has done.
Now, the most important part, the music. Despite what you may have thought about Redneck (it seemed like Lamb of God became a Pantera meets thrash band), forget about it. There's a lot going on in this album that displays LoG at their most experimental yet, and even their fastest yet.
Walk With Me In Hell is purely epic in nature and kicks the album off much like the looming feeling South of Heaven started off a classic Slayer album. And what's that? A solo??? Yes, solos are abound in this album, which is AWESOME in my opinion, because Mark Morton is damn good at it and maybe people will stop talking about Jon Donais all the time, who in my opinion is good but WAY overrated. Again We Rise, along with a great deal of this album, is quite a thrashy number with some killer breakdowns and a spacey guitar line weaving in and out at certain points. Chris Adler is on FIRE on this album, he definitely shows what he's got. Descending mixes it up with a fairly simple riff that leaves a lot of room for Randy's vocals to shine, and becomes one of the more memorable tracks on the album. Blacken the Cursed Sun is another epic in the vein of the opening track with some of the sickest vocals I've ever heard from Randy (Begging on your KNEEEEEES....) towards the end of the song. The closing track sounds old school as FUCK (as a matter of fact, LoG just wanted to write a tune that sonded like old Exodus, and originally the title was called Old School) and is just plain fun violent thrash.
So...bottom line-best production ever for LoG, everybody in the band stepping it up a notch, more thrash/epicness/variation/SOLOS, slightly more linear song structures. And, quite honestly, I've never heard a record that sounds quite like this before. There's a vibe here that's quite unique.
As I said before, it's hard to say where this stands in the hierarchy of LoG albums right now, but I would be willing to say that this is a great and logical step in their evolution. At least they didn't puss out like Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage did.
I'm all for long reviews, but this album doesn't really warrant one. It's pretty straightforward - Lamb of God doing what Lamb of God does (a sort of Pantera-esque groove/half-thrash with some death and metalcore elements), and no matter what you think of them, this album is not going to change your opinion much. Sure there are a few differences, mostly in the vocals (Randy takes the band's Pantera worship up a notch by adding some very Anselmo-like semiclean vocals here and there), but on the whole they haven't moved too far away from the sound of their last two albums.
Bottom line is this: Sacament is more of the same from this band. If you like Ashes of the Wake and don't mind hearing the same sort of thing again, go ahead and pick this one up. It's alot of fun, and definitely worth your money. If you're not a fan of this band, or prefer their earliest work, then pass on this because it's not going to win you over. I gave it an 80 because I happen to like this band, and Sacrament does not disappoint.