Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Laying Waste - 80%

Five_Nails, October 24th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2005, CD + DVD, Epic Records (DualDisc)

Music has always been a large part of my life, and Lamb of God was a stalwart in my formative underground music years. Lamb of God introduced me to a world where I feel far more welcome than in the normal outside world. Though this band isn't as deep into the underground anymore, even hitting Number 2 on the Billboard Charts a couple of years ago, this band is a great gateway sound to break that surface and get into modern heavy music.

I was born listening to grunge, hard rock, folk rock, reggae, weird rock like Jamiroquai and the B-52s, and all all kinds of music that long predated my ability to formulate my own thoughts. I tried a lot of types of music, and knew exactly what kinds of sounds were not what I was looking for early on. Still, I ended up pigeonholed into the Disturbed, Blink 182, and Drowning Pool music area for a time. Linkin Park's “Hybrid Theory” and Trapt's self-titled debut were some go to albums for me and I have no problem saying that at all. Hell, I'll listen to some Trapt or Alien Ant Farm here and there still. I knew rock could go further, I knew Maiden, Slayer and Metallica were some kind of heavy, but I never looked into how the envelope could be pushed as my music collection swelled with Zeppelin, Sabbath, CSNY, and Pink Floyd. That was until I came back from an experience that really broadened my outlook. Returning from that experience, I tried to see how much heavier sounds could get, how much the bands could exude aggression, and how beauty could be found in ugly sounds. Along came Lamb of God, the band that took me from Slipknot and Mudvayne and guided me towards Himsa, Scars of Tomorrow, Callenish Circle, Shadows Fall, God Forbid, and a flourishing metalcore scene that exploded just as I was getting into the genre. This band opened more doors for me than a lot of bands have and as much as you can rip on mallcore, (that thing you're called when you join Metal-Archives) it was a stepping stone to Lamb of God who eventually led me to death metal, black metal, ambient, progressive, post-, and all kinds of sounds that populate this tree of weird music.

“Ashes of the Wake” is a nostalgia album for me. Ten years on, it still holds water, and gets me headbanging. My two favorites on this album are “Laid to Rest” and “Blood of the Scribe”. “Laid to Rest” was the money track from the onset. Keeping in line with the more focused style of the money tracks “Ruin” or “Eleventh Hour” on “As the Palaces Burn”, this one starts off intense and flings you into its groove. “Laid to Rest” has a great angsty chant for any teenager that wants to scream the word fuck, and kicks the album off with their hit. It's in your face, and the guitars tear through some memorable and unique riffs that have an improvisational feel to them despite how much rehearsal goes into creating a professional full-length album. “Blood of the Scribe” is Lamb of God playing thrash and the intensity is exactly what “Ashes of the Wake” needed after so many heavy songs that stuck to a general formula. I love the drumming in it, Chris Adler has some great moments throughout this album but hearing him drum to some good old thrash sounds great with those little double kick gallops and when “the anvil cracks forever”, those little cymbal tings are a great addition to the atmosphere. The guitars are machine guns with a rapid chug broken by quick high rises sweeping through the frenetic meter. “Blood of the Scribe” cuts loose throughout the song in a more violent way than “Now You've Got Something to Die For” did and lays enough waste for “What I've Become” to keep riding that rage wave. While songs like “The Faded Line” and “One Gun” slow it down astutely, driving toward a breakdown, the speed was what I wanted to hear as a young lad and Lamb of God sated the hunger with these songs.

When it comes to songwriting and Randy Blythe's vocals, “Ashes of the Wake” is miles away from “New American Gospel”. That first album had some good tracks on it, some awful production, and absolutely intolerable vocals. Notice how I said it was miles away, not miles ahead. The rough and tumble style of songs like “In the Absence of the Sacred” were more hardcore than metallic, they broke it down and threw you around. That kind of crush is somewhat present in “Ashes of the Wake”. The idea has been transformed in the push for progress literally in the riff and song structure and figuratively in exploring the lyrical themes Blythe fronts for the band. The primal hardcore-laced sound is indulged in songs like “The Faded Line”, “Omerta”, and “Remorse is for the Dead”, but a more thrash and speed approach joins their groove style to give Lamb of God more versatility than the old primitive pounding sense they had before. Rather than have such obvious breaks between speed segments and riff/vocal stanzas, there is a great flow to these songs that sounds much more professional than their garage band days. Randy Blythe's vocals are kept quieter so that the rest of the band can be heard better, but his screaming style still comes crisply and he enunciates better than before. This is an album that you can belt it out alongside and that's something I've done plenty a time over many a drink.

The political message in this album is very obvious. “As the Palaces Burn” wore it on its sleeve and on “Ashes of the Wake” no tyrant, deity, criminal empire, soldier, or civilian goes unnoticed. The title track is an instrumental that features clips from what sounds like a former soldier describing atrocities in Iraq as an extermination rather than a liberation. References to destroying deities, toppling tyrants and remorseless retribution for the exigencies of empires are in nearly every track. Lamb of God isn't letting up telling you flat out, “son of a bitch, I'm going to break you”.

The copy I got was the dualdisk, a very stupid manufacturing idea at the time since my CD player absolutely shredded the DVD side after a few listens. The DVD had a couple of short features giving a history of the band, who they are, and some drunken shenanigans involving a melee and an accidental anal discharge. Along with these features were official videos for “Laid to Rest” and “Now You've Got Something to Die For”. It was an interesting little addition to the album but the main album was much more captivating.

In all, “Ashes of the Wake” is still a good album and unfortunately “Sacrament” ended up dropping the ball that “As the Palaces Burn” and “Ashes of the Wake” had gotten rolling. All told, I can still recommend this album as a quality piece of music and will find myself coming back to it here and there for years to come.