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A wee bit too samey - 43%

PorcupineOfDoom, October 10th, 2014

Lamb of God is a band that I find you can't help but like some of their work, but there always seems to be something to dislike about them. 'Ashes of the Wake' is a prime example of this, an album that features several likable qualities yet fails to deliver anything spectacular.

'Laid to Rest' is easily the best song on the album, featuring some really neat hooks from Mark and Willie and epic drumming from Chris. Randy's vocals are - as ever - awesome too, and the whole song just gives that great feeling of being the perfect blend of heavy and melodic. I don't know how anyone can dislike this song, it's simply too good for anyone to think otherwise.

Unfortunately though, not every song is as good as 'Laid to Rest'. And when most of the songs sound pretty similar to each other, that's not a good thing at all. Listening through the album, every song seems to start in the same way, and the only songs that don't sound like they're just ripping off the other works are 'Laid to Rest', 'Remorse Is for the Dead' and the title track. The worst bit about that is that even they do sound a little similar to the others in places.

Pretty much the further you listen through the record, the more you realise that every song either features similar drumming or similar guitar riffs. This is no clearer than when you hear 'Faded Line' and 'Hourglass' next to each other, the former sounding just like the former but taken up a tempo on the guitars. If the drums weren't different, I'd swear it were the same song. Aside from this, the riffs do seem to be recycled across the album and the drumming (although fantastic) does seem quite similar in places and you can swear that you've heard it before.

The title track is one that deviates from this, almost entirely consisting of an epic guitar duel. The drums that play in the background are as good as they are throughout, but because it's an instrumental Randy's voice is missing from the action. Unfortunately that means that it's not as good as 'Laid to Rest', simply because it isn't LoG without Randy. Other than that it's good, but it's missing an important part of the puzzle out.

So overall, there are some likable songs on this album, but for the most part it just sounds a bit too repetitive and samey to be considered a great groove metal album. It's nowhere near the quality of Chimaira's 'The Impossibility of Reason', despite the tracks on that album having obvious similarities to each other as well, and that's really a bit disappointing. I might consider listening to some of their other stuff, but I think I'll turn to Chimaira first if I want quality groove metal.