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One Of Their Best - 95%

eletrikk, January 8th, 2019

Lamb of God redeemed themselves when they released As The Palaces Burn, an excellent album with great songwriting and the like, but could they keep up the traction with their next release? Ashes Of The Wake not only says yes, it exceeded my expectations. I was thinking of a weak third entry as they, in my eyes, spent a lot of creativity on As The Palaces Burn, but they were able to muster together this kick-ass album, one that they haven't been able to top.

Good God Randy is a mean vocalist. He proved that he could change his style to fit the tone of the band, but on this record he damn near perfects it. His style didn't change much from the last record, but it was just enough to keep it interesting. He does a lot of talking on this record, of which I do not like at all. It gives an air of vanity to Randy, kind of saying that he doesn't need to scream in order to sound badass. That goes for any vocalist really. It sounds so stupid. Anyways, his low growls have improved, cementing his sound within Lamb of God. Even though future records wouldn't be all to good, Randy's vocals became something I look forward to on future Lamb of God records. Randy does bring back the old high scream on "Break You," and it has improved vastly.

Unlike the last two albums, I got very few punk vibes this time around. I am unsure as how to feel about it, as it gave the last two that grimy edge that this one doesn't have. Instead, Ashes Of The Wake is cold, mechanical, and very dark. Mark and Willie really went out for a much colder feel for this record, and is works very well. Their riffage is not all too complex for the most part, but when songs like the title track play, that being, "Ashes Of The Wake," a five minute instrumental, they go all out and don't hold back. Another perfect example is "Blood of the Scribe," a kicker with a fast intro, blasting double kicks provided so graciously by Chris, of whom really proves himself. John doesn't hold back all to much either, providing an excellent backing to the guitars and drums. Some of the lyrics kind of feel reused, but not to the point that it is overtly obvious. Back to the drums, Chris really went for the death metal vibe instead of the punk-death infusion that I've previously harped on. It really doesn't matter, as he is able to keep up the drumming, giving that cold death metal feel for the entirety of the record.

This time around, the production of this record is pretty damn swell. Nothing seems to take up to much space. They really went for the death metal mix, having the guitars be very fuzzy and middy. John's bass is too quiet for me this time around. I can really only hear it on "What I've Become" and "Blood Of The Scribe." If I were in the control room, I would have made it somewhat louder, but that is my personal preference only. Chris' drum kit is mixed very well, like last time. The bass drum is very pronounced, the cymbals sound excellent, and the rest of the kit is great. Randy's vocals are not quiet this time around and sound crisp. Nothing clashes, fitting all together very nicely.

If this band were a group of politicians, this album would be their collective manifesto. Heavy anti-war messages permeate from Ashes Of The Wake, as it was written during the very beginning of the Iraq Conflict. The title track, despite being an instrumental, has an account of a solider from Iraq talking about what happened, saying that any car that came within their perimeter, that they would "light 'em up." Besides that account, everything else is from the band and fits very well with the tone of the album. The rest is the classic "fuck humanity," "our government sucks," and "I'm going to kill you and everyone else" that Lamb of God has become known for. Overall, this is an excellent album