Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Never Felt Cheated

Lamb Of God- Resolution   

    Of this generation’s crop of Metal acts, Lamb Of God are certainly one of the world’s biggest, and most popular. Massive selling (well, as metal albums go) albums such as Ashes Of The Wake, Sacrament and Wrath have seen the Virginians rise to the top of the metal hierarchy. On the form of their previous albums, it was very unlikely that this would be a disappointment.
    If you are a fan of the band thus far then Resolution is not going to throw you off on a loop at all, you know full well what to expect as the band have followed a path of greatness yet with consistency and Resolution for the most part does follow this trend, with the rawer sound of previous album Wrath used rather than the more polished production of Sacrament. It does show Lamb Of God flexing their creative muscles to some extent however, with a couple of new tricks up their sleeves. Very misleadingly for example, album opener ‘Straight For The Sun’ has a very sludgey feel reminiscent of Crowbar. Otherwise the album is very familiar groove orientated metal which most would be familiar too, but with some extra elements involved: first released song ‘Ghost Walking’ starts off with a clean acoustic guitar line before the song truly reveals itself, whilst album closer ‘King Me’, as you may have already heard, uses orchestral parts to decent yet not overpowering effect.

    These particular examples however are not the album’s highlights, and mostly it is when the band is doing “meat and potatoes” style Lamb Of God songs without any new surprises that the album actually works best.  ‘The Undertow’ for example is a ferociously strong song with no new variations upon it whatsoever; it’s just the band sounding their strongest. ‘Invictus’ similarly hits hard after following the clean, almost melancholic instrumental ‘Barbaraosa’, whilst ‘Cheated’ is an almost punk-like ditty which tributes the Sex Pistols and sounds very similar to Wrath’s ‘Contractor’. It is in these moments where we see that the band members themselves are at the best forms of their lives.

    Much has been made of the improvement of Randy Blythe’s vocal performance here and with good reason. Whilst before he has been powerful but limited in range, Resolution sees him as a much bigger part of the mix, with a wider range of harsh screams and some clean singing in ‘Insurrection’ which comes off rather well. It isn’t just the Randy show however, as behind the drum-kit Chris Adler is phenomenal, they may have replaced him with Squiddly Diddly (...cartoon octopus? Anyone?...).

    There has been a tremendous amount of hype surrounding Resolution as a contender for album of the year already, but sadly it does not quite live up to this. Still a great effort from one of the most consistently hard-hitting bands on the planet, and on repeated listens the album does improve. Doesn’t quite beat Sacrament or Wrath in places however, but this is still a terrific work and very much worth getting. Whether it will be one of the year’s best is yet to be seen.


Listen To: The Undertow, Invictus, Cheated

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