I first encountered Lamb of God when I picked up a copy of rather hooky CDs from a street stall in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2006/7. Weird how these things stick in your mind. Since then, they’ve really gained a bit of a foothold – deservedly so – and chiselling their own niche in terms of sound and band identity. They’ve been consistent live performers, but new material has been lacking for five years (an album’s-worth anyway)… and now we finally have a new release, they can’t even be bothered to give it an original title! Seriously, some people…
From a personal perspective, I’ve always found that Lamb of God sold themselves with their live show. I listen to the albums now and again, pick a few highlight songs and enjoy them – but it’s up on stage where the band really shine. So the questions is, can this self-titled collection encourage me to enjoy them more in the comfort of my own home (or car, or when I’m allowed out for five minutes to stretch my legs)?
Spoiler: the answer is going to be a resounding “yes”. Whether it’s taken a while for their sound to “click” with me or whether this is just a great album I don’t know, but rest assured it’s a doozie.
I think one thing that sells it is that, despite the great productions and input from all musicians involved, the tracks aren’t overly complex. Riffs, rhythms and vocals are simple and catchy – no showing off, no more than needed. This pudding is very much not ever-eggy. The end result is a very accessible release to fans of many styles of metal (or even hard rock) which virtually demands a good headbang.
Sure it’s heavy, and there are some blistering drum parts throughout, but the whole fits into the “groove” genre with which the band are so often associated. “Reality Bath”, for instance, spends more time plodding along with a steady, pounding rhythm than it does trying to break you. That honour is reserved for “Checkmate”, or “New Colossal Hate”, or absolute stomper “Poison Dream” featuring the syrupy tones of Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta.
The perfect mix of skull shattering and pulse pounding, I can see this album bringing in new fans as well as satisfying existing ones. There are definitely some quality songs which will beef up their already solid live set as well.
Lamb of God is out on June 19th