In the pantheon of Lamb of God’s discography, few albums are as important as Sacrament. Carrying some of their most popular tracks, it was a reputation-cementing album for them and the standard by which all other Lamb of God albums are measured. While they’ve never furnished our ears with dross, this has always been a cut above the rest and this remaster/re-issue is a reminder of that fact.
Before neck-snapping opener “Walk With Me in Hell” has even finished, you can hear the difference. Time hasn’t been unkind to the original by any measure but there’s an extra beefiness to the music. It’s louder and more assured with each song having more of an individual identity than before and while it’s not been remixed to add to the newness on the album, there is an extra dose of clarity brought to the tracks we know and love.
Where Sacrament shines best in the remaster territory is in it sounding the way you remember it did fifteen years ago. It still balances the rawness and meticulousness of the album and they really nailed down what Lamb of God were with the seeds sown on Ashes of the Wake. The riffs are as razor-sharp as they’ve always been, crunching and squealing in equal measure, and Randy Blythe’s vocals sound even more pointed and venomous when he extends the invitation on “Redneck” and chants his way through the chorus of “Forgotten (Lost Angels)”.
Unfortunately, there’s been no dive into the vaults for this release to add un-released tracks or demos but instead, they’ve pulled a trio of songs from their only 2020 show with “Walk With Me in Hell”, “Redneck” and “Descending”. As fast and furious as those songs are on the album, it’s a reminder of how well their music translates into the live environment and sounds even punchier when played through a PA with to mass of sweat-and-beer-drenched people, right before a pandemic put that activity on hold. However, on release day, if you’re a nerd who has to know the ins and outs of how an album is made, Lamb of God will be premiering a “Making Of” documentary previously only available as a DVD release.
That fuller sound found here makes it even more enjoyable to listen to than it was already but with the new gloss on top of it, it sounds closer than ever to the Lamb of God who released their self-titled album last year. Indeed, if Sacrament was the album which defined their reputation of consistency up to that point, this is also the one they drew from going forward. This is a timely reminder that Lamb of God have always been one of the best modern metal bands. More than anything though, diving back into this album after years away has made me question why I don’t listen to Lamb of God more regularly. It’s not something I can answer but it will be something I rectify.