I cannot deny I am a Lamb of God fan. I have a Lamb of God tattoo, as well as at least two T-shirts and probably more on the way at some point. This is their first release without drummer Chris Adler and hotly anticipated after many years of touring and their last (not including their Burn the Priest covers album) since 2015’s Vii: Sturm und Drang.
Lamb of God starts off with “Memento Mori” which builds for the first few minutes before unleashing a classic Lamb of God sound! The second single released from the album and an instant hit. “Checkmate” comes in as the second track and the first single released before the album was and is reminiscent of anything from the Sacrament album era. “Gears” pushes the album further down this line, and “Reality Bath” hones into view. Given 2020 the repeated lyrics of “This is the new abnormal” somehow ring all the more true. “New Colossal Hate” brings the groove back into the album, along with “Resurrection Man” reminiscent of “Ashes of the Wake” era Lamb of God.
“Poison Dream” features a welcome addition on vocals by Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) and “Routes” being the latest single from the album features Chuck Billy (Testament). “Routes” is a more interesting song, detailing Blythe’s thoughts on the appropriation of the Native American people and their struggles, with Blythe appearing to back various causes surrounding this, and never one to stray from controversy himself! “Bloodshot Eyes” is a Ballard towards (I suspect) Blythe’s former alcohol habits that (although more mellow) puts you in mind of something close to “11th-Hour” era of the band. The album ends with “On the Hook” which is catchy and enticing and ends the epic Lamb of God onslaught in the best way possible.
My Final Thoughts
Art Cruz has joined Lamb of God permanently and has done a great job touring, but could he ever really live up to the standards set by such an excellent stalwart in Chris Adler? In short, yes! This is very much an album returning to form, an album that Lamb of God fans will enjoy with enough sprinkling of Mark Morton’s heavy riffs, machine gun power drumming, Willie Adler’s groove-laden guitar and Randy Blythe’s classic, sometimes thought-provoking lyrics. There is plenty here for new fans as well to get on board with, with a variety of heaviness and melody, political/social commentary and outright Metal.
I understand this album has not been as well-received by critics, often calling it a Lamb of God album that would make Lamb of God fans happy, but really – isn’t that exactly what you would want as a fan???
Turn it up to 11, and as always, Party on Dudes!
Singles: Checkmate, Memento Mori, New Colossal Hate, Routes
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