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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Lamb of God

Sacrament

Review by Mike Korn

With a name such as Lamb of God and an album title like Sacrament, you'd expect this disc to be full of praise and worship. But there's definitely a wolf under this lamb's clothing. Lamb of God is full bore no compromise heavy metal and with this particular Sacrament, they look set to dominate the metal world.

It took me a while to get into this album because it's a little different than its predecessors. The guitar sound is not as overwhelmingly crushing and the production is a little dry. But this allows a more developed side of the band's songwriting to emerge and as a result, the music has a little more to it than the sheer aggression of earlier releases (though this is still a very angry album).

There will probably be some backlash against Sacrament from those who want Lamb of God to function more as sheer death metal. But the record should gain far more new converts than it loses. It's a vicious mixture of elements from Pantera, Slayer and metalcore but all swirled together to come up with something that is uniquely Lamb of God.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Walk With Me In Hell
There's a darker and more brooding feel to this song than what we've heard before from Lamb of God. A tumbling guitar arpeggio gives way to a groovy riff and the stone grinding vocals of D. Randall Blythe command us to "pray for the blood, pray for the cleansing.” This guy is an awesome vocalist - anger incarnate with his guttural but perfectly articulate snarling. With its choppy breakdowns and melodic guitar fills, the song could definitely fit as metalcore, although grittier than most of that music. There's one blatant Slayer riff in the middle that even Stevie Wonder couldn't miss.
Again We Rise
Faster than the deliberately paced opener, this track has a very cold and severe vibe. Although Blythe again is outstanding with his chilling screams, this cut didn't do much for me.
Redneck
You can't help but think of Dimebag and Pantera when listening to the opening of this straightforward cut. The whole song reeks of that Vulgar Display of Power mystique and you can almost hear Anselmo's vocals spitting out the foul-mouthed chorus. A really cool riff kicks in about halfway through and the track gets even more charged up. This will be a live favorite for sure.
Pathetic
The album really hits its stride now with this powerful thrasher. "Somewhere between an excuse and a lie / you found something to believe in" Blythe tells us with scorn. It’s a great pit-inducing track with a cool singalong after a false ending.
Foot To the Throat
The band doesn't let up here with another thrashing track that has traces of the great Bay Area bands. The riffing on the verse is absolutely killer. The lyrics seem to focus on the band's home state of Virginia, and not in a positive way.
Descending
This tense and ominous cut is my favorite on the album. A moody melody permeates it and the drumming of Chris Adler is terrific. Blythe's vocals could peel the paint off the wall. This track presents a less brutal but more thoughtful Lamb of God.
Blacken the Cursed Sun
Continuing in the vein of "Descending,” this offers more gloomy thrash with a considerable dose of melody. The mid-section delivers a choppy breakdown and a subdued low-key feel. It’s an interesting and successful departure for the band.
Forgotten (Lost Angels)
A much more straightforward blast of chugging thrash, this has some obvious Slayer touches and a clunky kind of gang chorus.
Requiem
This solid track offers more Pantera-like pounding, with a sampled speech from some sort of fanatic laid over a stalking, down-tempo riff. The guitar solo surely brings Dimebag to mind and the song builds to a powerful climax.
More Time To Kill
This cut didn't do a whole heck of a lot for me and just came across as generic Lamb of God. It's aggressive but functions mostly as filler.
Beating on Death's Door
This is more like it and brings the album to a blazing close. Kicking off with a simple but crushing thrash riff, this is a brutal condemnation of drug addiction. "Scream for salvation, beating on death's door/but just be careful what you wish for" Blythe snarls, adding "she's all yours now, so deal with it!" The tune evolves into something a bit more complex but still biting in the end.
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