LAMB OF GOD – Ashes of the Wake

LAMB OF GOD has picked up a lot of steam in the past few years due to a relentless touring schedule and hard work ethic. On their fourth album (their third under the L.O.G. moniker), the band continues their assault, showing absolutely no signs of “mellowing out” or slowing down. Any fears of a major label sell out are quickly dismissed on “Laid to Rest,” which sets the album’s stage of songs packed with catchy riffs, a pounding rhythm section and the volatile, harsh vocals of Randall Blythe. He spews forth venomous tirades rife with contempt for the current war and American political state. On “Omerta” however, the album seems to lose some of its fire thanks to the unnecessary, condescending intro speech that detracts from the album’s momentum. Likewise, the music follows with a competent, yet uninspired feel. Things get back on track quickly with the punchy “Blood of the Scribe,” which helps build up the aggression that continues through the rest of the album before arriving at the epic, instrumental title track. You can practically hear guitarists Mark Morton and Will Adler‘s enthusiasm as they get to trade off solos with two of thrash metal’s finest shredders, Alex Skolnick (ex-TESTAMENT) and Chris Poland (ex-MEGADETH). Interspersed throughout the track are various samples of U.S. troops describing the struggles they face in the current terrorist/oil war. “Remorse for the Dead” delivers the final blow with aggressive force. It’s sure to keep the moshpit happy. As a major label metal album, Ashes of the Wake is a triumph. There’s plenty of harsh vocals, guitar solos and double-bass drumming. And thankfully, singer Randall Blythe didn’t feel the urge to win us over with some sappy lighthearted emo-crap. Instead, he unleashes his own seething vitriol in a strange sort of stop the war /support the troops-kind of way. The band’s Achilles Heel might be their lack of originality, as they continue to perfect their SLAYER-meets-PANTERA formula, which at times is a little too close to blatant theft. Nontheless, guitarists Morton and Adler still deliver more competent leads than the somewhat sloppy noodling of Kerry King and the band as a whole definitely has more bite and fury than anything on DAMAGEPLAN‘s current output. LAMB OF GOD has the drive, talent and ability. If they can just work on more unique sounds that they can truly call their own and meld that with the determination that they have, they will be an unstoppable force. (Sony Music)

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