Lamb Of God

Resolution

01. Straight To The Sun
02. Desolation
03. Ghost Walking
04. Guilty
05. The Undertow
06. The Number Six
07. Barbarosa
08. Invictus
09. Cheated
10. Insurrection
11. Terminally Unique
12. To The End
13. Visitation
14. King Me

[01/24/11]
[Roadrunner Records]

Longevity in bands is a strange beast — some bands make the best of it and some have some pretty well documented struggles with it. Take for instance prog legends Rush, that are set to release their 19th album later this year to what looks likely to be a rapturous reception after the way their recent single was received, but it’s bands like Metallica that are the most fascinating. Despite having a recent output that ranges solely from the above average (Death Magnetic) to the frankly dreadful (St. Anger), they’re still the biggest metal band around and essentially sustaining their lucrative lifestyle off the back of achievements made at least 20 years ago. You could argue that Metallica fans simply suffer from ‘battered wife syndrome’ or that they made such an impact with early material that it doesn’t matter, either way it’s an interesting insight into the way popularity and quality interlinks.

It would be hard to argue against the idea that Lamb Of God are, by far, one of the most important metal bands of the 21st century, maybe even the Metallica of our generation. Taking as much inspiration from Pantera as they do Slayer, you only have to listen to the quality of an album like Ashes Of The Wake to understand why they were able to put one of the final nails in the coffin of the declining nu-metal trend and become of the main proponents for the ‘New Wave Of American Heavy Metal’ psuedo-genre. But the attention span of us consumers is a fickle one, so after six studio albums that showed a fairly paced and natural progression, you’d be forgiven for asking ‘what are Lamb Of God doing that’s still relevant and why should I care?’

Well, there are no drastic changes. This isn’t a concept album. There are no keyboard solos, no gimmicks and no collaborations with Lou Reed. Resolution is a Lamb Of God album through and through, much like Wrath and Sacrament before it. ‘Desolation‘ and ‘Terminally Unique‘ both exhibit that defining LoG recipe of chunky Exhorder riffs, Randy Blythe’s unsettling rasp and the always spectacular drumming of Chris Adler and would easily sit alongside classics like ‘Laid To Rest‘ in a live situation. Other highlights include the fast paced and thrashy Slayer-isms of ‘Cheated‘ and ‘Guilty‘ and the Ashes Of The Wake b-side ‘The Undertow‘. These tracks will sate the appetites of long time fans easily but won’t turn any heads that have been planted firmly in the opposite direction since the year 2000.

However, it’s the tracks where there are subtle differences that really caught my attention. Take the album closer ‘King Me‘, initially a dark and somber acoustic piece, complete with female vocals and the croaking voice of Randy Blythe, it suddenly explodes into a dramatic riff section alongside thundering drums and majestic strings. It’s not often that the final track on the album steals the show but ‘King Me‘ is such a refreshing reminder of how talented Lamb Of God can be whilst still making a track that sounds distinctly like their signature sound. Also of note is ‘The Number Six‘, which segues from crushing riffs to brooding clean sections to create a surprisingly dynamic piece of music and ‘Insurrection‘ which contains clean singing that is, for once, a useful addition rather than the tacked-on misstep it so often seems to be lately.

Despite all my praise, Resolution only strengthens the two main thoughts I had before I heard it:

  • Lamb Of God are at their most interesting when they are at their most unorthodox
  • They will never release a bad album but then some of the appeal of their early material comes from having the benefit of being released in the right time and place.

As much as I chase the dragon with this band I’ll never be able re-live those glorious first listens of their classic material or even Sacrament even when the quality is pretty much the same. At the heart of it, Resolution is an hours worth of fan service that will easily sit amongst and hold its own against the rest of the back catalogue but just as easily be written off by many as being lazy and unoriginal, which is a shame when there are so many subtle nods of the head towards a more experimental and interesting sound. Perhaps, it would make more sense to assume that Lamb Of God aren’t today’s Metallica, but instead a modern day Motorhead — a homogeneous bastion of consistency.

Lamb Of God’s Resolution gets…

3.5/5

 

– DL

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