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Reviews

Lamb Of God: Resolution

20/01/12  ||  Smalley

I can understand it if you’re not interested in this review; besides being written by moi (faux self-deprecation ftw), Lamb Of God was never really a good band. Not a bad band, but not a good band at all either, save for the occasional decent song. Yeah, I know opinions are subjective, and many people dig ‘em, so I do credit them for their high-profile keeping of the metal faith, especially in this era (without resorting to metalcore tricks or other mainstream pap). Still, that doesn’t mean they do it for me; while I don’t consider LoG to be a bad “starter metal” band, and they have improved marginally over the years, it still never felt like they ever outgrew the shadow of Pantera/anyone else who influenced them, like they ever stopped being slaves to their influences, and started trying out something of their own.

Factor in how their metal-twang guitar tone always kind of got on my nerves, and how Randy’s Cookie Monster growls always seemed half-assed to my ears, and LoG was the ultimate middle-of-the-road band; a little too competent to hate any, but also a little too bland to like, either. I didn’t even really enjoy “Sacrament”, which, to me, had seemed like their best release… until now? Yes, as “resolution” actually proves to be a fairly catchy, high-energy, and entertaining record. No doubt, it does have a few duds in store; “Straight for the sun” is a draggy, pointlessly doom-y, perplexingly short opener, “Barbarosa” is a needless little instrumental-interlude (like all of them), the hardcore influence on “Cheated” doesn’t do much for me, and there a few other sections scattered here and there that I don’t much care for.

Fortunately, at 56 minutes/14 tracks long, “Resolution” is still a remarkably consistent, compelling album for the most part, beginning with the infectious, bulldozer pacing, pummeling, intuitive guitarwork, and excellent rhythm/lead synergy on second track “Desolation”; why they didn’t just cut out “Straight for…”, and cut right to the chase with this one, I’ll never know. Anyway, it seems practice has finally made perfect for LoG here, as, while most of their riffs left me cold beforehand, they seem to finally be writing more intuitive, hook-ier riffage here, which is a pretty big deal, considering how fundamental catchy riffs are for any groove metal band out there.

Besides the catchier riffing, I also dig Lamb’s successful sound-experimentations, whether it be the Southern-fried acoustic guitar intro of “Ghost Walking”, the eerie, distorted calm and orchestra-cameo(!) on “King me”, or the surprising emphasis on melody on a number of tracks. And besides all of that, we also get a nice balance between the groovier shit and the more thrashy cuts, both styles being pretty catchy, and are able to maintain relentlessly furious, aggressive energies all the way, with hardly any lulls or tiresome repetition to be heard.

As for some miscellaneous thoughts on “Resolution”, while the same guitar-twang is still here, at least the basic rhythm production is nice and meaty, which, combined with the catchy riffs, almost eliminates all my prior annoyance with this aspect of LoG’s sound. Randy’s harsh vocals aren’t that much different from before, but they aren’t awful, and, while I dislike the cleaner vocals, and any of the gang-vocal parts, at least there aren’t that many of those moments. The soloing, while energetic, feels a bit too random, and there isn’t all that much of it here, either, so that’s disappointing. But, while the snare drum has this mildly distracting reverb to its sound, Chris Adler’s basic performance is still pleasingly energetic. End jumbled-thoughts paragraph.

So, despite Lamb’s tentative toe-dipping into new waters of sound here, for the most part, “Resolution” isn’t really a revolutionary album for them, and lacks anything truly brilliant, but it still remains a very energetic, satisfying, and entertaining way to kick off the new metal year; let’s just hope the rest doesn’t disappoint. All in all, it would seem that these former metal kiddies are finally (ghost) walkin’ on their own two feet, and that’s more than fine by me. You got a problem with that?

8

  • Information
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Roadrunner
  • Website: www.lamb-of-god.com
  • Band
  • Randy Blythe: vocals
  • Mark Morton: guitars
  • Willie Adler: guitars
  • John Campbell: bass
  • Chris Adler: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Straight For 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