There is something so intricately formulaic in Lamb of God's sound, defined almost exclusively by contemporary metal's most creative guitarist, LOG's Mark Morton. Every formula must contain supporting factors; blisteringly fast and distinct drums, growl/scream vocal dynamic, and tight, raw recording quality are all crucial supporting cast members in the Lamb of God show.
The unreleased CD fairy has graced my home yet again with the early arrival of Lamb of God's sixth full-length studio album, Wrath. By now, these guys are seasoned veterans of the scene and fully solidified as the torch-carriers to the Pantera throne.
It's hard to believe LOG started as a strictly-instrumental outfit when you hear how well vocalist Randy Blythe's screams lead each track. With Wrath, LOG maintains the same raw, heavy-hitting and serious themes of the group's earlier work while setting the bar even higher, capturing an almost indefinable songwriting evolution that wasn't always noticeable on 2006's Sacrament.
Yet Wrath is simultaneously a step forward and a step backward. Yes, the evolution is there. But what really sets Wrath off is the band's departure from Sacrament and revisit to older work in the songwriting space. Sitting here desperately trying to put my finger on specific differences, all I can say for sure is that the differentiators are technically minute but emotionally palpable.
"Grace" is my favorite track on Wrath, laden with metal grooves, some of the coolest drum fills I've ever heard, and, of course, a classic metal breakdown. I'm also partial to the final track, "Reclamation," which is reminiscent of and as big as a Pantera ballad.
Wrath is exactly what you would expect from major metal players like LOG: simply another example of why this band is on top of the genre. Pick it up February 24. Until then, rock to some oldies but goodies.
"There's a bad storm blowing in / and most of us won't make it / the wreckage of your past / means nothing now, forsake it."
- Lamb of God, "Broken Hands"