Jake Longhurst ranks and reviews the back catalogue of Lamb Of God.
From their position as turn-of-the-millennium groove/death metal upstarts, to the arena conquering metal masters they are today, Lamb Of God have released some of metal’s most exciting and reliably brilliant music. As my favourite band, having released their self-titled eighth record not too long ago, and poised to tour across the UK later this year, now is the perfect time to look back and see just how strong their previous releases stand up against each other.
8 – ‘New American Gospel’ (2000)
Although their weakest record, ‘New American Gospel’s’ biggest issue is not to do with the music, but rather the production value, with tinny drums and some EQ issues paired with a fair amount of guitar on the album. Production value aside however, the album is still brilliant, and holds a very high standard for a band’s debut, featuring some incredibly groovy riffs on tracks like album opener Black Label and In The Absence Of The Sacred.
7 – ‘As The Palaces Burn’ (2003)
When an album opens with a song like Ruin, there is no doubt that you’re in for a ride. Produced by Devin Townsend, the production value on the band’s second LP dramatically increased from the last record, although the band still had some slightly grating sounds on the guitars at moments. However, the record stands very strong still, and showed plenty of promise for the future.
6 – ‘Wrath’ (2009)
Alas, the fifth release by the band came after two of the best records of the 2000’s, and so fell a little flat in comparison to the phenomenally high standards of the records before. This is not to say that this album is a bad album however, with the crushingly heavy Contractor marking an excellent moment on the album. The flamenco-style guitar intro leading into the brilliantly technical riff on Grace also gives chills in all the right ways. Choke Sermon and Set To Fail are also high points on this album, which is unfortunately both overlooked and underrated.
5 – ‘Lamb Of God’ (2021)
This album is where the ranking becomes increasingly difficult, as any of these albums could be taken as the best release of the respective years in which they came out. The self-titled record is the band’s eighth and most recent release, and includes two massive featuring artists in Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed and Chuck Billy of Testament.
The writing on the first side holds up better than the second
Album opener Memento Mori is my favourite moment on the album, with a sombre opening leading into a classic Lamb Of God riff that mixes drop D heaviness with plenty of tapped notes higher up the neck. Side 1 is the stronger of the two in my opinion as, whilst Side 2 has both features, the writing on the first side holds up better than the second, which is why this album is only fifth in the ranking.
4 – ‘Resolution’ (2012)
Yet again opening an album with a bang, Lamb Of God’s sixth studio release was chock full of imposing riffs, technical solos, brutal vocals and thundering drums. The first song, Straight For The Sun, takes the phrase ‘wall of sound’ to its logical extreme, and creates an oppressive atmosphere that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Highlights include Ghost Walking, with one of the band’s best guitar solos ever, The Number Six with a surprisingly catchy chorus and King Me, which is one of the band’s most introspective songs to date.
3 – ‘Sturm Und Drang’ (2015)
Album seven was released in the wake of singer D. Randall Blythe being acquitted of manslaughter, and the track 512 actually directly addresses the time he spent in a cell waiting for the trial. With such heavy emotions surrounding the album, it’s no wonder that the whole LP is some of the band’s strongest work to date. Engage The Fear Machine uses a dissonant riff that sets your ears on edge and suits the tone perfectly. Still Echoes and Erase This are a formidable one-two combo to start the album, and Anthropoid is a brilliantly heavy song that adds bombast to the record.
2 – ‘Ashes Of The Wake’ (2004)
Now onto the hardest decision of the whole ranking – which album is first and which is second. I’ve chosen this order entirely down to personal preference, however they are both incredible and could easily switch places. ‘Ashes Of The Wake’, the band’s third release, is a caustic, thrashy and incendiary piece of music with rife political commentary, not least on the title track which should be listened to and not explained. The number of setlist staples on these two albums is ridiculous. Songs like The Faded Line, Omerta, Now You’ve Got Something To Die For and the almighty Laid To Rest lay waste to all but the hardiest of moshers, and are amongst the finest metal songs ever written.
1 – ‘Sacrament’ (2006)
The GOAT of the New Wave Of American Metal, ‘Sacrament’ is the purest distillation of groove, thrash, and death that the band ever put out. Arguably, the band’s finest moment comes on Blacken The Cursed Sun, with a riff that sounds both majestic and ominous, and the final moments of the song creating the best crowd chant I’ve ever witnessed to date.
Without sacrificing one jot of heaviness, the band managed to upscale themselves to creating stadium sized songs
Redneck is the grooviest this band have ever been – the guitars and drums combine so brilliantly whilst Blythe spits venom over the top, not to mention the plethora of songs on this album worth listening to that include Walk With Me In Hell, Descending, Again We Rise, Pathetic, and frankly the rest of the album. Without sacrificing one jot of heaviness, the band managed to upscale themselves to creating stadium sized songs that crush any and all competition, and will do so for many years to come.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. No changes made to this image. Permission to use granted to Impact.
In-article images courtesy of @lambofgod via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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