Lamb of God - Wrath Review
by Mark Hensch
If there is one word associated with Richmond, Virginia's Lamb of God, it is consistency. Since their very first album the band has taken definitive steps with each successive effort, never once faltering from the path of precise brutality. Unsurprisingly, fifth recording Wrath is the band's most airtight and aggressive offering yet. Though it does not reinvent the wheel, it does not have to - at this point, Lamb of God have turned their brand of cathartic groove metal into rigorous, dependable art.
With this in mind, Wrath is all the more harrowing for the few noticeable twists it does take. Album introduction "The Passing," for example, is a moody piece of atmospheric guitar harmonies. Though at first glance "In Your Words" is classic Lamb of God, the song reveals new depth by interspersing the charging verses with gut-wrenching choruses equal in hatred but not in speed.
"Set to Fail," meanwhile, roars with a passage of unhinged blastbeating before settling into the raw and methodical groove of the band's trademark. Lead single "Contractor" is in much the same vein, see-sawing between churning riffs and sludgy breakdowns. The end result is two songs of murderous hostility ala Pantera with all the calculated destruction of Meshuggah.
For its part, "Fake Messiah" takes all these varied facets and melds them into one fantastic piece of heavy metal. From its blistering drums to its stabbing buzz saw riffs, "Messiah" is the sound of masterful violence in its purest form. Riding this thunderstorm of fury is frontman Randy Blythe, whose deranged vocals pummel listeners with newfound power.
"Grace" offers a brief respite from the chaos, its intricate guitar melody soon savaged by a burst of diesel-soaked groove. Biting and bitter, it eventually ignites into a soaring guitar solo among the best on the album.
After this, Wrath reverts into vintage Lamb of God, essentially offering systematic beating after systematic beating. "Broken Hands" leads the charge with a bare-bones display of rage. "Dead Seeds" alternates between casual bloodletting and massive grooves, steadily speeding towards a huge breakdown replete with nuclear explosions on the rhythm section. "Everything into Nothing" delivers a full-throttle anthem with gritty choruses and fish hook guitar sweeps which sink deep into ear canals. Last but not least is "Choke Sermon," a riff-laden monster which stuffs a pinch harmonic down throats each and every chorus. Closing the album is the massive "Reclamation," a mud-soaked dirge which unashamedly rocks grungy folk chords before laying waste with a series of doom-worthy grooves. Though the song is less ferocious than its predecessors, when it does throw down the results are stunning and the album ends the better for it.
Wrath is a fitting title for a piece of music like this. Drenched in vitriol and unafraid of confrontation, this album comes out swinging and never stops the barrage. Beneath the depravity lays a calculating, animalistic intelligence, all the more impressive for its newfound maturity. Put simply, Wrath is a knockout haymaker delivered by a band at the top of its game. Get this now.
In Your Words
Set to Fail
Everything to Nothing
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Lamb of God - Wrath
Rating:10.00 out of 10.00
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