Lamb Of God

Sacrament

Written by: PP on 22/09/2006 15:16:02

Considering the wide success of Lamb Of God's breakthrough album "Ashes Of The Wake", the band was under great pressure to make a worthy follow up to satisfy their heavy-drooling fans of complex metal and to oust the media-critics of their major-label signing. Like other giants before them (note the name Mastodon here), Lamb Of God offered a refreshing change into the stale metal scene with their unique blend of metalcore, hardcore and black metal. While the previous album was more focused on the prior two, "Sacrament" points more toward their black metal influences than metalcore.

In fact, it is irresistable to try to look for the identifying metalcore characteristics in "Sacrament" or Lamb Of God's sound in general such as the occasional clean vocals and melodic shrieks given the major label interest in them. Fortunately for us and the band, these features are largely nonexistent, and while "Sacrament" does not necessarily reach the instrumental complexities or the bone-crushing heaviness of "Ashes Of The Wake", it claims back some ground with songs like the heavily Pantera-influenced "Redneck", the shatteringly heavy opening track "Walk With Me In Hell", or the mindblowing vocal declaration 'Again we will rise' dominating and oppressing the listener in "Again We Rise".

Much of "Sacrament" revolves around the superior trademark Lamb Of God riffage featuring the random guitar gimmicks inside riffs as "Pathetic" well demonstrates. Yet it is easy to see the difference to the likes of "13th Hour" where the perfect interplay of guitar and the blast beats (which have been drastically reduced here) provided ecstatic feelings to dedicated metal fans worldwide and caused hatred within the elitists as the band gained success in programs like MTV2's "Headbanger's Ball". That being said, while they are different, they aren't necessarily bad as the brutal "Foot To The Throat" shows (take the title literally!), and some fascinating tracks can be found in the midst of it all, with the "Blacken The Cursed Sun" featuring some Dark Tranquillity-style melodeath in various parts of the track, and with "Requiem" taking the title of the catchiest track on the album by far without sacrificing an inch of the ear-crushing heavyness we've come to terms with throughout the album.

"Sacrament" may not be as groundbreaking as "Ashes Of The Wake" given its relative feel of toned-downness, but it wins with its darker instrumental exploration - something the band has always done to some extent - that has advanced to another level. The fact that the album debuted #74 on the Billboard chart tells you the same as this review, as their previous albums never saw

daylight on the charts in the past. Nevertheless, this is still a strong effort, and isn't likely to hinder Lamb Of God's parade to the knowledge of the mainstream media nor to reduce the march of new fans heading their way in the rhythm of the devastating drums.

8

Download: Requiem, Again We Rise
For the fans of: Mastodon, Shadows Fall, Heaven Shall Burn
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.08.2006
Epic

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