Lamb Of God Resolution Album Review
By Matt Albers
If there is one band that has reigned supreme in the most recent years of the world of heavy metal and continues to do so, it is most likely Richmond, Virginia’s Lamb Of God. Even the strongest skeptics in the metal community cannot deny that this band has worked hard in their career to continue to earn worldwide respect and admiration. This has always been thanks to their both intense and meticulous additions of elements of metal subgenres including melodic death metal, metalcore and even technical metal to a consistently strong groove and thrash metal foundation. While their latest album, Resolution, may not be a perfect album, it is certainly no exception to Lamb Of God’s already impressive catalogue.
Lamb Of God’s last album, 2009’s Wrath, was no doubt a fun groove and thrash metal album for both old and new fans alike. However, it proved to be rather unimpressive compared to their previous albums, which had shown how the band grew, developed and perfected their earliest groove/death metal sound showcased on their 2000 debut New American Gospel, or even earlier under their original name, Burn The Priest. The December 2011 release of Resolution’s first single “Ghost Walking” brought back familiar memories of most of the songs on Wrath running together and exhibiting mostly uninspired sounds overall. Fortunately upon its release, Resolution proved to be its own separate entity and more importantly NOT sound simply like Wrath, Part II.
Resolution opens with the two and a half minute “Straight For The Sun,” which basically sounds like the heaviest stoner metal jam you may ever hear. This first song ends with a fast-paced drum solo – the first of many examples of Chris Adler’s consistently talented drum skills – that leads perfectly into “Desolation,” a textbook heavy, fast and fun Lamb Of God song. After this positive start, the album then unfortunately seems to bottom out for a few songs in the middle of the album, including the previously mentioned sub-par “Ghost Walking.” All of the worst songs on the album are still not technically bad; every song includes the best elements of Lamb Of God, especially the always groovy riffs and thrashy shreds courtesy of guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler. Although not poorly written, a good handful of songs prove weak or forgettable even after multiple listens, even including “Cheated” which exhibits a hardcore punk-influenced structure.
Despite the nit-picky negative aspects of apparent dullness of some of the songs, it is safe to say that the rest of Resolution is Lamb Of God at near perfection. Mixed in with the less impressive songs in the middle of the album are two gems: “Undertow” and “The Number Six.” “Undertow” is another song that, thanks to strong writing and structure, is unrelentingly both heavy and fun. “The Number Six” also showcases strong structure, but with a slower tempo which allows for a back-and-forth balanced flow of hard-hitting thrash and groove and more toned-down, atmospheric melody. This song also features memorable bass licks from John Campbell and infectious gang vocals chanting “YOU’VE DUG YOUR OWN GRAVE!”
The last five songs on this fourteen-track album are absolutely stellar. “Insurrection” is a song that might divide audiences, as the vocals during the verses are sung using clean vocals, an uncommon technique from vocalist Randy Blythe which some fans may find undesirable. Fortunately, the song has an almost flawless melodic death metal structure and, like the remaining songs on the album, is both hard-hitting and memorable immediately after the first listen. “Terminally Unique” and “Visitation” fulfill an epically thrashy trio of melodic death metal toward the end of the album, while “To The End” proves to be probably the most fun songs on the album thanks to a simple, groovy southern structure that is fortunately not overplayed on this album, unlike Wrath, but rather saved for this one track (it’s basically Resolution’s own “Redneck”). The album concludes with an over six and a half minute epic crescendo of a metal song called “King Me.” Featuring operatic female singing, presumably synthesized orchestral strings, and spoken lyrics from Randy Blythe along with an already powerful yet melancholy groove/thrash song from Lamb Of God, this is bound to be one of the most perfect closing tracks to a metal album anyone may ever hear.
The only noticeably different aspect of Lamb Of God on Resolution is Randy Blythe’s vocals. He exhibits the most variation ever in his tenure with the band, but with more clean vocals and a now stronger rage of harsher vocals, he seems to have lost his signature growl which made him sound like a blood-gargling beast on all previous Lamb Of God songs, or at least up to and including the Sacrament and Wrath albums. This factor may or may not bother listeners, depending on their opinions on Lamb Of God as well as how one feels about other types of metal that have more than just the typical harsh death growls.
Resolution may not be a complete return to form for Lamb Of God, such as to their albums like As The Palaces Burn or Ashes Of The Wake, but it is an undeniably strong album none the less. Other than the noticeable change of Blythe’s vocals, the album seems to be a culmination of all of Lamb Of God’s previous sounds and songwriting, including both their most and least desirable elements, resulting in yet another album from this band that most if not all metalheads should include in their personal music library, proving once again that Lamb Of God has earned their place as one of the most important metal bands not only of this generation, but possibly of all time.
Final Score: 4 out of 5
Recommended If You Like: Pantera, DevilDriver, Machine Head, Sepultura, Slayer