Anyone who has been following heavy metal/metalcore/extreme music knows that Ashes of the Wake is being watched very closely by the entire industry. After two original, technical, brutal, (and not to mention popular) albums, Major label Epic decided to pick these boys up…making them the most extreme group in the Label’s history. After making the cover of Revolver magazine, MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, and various other publications it is safe to say that expectations for this new album have been huge. Well after one listen through, I am estatic and relieved to say that Ashes of the Wake is easily Lamb of God’s best, most accessible, and well produced album of their career; and the boys haven’t sold out one bit. After I finished listening the only other album that I could compare this to in terms of brillance would have to be Metallica’s Master of Puppets…it really is that mind-blowing…and I will try to explain why
What makes this album so great?
1.) Strongest songwriting to date…the lyrics are great, usually revolving around struggle against government, and the internal struggle we all face.
2.) Variety…One complaint I had about Lamb of God’s previous album was that many of the songs kinda blended into one another…most were mid tempo and had the same feel..and all together way to short (the entire album was only 38 minutes long) This album has a variety of tempos, guitar textures, and even an instrumental track thrown in (With guest appearences by Ex-Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland and Testament’s Alex Scholnitz)
3.) Production Quality…Producer extrodinaire Machine helmed this bad boy, and it shows. Easily the best sounding Lamb of God album…the drums pummel but are clean and punchy, the guitars are meaty, and Randy’s screams have never been more…understandable!
4.) Groove…This is probably my favorite point of the album…It is loaded with hooks and grooves that make you want to shake your fist and start moshing it up, making it the most fun and accessible album of their career. Don’t get me wrong…these guys still play brutal and complex metal…but have replaced some of their brooding (Think Meshuggah) with thrash elements (Think Puppets-era Metallica) Try listening to “Laid to Rest” or “Hourglass” without banging your head…its impossible.
Conclusion – Metal album…hell album of the year…anyone who enjoys old Metallica, metalcore, Pantera, Math Metal will find these boys have seamlessly blended all those elements into one hell of an album