Each member of Lamb of God took a step forward on this album musically, but the result lacks the raw edge that made their previous albums great. The “special edition” dvd documentary sheds light on why: the band is older and more mature, and Machine had a huge impact on how the album sounds. Randy is nuts, and his vocal work is really spectacular – ever try screaming like he does? The music isn’t all bad, either – great drumming and guitar work all around. But the album infuses too much of Machine’s high production into Lamb of God’s cutting sound, diminishing it. Randy also puts too much audience participation in the lyrics – I really don’t see big venues responding “hell no” for verse after verse. No way the band thought keyboards were a cool idea until late in the going – or maybe “way” and really these guys are just a bunch of quasi-prog softies. Either way, the album has some catchy stuff on it and the DVD shows that their next album may be worse, or better, depending on whether they move further into Lamb of God, Inc. territory or regain their spirit.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Brutal punishing metal. The singer sounds a bit like Phil from Pantera in some places, but overall a great CD. In these days where hip-hop rules pop culture, it’s great to have die-hard, talented metal bands like Lamb of God to carry the torch. If you even think you like metal buy this CD to support the genre. You will not be disappointed.
Sacrament is Lamb of God’s latest album, and thus far their most experimental. Randy’s voice has become deeper and more varied. In my opinion his voice on Sacrament sounds the way it does live; a bit deeper than in previous recordings such as “New American Gospel” or “As the Palaces Burn”. Guitar solos are much more frequent throughout the album. To those that say LoG does not incorporate guitar solos into their songs, check out tracks like “The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion” or “Remorse is for the Dead”. Finally, Chris Adler keeps LoG’s lethal assault going with his awe-inspiring drumming skills. Lamb of God is without a doubt loaded with talent. Debating otherwise by saying Sacrament is disappointing is only foolish. As was previously stated, how does a band topple the likely crown jewel of their albums? By working hard to create a new one. People should come to realize this. Bands experiment in hopes of creating an even better sound. To those that might be disappointed with this album because they’re comparing an awesome band to corporate sellouts such as Metallica, get off your high horse and out of your mother’s basement. Great metal bands have come into existence since the 1980s, and Lamb of God is one of them.
After taking a few albums to establish their modern update of classic thrash and death metal, Lamb of God have reached the top of their game. This album is jampacked with maturing songwriting ideas and increasing instrumental prowess. Sacrament is a little less dramatic, but much more solid, than the nearly-masterful Ashes of the Wake. The band’s crowning glory is still their fearsome rhythm section, with terrifyingly precise drummer Chris Adler and the lowdown gutbucket bass of John Campbell (he’s so low that maybe only Satan can fully hear him). Guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler are improving noticeably, especially with their solos and the creativity of their thrash riffs. Randy Blythe’s vocals continue to be a bit of a drawback, because he sounds pretty stereotypical when he stays in his usual guttural cookie monster growl. However, Blythe is showing signs of greater excitement when he decides to stretch beyond his normal range, and he is certainly rising above the style of today’s standard metal screamer. The politics of Blythe’s lyrics are still muddled, though his sheer angry misanthropy and anti-establishment rants are getting pretty interesting.
Lamb of God’s growth as songwriters can be heard in two extra noteworthy tracks here. “Redneck” adds a sly southern rock twist to a blistering riff, over Blythe’s diatribe about a certain highly-placed (ahem) redneck; while the turgid slow burn of “Descending” offers great drama and a growing sense of dynamics. One recurring problem on Lamb of God’s previous albums was that songs would become sluggish and repetitive after the initial riffs outlived their usefulness, but here that problem is mostly avoided through more creative arrangements, except in parts of “Walk With Me in Hell” (which frankly is not a good choice for album opener), and “Blacken the Cursed Sun.” However, the band is becoming much better at adding occasional quiet passages and creative effects, which make their usual heaviness stand out much more strongly. Examples include the savage one-two punch of “Forgotten (Lost Angels)” and “Requiem,” plus the accurately-titled piledrivers “Foot to the Throat” and “More Time to Kill.” Like the greatest long-lived metal bands, Lamb of God have now transcended their category, and are in a category by themselves. This is the new standard of pure American metal. [~doomsdayer520~]
After establishing themselves as one of heavy music’s best and most promising and talented active bands with their first three albums, Lamb Of God knew the time was right to expand their sound. The band members have said in interviews that they can’t keep making the same records over and over, or they’d get bored and retire sooner than many want them to. Plus, a great band will always try to top their past albums, even if though it would be extremely hard to outdo 2003’s great “As The Palaces Burn” and `04’s wonderful “Ashes Of The Wake.”
There is no doubt that “Sacrament,” LOG’s fourth studio release, takes several musical strides and new directions. Probably the first thing you’ll notice is that the sound is a lot more restrained. The riffs aren’t nearly as meaty or constant and the Chris Adler’s machine gun double bass drumming only occasionally sprouts up.
The next thing you’ll notice is that “Sacrament” has a greater black metal influence. The overall sound is a lot darker, and frontman Randy Blythe’s vocals sound more wicked because he shrieks more than usual (at least once in every song).
The listener will be fairly uncertain of “Sacrament” after listening to the first track, “Walk With Me In Hell.” It does feature bursts of stop-start double kick drums and a chilling whisper of the title phrase, but it’s still a very different sound than what we’re used to. It’s also highlighted by a cool, winding/mazey guitar solo. Following that song is “Again We Rise,” which is a bit more muscular and propulsive due to its punching riffs, but it’s still only so heavy. “Redneck” (the lead single) is so surprising and daring it’s almost startling. Its southern groove and almost rock `n’ roll-esque vocal style makes it sound like LOG are covering a Rebel Meets Rebel song (the project with Pantera and country singer David Alan Coe).
Think of “Sacrament” as Lamb Of God’s version of Slayer’s 1988 release “South Of Heaven” (please note I didn’t say Metallica’s “Black Album”). The band’s at a time when the stakes are very high for them, so instead of trying to out-heavy themselves, they dabble in slower songs and even a bit of melody and harmony (i.e. the thumping blast beat on “Descending” is held down by semi-tuneful guitar parts). It will most likely be a controversial release among fans, but it’s still a success. (If a band is going to change their sound, this is how they should do it–Dissection should take notes.)
Granted, it is a little less inspiring, exhilarating, and instantly satisfying (partially due to the lack of Randy’s famous political lyrics), and it probably won’t translate as well in Lamb Of God’s live show, so it does not upstage “Ashes Of The Wake.” But it is still very inspired and all-around great. One could even argue it’s even more memorable, because “Sacrament” takes substantial leaps in the creative, diverse (darn near every song offers something new), unique, daring, and innovation departments.
And this isn’t a complete abandonment of LOG’s core sound. For one, the songs are still plenty catchy. “Blacken The Cursed Sun” ends with great, skipping guitar hooks; “Forgotten (Lost Angels)” is superbly catchy and includes a fantastic vocal build-up and climax; “Requiem” follows suit with an awesome, snowballing rhythm; and “More Time To Kill” sports an irresistibly rhythmic, toe-tapping beat. Plus, there are still several heavy tracks. “Pathetic” is backed by pounding drums, a catchy, churning, guitar-driven rhythm, and another wailing solo; “Foot To The Throat” has thrashy riffs which make it kind of have an “Ashes Of The Wake” vibe; and “Beating On Deaths Door,” is probably the album’s harshest, fastest and angriest moment. LOG’s past two records have ended with a song which has an unexpectedly soft intro consisting of acoustic strumming, but that isn’t the case here. Props to the band for keeping things interesting and unpredictable.
It will be interesting to see how “Sacrament” ages and what kind of response it will get from fans. Many (including this reviewer) will applaud this new musical direction, but it’s probably safe to say it will, overall, receive a fairly mixed reaction. One thing is for certain, though: whether it’s because you enjoy “Sacrament,” or you want to absorb it more, or because you can’t believe your ears, it definitely warrants repeated listens and you will return to it many times in the future.