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Lamb Of God - Wrath

Ronnie Kerswell
Ronnie Kerswell 24 February 2009 at 13.37

Lamb Of God - Wrath Cover

We here at Rock Sound have been extolling the virtues of the Richmond, Virginia, quintet since we first clapped eyes on them...

We here at Rock Sound have been extolling the virtues of the Richmond, Virginia, quintet since we first clapped eyes on them supporting Mushroomhead (yes, really!) in Los Angeles in 02. We even went on the hunt for the purveyors of the ‘New American Gospel’ a few months later to bring you the first UK feature and found them playing a mid-afternoon slot at New York’s legendary shit-hole CBGBs. We knew they were pretty special when drummer Chris Adler confessed to sleeping with a click-track playing through his headphones so that he could push himself further to play the intensely complicated timings he was writing for their second album, ‘As The Palaces Burn’.
They’ve come a long way since their Burn The Priest days and with the advent of their fifth studio album, it’s clear LOG are still raising the bar in terms of both their own personal development and the development of extreme music in general – hell, Chris Adler still likes to limber up for the writing process, though these days his, “I’m making sure I’m in the best shape I can be by riding my bike 12 miles a day and running another three miles so I don’t wimp out on any parts” is partly, “just trying to make sure I can keep up with all the young kids out there”.
Bringing a renewed sense of clarity, ‘Wrath’ is a raw and more organic offering than ‘Sacrament’, their more polished previous affair. It’s more dynamic too, proving they’re still up for trying new ideas rather than being stuck in their ways, with hints of speed / crust on the white knuckle ride that is ‘Contractor’, which also seamlessly combines elements of sludge too, as does the low-slung riffery of ‘Dead Seeds’ and the southern-style solo on ‘Set To Fail’, which wouldn’t sound amiss played by the likes of Down or Corrosion Of Conformity.
From the off, ‘Wrath’ is full of the same ire that makes Lamb Of God’s hymns so potent, with instrumental opening track ‘The Passing’ sidling up like the sonic equivalent of the snake luring Eve to eat the apple – then all hell breaks loose with ‘In Your Words’, a rancorous assault on the senses with D. Randall Blythe’s caustic vocal cutting through the brutal backdrop like acid through metal. However, it’s not all the expected aural battering and chuggery, there’s a sense of serenity as the same track descends into a trance-like closing phrase. There’s impossible-sounding finger-work on ‘Grace’ as frets are scaled, the trademark LOG stomp will certainly stoke up a few moshpits when it’s played live, while ‘Everything To Nothing’ highlights the band’s hardcore influences with its hefty strut, heavy-handed guitar offensive and Blythe’s rallying chant.
If the fact that four-fifths of the band resemble the Messiah doesn’t convince you that LOG are metal’s answer to the Second Coming, then closer ‘Reclamation’, with its devilish swing and angled delivery, will. Now bang thy fuckin’ head!

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