ANTHONY BOLLERO | Go Venue Magazine
If Lamb of God didn’t prove to the masses that they deserve to sit among some of the largest names in metal with 2006’s ‘Sacrament’, their latest album certainly just threw down the gauntlet. In fact, their eighth studio album is simply ‘self-titled’; which is a testament to the fact that the fellas are quite proud and content with this stage in their career. A new-life has seemingly been breathed into the band as 2020 finds Lamb of God with a refreshed and re-energized sense of attack. This is also the first studio album to feature Art Cruz behind the drumkit after founding member Chris Alder officially bowed out in 2019 due to motorcycle injuries sustained back in 2017. Blythe is just as pissed-off as ever, but this time around he directs his focus on our current fractured political landscape and all of it’s fundamental duplicity.
‘Lamb of God’ opens up with “Memento Mori”, which begins with a “smoky” and brooding guitar line from Mark Morton reminiscent of Sisters of Mercy. Randy’s haunting vocals slide in and dance around this eerie lick for 1:40 before we’re hit with Blythe’s signature scream exclaiming, “WAKE UP!!”. Timely, indeed. Considering the current happenings in our world, this is exactly what we, as humans, need to be reminded of. Waking up to what is going on around us and evoking change not only in our world, but within ourselves as well. A strong opening to a powerful album! Listen and watch “Memento Mori” below:
Things keep chugging along with the second track, “Checkmate”. A little studio banter at the beginning followed by a short, “noodly” guitar intro with a 1,2,3,4 count-in by Art. Blythe’s vocals remain just as sharp and poignant as ever on this one as he exclaims:
“Divide and conquer and close them in and bury secrets deep | Make America hate again and bleed the sheep to sleep.”
For this album, the band even brings in Hatebreed‘s Jamey Jasta as a guest vocalist on “Poison Dream” as well as Testament‘s Chuck Billy (a personal favorite) on the thrashy and swift “Routes” which was inspired by Blythe’s participation in the protest at Standing Rock Indian Reservation as he and a myriad of others took a stand against the installment of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. The project was feared to pose a threat to the Sioux Tribe’s local water supply. Chuck, being of Pomo Native American descent, was a perfect fit to guest on this track. There’s even a great call-and-response between him and Blythe towards the end of the song.
Although Lamb of God attacks some heavy issues on this eponymous album, it’s not without some really fun and groovy riffage. Randy may be screaming about how fucked our world is, but manages to do so with an element of tenacity, fearlessness, redemption and optimism. It’s a welcome and well-timed release that will surely stand the test of time and solidify the band a high seat in the world of The New Wave of American Heavy Metal.
The self-titled Lamb Of God is due out June 19 via Epic Records, pre-orders are available at https://www.lamb-of-god.com/.