Front runners in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, Lamb of God have been decimating ears since the dropping of ‘New American Gospel’ in 2000. In a similar vein to countrymen Chimaira, Lamb of God’s weapon is a punishing assault of thrash, chugging breakdowns and a particular vicious roar from frontman Randy Blyth. Previous albums ‘Ashes of the Wake’ and ‘As the Palaces Burn’ have been stand up examples of why they are quite rightly revered as an excellent example of modern metal, and Sacrament just cements this reputation.
Opening with the fire-breathing, titanic lumbering beast that is ‘Walk With Me in Hell’, the band do little to let up the intense pummelling that your ears will receive. Tracks like ‘Redneck’ and ‘Pathetic’ are also of note, both contain great riffing sections. But it is the towering ‘Beating on Death’s Door’ that closes the album that is probably the best track here. Vocalist Blyth sounds like Pantera’s Phil Anselmo for the new generation, and there is more touches of Pantera strewn throughout the album. But the vocals have stepped up a level, throwing in melodic and clean vocal sections into an album that glistens with a wonderfully crisp production. Now critics will say that such a quality production is a show of selling out but there is absolutely nothing wrong with a quality level of sound to show exactly what the band is capable of.
Flexing their muscular riffs all over this album, the band pull off an impressive, gleaming mix of groove, crushing heaviness and roaring brutality. Lamb of God are becoming a bit of a modern Pantera, heavy as hell with a raw, Southern groove underneath a shiny exterior. Continuing this path shall only bring them more fans, more sales and hopefully, more quality albums like this. A triumph for polished and still heavy as fuck music.
Ozzy albums are always a bit of a hit and miss affair. With such a legendary back catalogue of early heavy metal classics (you can barely fault the first 6 Sabbath albums at least), and classic metal recordings in the form of Blizzard of Ozz and Bark at the Moon, it always seems a bit sad to see him pulling out old man rock with more than its fair share of syrupy ballads like Dreamer. But Ozzy’s secret weapon is Zack Wylde. The man churns out some of the most ass kicking riffs this side of Iommi, and its the perfect fodder for Ozzy’s uncouth wail. There’s something rather otherworldly about his almost metallic sounding yowl, untutored and unhindered by age, the familiarity is always welcoming.
On Black Rain, Ozzy’s latest album, Wylde is prominent, giving the album a more BLS feel than previous. Most of it is heavy, almost doomy riffing couple with some great soloing but let’s be honest, its Zakk Wylde, the man does little else. ‘The Almighty Dollar’ is driven along by an excellent bulldozing riff, and single ‘I Don’t Wanna Stop’ is both catchy and heavy as hell. Depending on your feelings about Ozzy ballads (i.e. if Changes from Vol.4 is an abomination in your ‘has-to-be-heavy’ eyes), you’ll either love or loathe a track like ‘Not Going Away’. There are a number of throwaway, interchangeable tracks however that let the album down, although ‘Civilise the Universe’ is probably the best track Ozzy has done since ‘No More Tears’.
Unfortunately, the main failing with the album is that it’s more of a Black Label Society album written for radio than an Ozzy heavy metal classic. It’s solidly uninspiring, something you don’t really want to hear about an album by a legend of the heavy metal scene. It’s enjoyable enough to listen to through, a few tracks may bring you back to it but nothing to call it a classic. Ozzy is now faced with a choice it seems: retire gracefully now and leave us with good memories or continue to sully his legacy with average records like this. It’s a shame, because we all know what the man is capable of.
My activity has been a bit low on the site recently, been working loads but also been making some purchases to inspire my creative juices. I’ve been on a bit of an eclectic spree recently, buying thrash, doom, progressive rock, gothic death and some battle metal. I like to spread my stylistic purchasing; I hate that feeling when you get tired of a genre for a while because you’ve listened to it a bit too much over a short period of time. The recent buys are:
Black Sabbath – Master of Reality/Vol.4
Slayer – South of Heaven/God Hates Us All
The Mars Volta – De-loused in the Comatorium/The Bedlam in Goliath
Turisas – Battle Metal
Tristania – World of Glass
Anathema – Alternative 4
I’ve become a particular fan of ‘God Hates Us All’, not the most classic of Slayer albums but one that for some reason just keeps me coming back to it. Also a Brummie regular at our pub got me re-interested in Sabbath and I’ve found myself trying to get the first 6 albums, as those are the essentials he tells me. I’m only missing ‘Sabotage now, and I’m glad I followed his advice. The rumbling ‘Children of the Grave’ and ‘Snowblind’ have provided the stand out tracks from the listening sessions so far.
I have a collection of 778 cds at time of writing and I hope to have reviewed all of them by a far point in the future. There are a few that are not metal, some that are not even close but I have a wide ranging taste and I will never deny it.
Also, if you can find it anywhere, get ‘Bestial Machinery’ by Agoraphobic Nosebleed, its a compilation of some of the most insane grind you’ll hear and its got 136 tracks on 2 discs. It’s simply crazy!!
This is an album I picked up from Grindethic distribution for the low low price of £1.99. They have an excellent selection of low price extreme metal cds on their site and making such random purchases is my favourite way to find new and exciting albums. Doom Syndicate play a combination of super chug death and faster tempo thrash. They obviously don’t like to be stuck in a single genre and splice their chunkier parts with widdly guitar leads to break it up. It creates a solid, heavy album with some great guttural roars and their performance is tight and impressively technical without sounding lifeless or artificial. The production is crisp, giving the tracks room to breathe and it helps the album’s good points to shine through. Particularly impressive tracks ar ‘Gathering the Armies of Doom’ and ‘Sever the Leech’ but the highlight is the Slipknot-esque blast of ‘Product of Environment’ which will lodge in your head for a number of days at least! It may never go down as a classic, nor even probably be that well known outside the underground at over 4 years old, but Beyond Salvation is a solid, death-head friendly chugfest that boasts some technical virtuosity and enthusiasm for the music. Definitely worth a find and listen.