Welcome to The Saw’s Butcher Shop! On October 7, 2022, Lamb of God released their new album, Omens (Epic). Lamb of God is credited as one of the pioneering bands of The Second Wave of American Heavy Metal (along with Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, and Trivium). Omens is the band’s 9th studio album, not counting two releases by Burn the Priest (coming almost 20 years apart), the band’s original name. Lamb of God are media darlings, and have done great things to help push Heavy Metal into mainstream consciousness.
Burn the Priest
In 1994, Burn the Priest formed in Richmond, VA. The band consisted of John Campbell (bass), Chris Adler (drums), Mark Morton (guitars), and Matt Conner (guitars). In 1995, Randy Blythe (vocals) was added to the line-up, and in 1999 (after a couple demos and an EP) Burn the Priest released their debut, self-titled album (Legion Records). In 1999, after some membership changes, Willie Adler (Chris’ little brother) was added as a guitarist. Sometime before 2000, the band changed their name to Lamb of God to mark the set line-up.
In 2018, Burn the Priest (with a slightly different line-up than the first) released Legion XX.
Lamb of God
With Campbell, the Adler brothers, Morton, and Blythe set, Lamb of God released New American Gospel in September of 2000. The record is seminal when looking at the storied history of Metal in general, but especially American Heavy Metal. As the Palace Burns was released in May 2003, with raving reviews from the media – especially a Rolling Stone review where the band was praised for not sounding like Slipknot, who had already set the tone for how American Heavy Metal sounded. When Ashes of the Wake dropped in 2004, the media praised the new album as a Stallworth for traditional Heavy Metal, with power, rage, and craft. In February 2016, Ashes of the Wake was certified Gold by RIAA.
In August 2006 Lamb of God released, Sacrament. It sold 65,000 copies in the first week (doubling the first week sales of the previous record). In September 2019 the album was certified Gold by RIAA. It was praised by the media as having “no fat” and “pure power all the way through.” Many of the band’s most memorable songs are found on this record. In February 2009, Wrath was released. It sold 68,000 copies in the first week and debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200.
Resolution dropped in January 2012, but its fanfare was overshadowed by other Lamb of God news – Blythe’s arrest by Czech Police in June of that year. By the end of 2013, Blythe was found “morally responsible, but not criminally responsible” for the death of a fan at a 2010 show in the country. Because of the legal fees, the band claimed it could not afford to record a planned release for 2014, and in January 2014 Blythe officially stated that he was taking a break from the band.
In July of 2017 Lamb of God released VII: Sturm und Drang. The “VII” refers to the release as the band’s 7th studio album, not counting the Burn the Priest release. In April of 2017 the band announced it would take (another) break after the present touring cycle. On July 19, 2019 Lamb of God announced that they had parted ways with Chris Adler. Adler went on to play the drums on the award-winning Dystopia album by Megadeth. Replacing Adler for Lamb of God was Art Cruz (Winds of Plague, Prong). The self-titled Lamb of God was released in June of 2020.
With this backdrop – a decade of trauma and drama – ya girl was very interested in the new album release from Lamb of God. It seems they attempted to mark a “watershed moment” with their self-titled release a couple years ago. But on top of the band’s internal struggles, Coronavirus covered the last two years like a wet blanket. However, as we’ve seen this year with ALL the great records being released, many band’s have taken advantage of the down-time, and have really took their time on these new releases!
And The Saw has determined Omens to be a return to dominance for Lamb of God! First, Randy Blythe is a hell-of-a song writer and performer. His lyrical genius is matched only by his lyrical delivery. With his trademark vocals – from cleans, to spoken, to gutterals – Blythe can’t hide his tirades and pure rage against what he interprets as society gone crazy.
Secondly, Cruz is an awesome drummer, and a real compliment to Lamb of God. Full disclosure: I’m a huge Chris Adler fan! But Cruz is really impressive! His style of play is at base, old school (even, often, Death Metal). Unlike most New Wave American Heavy Metal, Cruz’s drumming is in no way over-bearing, nor does it dominate the sonic wave of the songs. Very smooth double-bass, and excellent hand-work.
Finally, the stringed instruments perform a riff-fest for EVERY. SINGLE. TRACK! Campbell, Morton, and Adler are solid; like immoveable objects in the Metal sphere. At once, the riffs are winding, buzzing old school bangers. But also, in a blink, they are very Metalcore sounding and post-modern. Often the riffs chug along, driving the various songs. And sometimes it seems as though they fill in the open spaces left by Cruz and Blythe. These are the kinds of things this trio has done for the entire career of Lamb of God.
A few songs that get my attention on the new album:
“Nevermore” was the single released for the record and its lyrical genius. “Vanishing,” the second track on the record, is just awesome! Its very well written and composed. “Denial Mechanism” is an interesting track because its one of a few that is very different and almost out of place. The song has a Hardcore/Punk feel to it and not the usual Lamb of God riff structure. And “September Song” is another quite different track. It has the LoG riff structure, but the composition is far removed from the usual. The song is slower paced; crunchy. I’m impressed! I really like this album! I’m glad that Lamb of God have regained their footing, and their stranglehold.
Rating: 9/10!! A great combination of Metal components from masters of the craft, capitalizing on riffs.
Favorite Songs: Vanishing, Gomorrah, Ill Designs, September Song