LAMB OF GOD
"Wrath"

(Epic)

01. The Passing
02. In Your Words
03. Set To Fail
04. Contractor
05. Fake Messiah
06. Grace
07. Broken Hands
08. Dead Seeds
09. Everything To Nothing
10. Choke Sermon
11. Reclamation

RATING: 8.5/10

Despite Grammy nods, being hand-picked as direct support for METALLICA, album sales out the ass and other invasions into the mainstream, LAMB OF GOD haven't lightened up one damn bit. In fact, "Wrath" is nowhere near the over-produced product of a major label success story many of us were waiting for. Nope, "Wrath" is one raw, vicious and relentless mother fucker; the proverbial snarling beast that has finally broken from its cage and is out for blood.

Aside from the acoustic guitars and melodious soloing on "The Passing" and "Grace" (the former harkens back to a day when similar instrumental intros seemed mandatory on metal albums), there is absolutely nothing pretty about the series of kidney punches that follow. Guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler to play the melodic card at times, most notably during the closing moments of "In Your Words", but otherwise the attack is a fairly ferocious one. While meaty chunks of southern-fried riffage heard on "Set To Fail" and "Dead Seeds" may have come straight from the paged written with "Sacrament", the intricate and breakneck guitar work on the "Contractor" and "Choke Sermon" finds the band pining for the BURN THE PRIEST days. For every voracious slab of speed-addled American death metal, "Wrath" brings equal amounts of groove (see "Reclamation" and "Broken Hands") to keep the scales from tipping too far in either direction. The always solid rhythm section of Chris Adler and John Campbell build yet another mile-thick concrete foundation on which Morton and the younger Adler can riff from one end of the spectrum to the next without worrying about forced-sounding changes or muddied transitions. With bloodied flesh in his teeth and shattered glass in his throat, the head of this beast, Randy Blythe, is as pissed off as ever as he growls and scowls his way through another collection of his curse-laden tirades. Refusing to be anything but his own bad self, LOG fans can rest easy that Blythe is one of the few remaining front men that haven't tried to "pretty up" his performance with any emotive croons or searing choruses. The dude is just getting meaner and more aggressive with each album.

Thankfully, LAMB OF GOD has yet to reach that point where they feel the need to re-invent the wheel, or even themselves for that matter. Since "Ashes Of The Wake", this has been a band who are very comfortable in their own shoes and will continue to wear them with pride as they kick the shit out of all of us.

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