LAMB OF GOD - Resolution [Review]

Genre: Groove/Thrash Metal
Label: Epic, Roadrunner Records
Released: January 24th, 2012
Reviewer: Tristan French

Lamb of God have always been a band for surprises. At the conclusion of their major tours, they’d lie low for a while and then come back and blow our ears off. Well this time round, they’ve done just that, except they’ve decided to take our faces, heads, bodies....pretty much our entire being away as well. 3 years after their previous album “Wrath” hit shelves and showed a return to the rawer side of Lamb of God, 2012’s follow up “Resolution” offers the Lamb of God ethos that we know and love whilst entering some previously unsailed waters in their now almost 2 decade spanning career. Its easy to say that these guys have come a hell of a way since their beginnings in 1994, and this record only goes to prove that LOG plan to continue their reign of dominance across the world again.

The album opens with the sludgy doom slow roller “Straight for the Sun.” Whilst easily being the slowest song ever written by the band, no sacrifices have been made in terms of heaviness or brutality, in fact, these factors are amplified! Opening the song with a trademark shrill scream from vocalist Randy Blythe, the tone is instantly shifted, as the band enters low territory. This track has a similar air to Pantera’s “Drag the Waters”. Each resounding low chord and note feeling like a strike to the chin, this seems to be LOG’s way of saying “We’ve come back for you all!”, a spine chilling opening and a good predecessor of what is to come in the rest of the record.

The tempo is immediately increased through by this track’s conclusion and this leads into the pumping main riff of the second track “Desolation.” Drummer, Chris Adler’s precision is on great display here, landing each beat with complete accuracy whilst still keeping things brutal, reminding us all of why he’s one of the best in the business (and shall be filling in for part of Testament’s upcoming record). This coupled with a trademark breakdown make this track one heck of a pace racer, with guitarists Willie Adler and Mark Morton’s awesome bends shining through. This coupled with the clear frustration and anger behind Blythe’s voice make for one hell of what I can only describe as a two part opening (haha).

The following track is the album’s lead single (for which an animated music video is available), I speak of course of “Ghost Walking.” In short, welcome to groove city. This song will surely have heads bobbing and feet tapping as it rolls along like a steam roller obliterating everything in it’s path (including Lil Wayne). Once again drum fills are on prominent display on top of an almost bluesy riff, courtesy of guitarist Mark Morton. Another main feature to this song is it features the first solo of the record (the first of many). As strange as that is for a LOG record, it offers Morton the chance to demonstrate his uncanny ability to take blues riffs and make a metal song out of them. Truly awesome guitar work coupled with provocative lyrics, with Blythe stating “21 to 1, I’m liking the odds” and ending with a truly resounding “THERE’S NO ONE LEFT TO SAVE.” I don’t know about you, but at this point in the record, I was most definitely liking these odds.

The album follows suit in a truly brutal manner with the thrashtastic “Guilty”. Sure to have crowds banging heads until they spin clean off, this is THE LOG track to simply go balls out crazy to. The subsequent track “The Undertow” is one of my personal favorites from the album. With a steady foot tapping mid paced riff, this is Randy’s chance to vent, featuring some of the rawest vocals he’s ever done. An awesome chorus of “I AM THE ONE WHO’S LEFT TO TAKE THE FALL! I FIGHT THE CONSTANT UNDERTOW!” truly reflects the frustration and struggle felt by the frontman. Trademark runs and awesome double bass drum beats make this a song for the books, with this song’s breakdown/solo receiving an awesome build up, Morton and Adler are able to display their riffing and technical prowess in the most suitable environment.

Things slow right down as track number 6 (ironically titled) “The Number Six” rears its head. The second longest track on the record (at 5 and half minutes!), this is a brilliant songwriting showcase. The amount of tempo variations within this track alone is insane! Nonetheless coupled with a refrain sure to be repeated by audiences worldwide of “YOU DUG YOUR OWN GRAVE.” One of the main highlights of “The Number Six” is Blythe’s vocal variation, ranging from raspy harsh cleans to his guttural, deep spoken lines, this is some truly poetic stuff. This highlight is also supported by the awesomely soulful clean sections, proving that heaviness isn’t this band’s only forte.

After such a bruiser of a track, “Resolution” then decides to calm us all down with the short yet awesome clean guitar instrumental “Barbarosa.” While squeals from an electric guitar refrain in the background, this truly is a haunting track, designed to creep up on you slowly and lead subtly into the surprise that is “Invictus.” Bringing back the groove to the record “Invictus” is bassist John Campbell’s chance to shine; where his groovey/smooth basslines are THE most prominent that they ever have been, upping the tempo during the song’s midsection. Combining this with an epically brutal breakdown makes for one storm of a track.

Following this is the clear punk influence of “Cheated.” At this point, this is easily the fastest track on the record. Within the same vein as songs like “Black Label” and “What I’ve Become”, its clear intent that this song is meant to be played to the waves of an insane circle pit (in awesome LOG fashion of course). Featuring some amazing drum fills during an epicly climactic bridge, this song will be a live favorite for sure.

Tenth track “Insurrection” is a plethora of unpredictability, with drum beats appearing when you least expect them, its Blythe’s vocals that provide the rhythm to this track. Featuring the appearance of some brilliant guitar harmonies on top of some clearly haunting/resounding chords. “Terminally Unique” provides a great minor key contrast, featuring yet another riff that rolls along crushing all in its path, whilst “To The End” provides another transformation of a blues rock riff into a metal one, once again proving Morton and Adler’s guitar prowess. “Visitation” provides a slight thrashy return, with awesome slowed sections on the pre-choruses. Coupling this with sections of clear teeth gritting vocal techniques from Blythe make this one heck of a venting track, sure to have fists throwing like no tomorrow.

The final track of this album is hands down my favorite on the record, being, in my opinion, one of THE best and most unique songs ever written by the band. I speak of course of “King Me.”

Starting with an almost middle eastern sounding clean intro coupled with female vocals (yes female vocals on a LOG record!) whilst Blythe’s raspy spoken words flow flawlessly. The song then enters into an orchestral string section (again, first time on an LOG record!) building up and diminishing into Blythe’s poetics once again. Out of nowhere “King Me” explodes into a supernova of track, featuring a brilliant opening growl from Blythe, the rest of the band follow suit, playing more aggressively than they ever have whilst still displaying control. An orchestral chorus and some backing female vocals are truly the icing on the cake to such an awesomely progressive song, this track is the symbol of Lamb of God entering previously unexplored territories...and in short it’s awesome!

In conclusion, I think we have a strong contender for 2012’s album of the year, and the year’s barely begun. For a band that have progressed so much over the course of their career to culminate in a brilliant metal opus that is “Resolution” should truly be viewed as a great achievement. Honestly, I can give this record no less than a 9/10. If you haven’t picked this record up yet, then you’re missing out, a lot!

Order "Resolution" through: iTunes | Amazon Mp3 : CD

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