The Wrath of God?
Dark metalcore princes Lamb of God have returned to take back their kingdom with Wrath, their follow-up to 2006â€šÃ„Ã´s scorching Sacrement. The Virginia-based quintet continues to deliver their music at the relentlessly punishing pace that was mastered on their tours with Metallica. But in spite of its energy, Wrath sounds more occupied with delivering songs that translate well on stage than ones that stand out on record.The album isn’t completely lacking in that department though. Instrumental opener “The Passing” begins with a beautifully played guitar solo that breaks into a tightly crafted metal jam with patient power chords and perfectly executed double pedal drumming from Chris Adler. After that, however, the band’s familiar thrashing barrels through the door with live staple “In Your Words,” where Randy Blythe’s vocals take center stage. Although he seems most comfortable roaring demonically, his most remarkable achievement comes when he uses his full range on the closing, Sabbath-inspired “Reclamation,” where he goes from a gentle whisper to a gut-wrenching scream.
“Grace” is another highlight. Its airy guitar intro leads into one of the band’s most memorable songs yet, as Blythe’s echoing refrain of “read the story on my skin” bounces off of John Campbell’s bass line. This single-worthy effort is more than capable of standing up against past peaks like “Redneck” and “Now Youâ€šÃ„Ã´ve Got Something to Die For.” Almost everywhere else, the choruses and lyrics that the group has excelled at in the past take a backseat to their increasingly muscular musicianship. They still play their music formidably, but genuine songs within it are getting harder to find.
Wrath may help Lamb of God retain their throne as one of American metalâ€šÃ„Ã´s hardest live acts, but the album itself doesnâ€šÃ„Ã´t rewrite any rules in the court.