Lamb of God - Sacrament
Epic Records
Hardcore Death Metal
11 songs (46'08")
Release year: 2006
Lamb of God, Epic Records
Reviewed by Adam
Major event
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Lamb of God and formed an opinion of them. Whether you like them or not, this five-piece outfit from Virginia has been one of the most recognizable images of American metal as of late. Being a huge fan of As the Palaces Burn, despite its mediocre production, I was disappointed with what I felt was a somewhat lackluster major label debut in Ashes of the Wake. Their new album, Sacrament, stood before me as a question mark. Could Lamb of God equal or exceed the likes of their earlier albums and come back with a strong effort? The answer, vague as it may be, is yes and no.

The album opener, Walk With Me in Hell, comes crashing in with definite Gothenburg flair, then switches to a typical Lamb of God riff heavy on the searing lead guitar line. The first thing that really jumps off the track at the listener is Randy Blythe’s growl. His always interesting vocals have undergone a subtle transformation during his tenure with the band, going from out and out shrieks on Burn the Priest to having a low, evil growling quality on Ashes of the Wake. For Walk With Me in Hell, the evilness of Randy’s voice has been increased to where it is now a layered combination scream and growl which adds a much better element to the overall sound. Chris Adler once again makes his prowess behind the kit the band’s cornerstone, definitely a solid and engaging opening track all around.

Next up is Again We Rise, starting with a high-pitched lead guitar line, which slowly morphs into Lamb of God’s signature aggro-hardcore sound. Randy’s vocals continue to impress, as he sounds almost terrifying at times. The chorus, featuring multiple vocals meshed into the sound of a sinister chant, is the highlight.

On the next track, the album’s first single Redneck, a fault that had been occasionally rearing its head through the first two tracks becomes entirely evident in Randy’s vocals. If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear you were listening to a band fronted by Phil Anselmo. While Randy’s and Phil’s vocals have always shared similar qualities, Randy’s have stood out to me for their low, growling quality as opposed to the shrieking and aggressive sound of Anselmo’s. Here they sound way too much alike for my taste. Also unfortunate for this track is the unimaginative riffing, which makes the song seem much longer than its 3:40 running time.

Pathetic, sadly, starts in similar fashion. However, a nicely placed guitar solo and solid drumming save this track from itself. Also, the vocals show flashes of regaining the momentum they had on the earlier tracks.

Foot to the Throat takes off with supreme aggression and brutality aptly befitting its title. Although this song doesn’t quite succeed, the bridge near the end gives way to a thunderous closer which sees the band in top form from all angles.

The guys obviously intended to explore the depths of their sound on Sacrament, as exhibited by the next song, Descending. The guitars take on a very lush, melodious quality, complete with harmonies. Another standout aspect is the crescendo building structure of certain moments that seems to suit Lamb of God very well.

Blacken the Cursed Sun continues to recapture the solid pace of the first two tracks. The depth of this new layered sound as opposed to their standard, somewhat choppy attack showcases the band's willingness to expand their horizons.

The chanting vocals of Again We Rise make their welcome, but brief, return on Forgotten (Lost Angels) to add to the solid rhythm section. Unfortunately, they are overshadowed by Blythe reverting back to his “Pantera Cover Band” routine.

Up next is Requiem, which swings the pendulum back using the positive ingredients of this altered Lamb of God sound to try and make the listener forgive the faults of the previous track. Chris Adler, as he has countless times in the past, steals the show with remarkably tight drumming that refuses to be relegated to the background.

Sacrament closes with More Time to Kill and Beating on Death’s Door. The former is a pounding three and a half minutes finishing off with a short clean (yes, you read right) guitar line followed by a jaw dropping closing riff assault accompanied by a sustained growl. The latter is a speedfest (at least by Lamb of God standards) that ends Sacrament on a positive note.

In reflection, if you’ve found nothing to like on previous Lamb of God releases, the odds that anything on Sacrament will change your mind are pretty slim. However, fans of the band will want to pick this one up as Lamb of God stays true to their past efforts, with the exception of the vocal and riffing hiccups, while offering enough wrinkles and nuances to show their intent to show their intent to progress to new levels. Sacrament, for all its faults and great moments, ends up a notch above Ashes of the Wake, but still falls just short of the likes of Burn the Priest or As the Palaces Burn.
Killing Songs :
Walk With Me in Hell, Again We Rise, Blacken the Cursed Sun, Requiem
Adam quoted 83 / 100
Ken quoted 40 / 100
Other albums by Lamb of God that we have reviewed:
Lamb of God - Lamb of God reviewed by Goat and quoted 72 / 100
Lamb of God - VII: Sturm und Drang reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Lamb of God - Resolution reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Lamb of God - Wrath reviewed by Khelek and quoted 75 / 100
Lamb of God - New American Gospel reviewed by Dylan and quoted 93 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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