Release DetailsLABEL Prosthetic
RELEASED ON 5/6/2003
Lamb of God
As the Palaces Burn
posted on 4/2003 By:
After exploding onto the scene in 2000, Virginia's Lamb of God finally return to the fray with one of the most anticipated albums of the year, As the Palaces Burn. Last time around Lamb pummeled the metal faithful with a furious drum-driven assault that came off as an extreme Pantera. I always enjoyed New American Gospel, but I felt like it could've been a masterpiece if they had cut back on the percussion. Apparently they listened. This time they've relaxed the drumming, emphasized the string-work, and delivered a vicious hybrid of Swedish thrash, metalcore, and Southern-fried groove.
The rumor around the cyber-grapevine is that Prosthetic sent out a bunch of un-mastered copies of the album for review. At least on the version I have, the production is pretty sterile, but it's nothing a band would be ashamed to release. The guitar tone has bite but isn't too crushing. Everything is pretty clear in the mix, but nothing really brings any punch, although the breakdowns have that Unearth-like quality of sounding like 5 guitars smashing synchronously. But with Devin Townsend behind the board, we've come to expect great things, so I wouldn't be surprised if this is the un-mastered version. Randy has evolved his vocals, developing more of a snarled bark as opposed to his old scream (which still shows up here and there). Lamb of God is one of the tightest acts out there, and they back it up in the live setting. I recommend to everyone that you check them out in person next time they play in your area. Their material is fast, technical and intense, and every time I've seen them they’ve pulled it off with crushing precision.
Ruin kicks off this riff-fest with a Testament-styled flair before switching gears slightly into a Swedish mode with riffs The Haunted should be playing. At 2:40 the song flies off the handle with a spastic, neck-snapping mosher. I've seen this song performed live and the pit just went into a foking frenzy. Purified starts off by reminding the young'uns out there that Slayer was doing this thing years back. The song has a Shadows Fall vibe running through it, although I suspect that this is the album everyone wanted SF to put out. (No offense to the boys in SF, The Art of Balance was my #6 last year). 11th Hour was released to the public last month, so a lot of you have probably heard it, but that doesn't detract from the fact that the song is supreme. More Testament influence shows up here (tell me that the beginning doesn't sound like Riding the Snake). Then just listen to the part at 2:15 where an urgent Gothenburg riff leads into another brutal breakdown that puts my home state of Massachusetts to shame. Guitar chirps and squeals add to the godliness of this song. A Devil in God's Country is more plodding with Randy waxing poetic ("One man's paradise is another man's living Hell") in one of the stronger vocal performances.
There's really nothing more to say. Lamb of God has produced one of the best albums of 2003, one that should set the metal world ablaze. Any fan of modern metal in general should find something to like here. Production mysteries aside, this is a fantastic album, and it's nice to see bands realize that you can write sick music with just the basics. No synths, no keys, no operatic fem vox, no samples, no bullsh*t - just balls-out, Pure American Metal!
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