Release DetailsLABEL Epic
RELEASED ON 1/24/2012
Lamb of God
posted on 1/2012 By:
Lamb of God was one of the first metal bands I truly loved. As the Palaces Burn and Ashes of the Wake blended aggressive riffs, furious lyrics, and enviable musicianship in a way few bands could match. Even though their subsequent albums seemed to pale a bit in comparison, I still found certain tracks and moments to thoroughly enjoy. My appreciation for this band is massive, which is what makes Resolution disappointing to me. It’s more of the same in a lot of ways, and the risks that are taken don’t fully live up to their potential. While it’s not a huge step down from their last record, the pitfalls from Wrath seem to be exacerbated throughout Resolution instead of being, well, resolved. Resolution does not live up to its name, and at its worst, it plods through mostly uninspired riffs, formulaic lyrics (the worst of any Lamb of God album, hands down), and predictable structures. At best, Resolution does not stray far from the beaten path established over the band’s tenure, and there’s enough hostility and energy to keep die-hard fans occupied.
There are redeeming aspects to take into account, but they are not enough to completely save this album. While it’s less glossy and commercial than Sacrament, it falls short in comparison to the rest of the band’s discography in almost every aspect. It’s Lamb of God, after all, so they’re still trying to sound like Pantera, but when they push the tempo of certain tracks, there are flickers of sonic evolution. Unfortunately, Chris Adler’s drumming has become predictable, and while he will always be one of my absolute favorite drummers, I miss the innovation and groove that used to be at the forefront of his playing. It’s partially the production; the drums almost sound programmed, and the snare is buried in the mix while the China cymbal drowns out lower frequencies. I won’t say that I’ve “outgrown” Lamb of God by any means, but my connection to their music was created through their older material, and the newer content has failed to resonate as deeply. Resolution represents the pinnacle of this realization, as much as it pains me to admit.
The album begins with a sludgy and powerful riff (“Straight for the Sun”), supercharged by one of Randy Blythe’s signature screams. It’s a hell of an opening, and the vocals are superbly visceral, grabbing the listener by the throat. Then there’s a somewhat awkward drum solo of sorts, leading into “Desolation”. One of the better tracks of the album (but containing some of the worst lyrics of any LoG song ever), it features a very standard Lamb of God feel without sounding too stale. The guitar tone on the record is phenomenal, and Mark Morton and Willie Adler demonstrate their incredible chemistry and ability time and time again.
Resolution continues fairly unsurprisingly, before the band completely rips itself off with “The Undertow”. It’s a mixture of every signature trick in the LoG book, and while it goes down smoothly enough, it’s laughably unoriginal. Next up is the appropriately titled “The Number Six” (guess which track it is?), which features some of the only audible bass on the record, as well as the irritating repetition of the painful line, “You’ve dug your own grave”. There’s much better range in the dynamics on this track, although the transitions between quiet spoken-word interludes and thundering walls of sound are somewhat awkward.
The rest of Resolution neither compels nor alienates, sticking to typical arrangements one would expect from the band. “Terminally Unique” doesn’t exactly live up to its name, but it’s damn heavy and the guitar work is exceptional. “To The End” contains a thrashy and upbeat riff with some fun pinch harmonics, and it provides a change of mood without sacrificing the immensity of sound that Lamb of God is always striving for. The closing track, “King Me” is a unique piece of work, but their bizarre foray into symphonic metal is a creative risk that does not come to fruition. The string patches sound like they crawled forth from the depths of MIDI hell, and they distract from the harmonic structure rather than improving it. I fully believe that if better sounds had been used, I would be a much bigger fan of this track. As it stands, they screech and strain against the guitars, causing uncomfortable dissonance. Even though it doesn’t quite deliver, I appreciate Lamb of God for pushing against its own conventions, and perhaps future experiments will yield more positive results.
So, this isn’t Lamb of God’s best work. Not by a long shot. But it’s not a travesty, either. Despite exploiting their own blueprints in an attempt to expand their empire, there’s still a part of me that believes Lamb of God isn’t down for the count. Resolution may cost them a few fans, but it is not nearly as polarizing as recent releases from bands like Opeth and Mastodon. Maybe that’s part of the problem: If Lamb of God takes larger risks, perhaps they’ll be able to reap greater rewards. Listeners have loyally fed off the band’s formula for the past decade, and the taste is getting old. Here’s hoping that their next album will take full advantage of the band’s talent and fortitude, without abusing their brand.
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