Lamb of God – New American Gospel

Back in the year 2000, that rap/rock garbage of a trend was everywhere. It permeated the entire music scene, and it was pretty hard to find a decent new metal band who just didn’t give a fuck and whose only mission was to annihilate everything in its path. Lamb of God released their debut album (their second overall release, as Burn the Priest had been released just two years prior) in this year, and while it didn’t top the charts or create a big stink, it did sow the seeds for their claim to the heavy metal throne a few years later. However, some could tell the tides were changing (I was around and aware of the music scene, believe me I know) and this record was one of many that helped signal that something was in the air. Aptly titled, “New American Gospel” this was the album that set Lamb of God out to preach their message of true, devastating metal. Its only fitting that this album came out around the same time as Pantera’s “Reinventing The Steel”, and it’s a strange coincidence as the torch would pretty much be passed a few years later.

The music itself on this album is, once again, quite progressive. It features some bone crushing riffs within LOG classics such as the mosh-pit favorite “Black Label”. To this day I have never seen anything more terrifying than the Wall of Death that is created during this part in the band’s live set. I’ve survived many pits in Pantera and Slayer shows, but this thing takes the cake. If you ever get to see the band live – RUN when they play this tune! Other highlights include the groove in “Letter to The Unborn”, the creepy riffs in “Terror and Hubris in the House of Frank Pollard” which give way to a pretty explosive riff fest, and the Meshuggah-esque “Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion”. I’m quite fond of the latter tune, as the frequent time changes clearly give the song a great sense of dynamics. “Pariah” should also be appreciated as it features some really nice chuggy guitar parts that are reminiscent of 1994 Pantera. The music speaks for itself, and the complexities of the riffs and the drum work make this a fairly enjoyable listen.

Now to the bad parts. The vocals are still horrible. There hasn’t been any improvement at all from the prior release on Randy’s part, and I’m sure that around this time people were wondering if he was ever going to abandon that atrocious croak for some real metal vocals. The production and mix also suffers on this album, as it sounds like it was recorded in a basement. (This is however somewhat alleviated with the re-issue that came out a couple of years ago). But, this was recorded on a pauper’s budget, and beggars can’t be choosers. If you’re a casual Lamb of God fan, or just looking to get into the band, then this is not the record to buy. I suggest getting some of their later material, as it is highly superior.

Overall, this album isn’t half bad, and the band’s making progress in the right direction. This album really serves to set everything up for their next release, and the extensive touring that followed helped to solidify Lamb of God as forerunners of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal (or whatever it is you children call it.)

Rating – 5.2/10

Review by Bluto

1. Black Label
2. A Warning
3. In The Absence of The Sacred
4. Letter to The Unborn
5. The Black Dahlia
6. Terror and Hubris in the House of Frank Pollard
7. The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion
8. Pariah
9. Confessional
10. O.D.H.G.A.B.F.E

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~ by Justin on May 15, 2008.

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