Hit play and immediately proceed to add “Sacrament” to 2006’s best reasons to headbang. LAMB OF GOD’s new offering is not only another classic in their already great catalog, but the boys from down south have managed to step up their brand of “Pure American Metal” to the next level in nearly every aspect.
Chris Adler’s drumming is more technical, tight, fast and sounds better than ever. The strings of Mark Morton, Willie Adler and John Campbell are punchy, innovative and challenging. LAMB OF GOD are not afraid to experiment and know how to do so while keeping themselves very, very Metal. “Redneck” is a clear homage to PANTERA and all of Southern Metal, so soaked with Southern riffs and groove that listeners may feel a phantom taste of whiskey touch their tongues. Most of the songs have a distinct feel, often taking very different styles from each other.
Perhaps the largest experimentation on “Sacrament” comes in the form of screamer Randy Blythe. Blythe adds so much to his formula on this record that it’s difficult to believe this is the album directly after their superb “Ashes Of The Wake.” Working with producer Machine, Blythe has improved his vocals in every area, added several layers to the choruses, gained new voices and learned to scream with a pitch. Randy Blythe hasn’t taken the easy way out by singing clean choruses; he has started to add a new dynamic to the group’s sound that hasn’t ever been touched on in the group’s long history. All of this is nicely chronicled in the DVD that comes packaged with the DigiPak.
More guitar solos, less forced-sounding breakdowns, more flat-out metal riffs and amazing performances from everyone in the group make this album a must have for fans of LAMB OF GOD or Metal in general. This album is a great step in their career and it’s also an excellent introduction for new fans. While it’s almost impossible to pick favorites on this great of a record, check out “Beating on Death’s Door,” “Walk With Me In Hell,” “Again We Rise,” “Redneck,” “Blacken The Cursed Sun,” and…hell…the whole damn thing! True fans will also be pleased to purchase the deluxe DigiPak edition and check out the 90-minute DVD, featuring extensive interviews and insight into the writing and recording process of “Sacrament,” the group’s lives at home and the music video for “Redneck.” Far from a marketing ploy, the DVD is a worthy addition to their collection and easily stands up to their other video releases, “Terror and Hubris” and “Killadelphia.”
(Online November 2, 2006)