LAMB OF GOD has come a long way from their first album under this name. Their sophomore effort, “As The Palaces Burn”, has the band finding a direction for their music and a refinement for a lot of the talents they possess. They have cleansed themselves of most of their flaws and have delivered an album of pure American Groove Metal.
Granted the Thrash and Death Metal influences of the band are still very much in the forefront but combine that with the groove oriented riffs that the band are using as the main structuring on this album and its just massively catchy and solid.
The songwriting is what really the band has embraced. This album just flows quite well and the band seems to be hitting all the marks with one another so that it doesn’t sound like five individuals playing but one mass of Metal sound. It helps when the performances are all top notch, the chemistry between the two guitarists and bassist is quite impressive as they all trade off groove and riffs that flow into some dissonant leads and some impressive (although sparse) soloing. A stunning performance from drummer Chris Adler takes the cake though as he plays with some very interesting rhythms with great tenacity and precision. The vocal performance of Randy Blythe has only gotten better (it helps that he has quit doing the massive amount of ‘pig squeals’) and his lyrical content is interesting and fitting for all the great anthems on the release.
One element that I feel could be a hindrance towards the band (especially for some of their younger listeners) is the fairly raw sounding production. Although produced by the legendary Devin Townsend, the raw sounding and often harsh style is something a modern band doesn’t normally have. The guitars are a little pushed back and the drums have an odd ting to them – but instead of hinder the band like it could have, the production has a certain charm to it. Thusly, adding to the experience.
I’m glad that LAMB OF GOD has gotten so much better over time and that they deserve the attention they received for this album. “As The Palaces Burn” is a great release for any band let alone one hasn’t been around all that long. LAMB OF GOD is pushing boundaries with this release and its good enough to be worthy of its praise.
(Online November 6, 2008)