It's that time of the year again, gaiiz and grrrlz! Rejoice! Grab a six pack or a bong (preferably the latter), sit back (or toke up) and enjoy what is ,hopefully, going to be the first of many such reviews!
Lamb of God - Resolution
I hate to kick this year's edition of bananareviews off with a -sort of- negative review , what with myself being a LOG fan and having seen them live twice, I can attest to their anthemic brutality being unparalleled, but it just had to be done, considering how the whole Randy-Czech affair has catapulted them into the spotlight again(Randy's finally been released, YAY!). Having said that, this album is probably the biggest disappointment of the year for me so far and it has less to do with musical prowess/technicality on sonic display and a lot more to do with the overall attitude of the band portrayed in this recording. You see, on 'Resolution' the boys from Virginia sound like they're going through the motions, which gives off a "let's just get done with the fuckin' record, go on tour and make some moolah" sort of vibe and nothing exemplifies this more than how the ringleader/hypeman/emcee of the band aka the vocalist sounds on about 50% of the songs. I miss the days of Ashes and Palaces when Randy's percussive, half-scream-half-growl, manic pterodactyl-like delivery was welcomed on every verse, chorus and tempo change and made him so essential to the band but on this album he sounds more like an overbearing presence, almost like an afterthought to the musical compositions. For more than half of the album, Randy hovers over it like "Hmmm...Okay, for this part right here, I'm just gonna be like URRRRRRRR and then I'm going home" and to make matters worse, years of touring relentlessly have taken their toll on his screaming abilities (he still sounded spot-on on the older songs when I saw him live recently,though) and on the other hand, there are moments where his growls and screams are absolutely eardrum-piercingly delightful. This inconsistency breaks the flow of the album in a noticeable way. The album gets off to a promising start with 'Straight For The Sun', a grinding, grooving stoner/doom riff driven ditty that won't sound out of place on an EyeHateGod record but with absolutely evil growling courtesy of Mr.Blythe and ending with an endorphin-ejaculating drum solo that makes the unsuspecting metalhead brace for his much-needed cathartic impact, but alas, that's where things turn really shitty really fast. Instead of following the aforementioned display of awesomeness up with bone-crushing track after track, Lamb of God decided to cram in a few new versions of their 2006 hit single 'Redneck' and label them with different titles. 'Desolation', 'Ghost Walking', 'Undertow' and 'The Number Six' all sound like Sacrament b-sides, with the usual verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-solo-chorus song structure that has driven LOG into stagnation. The second half of the album is far superior to it's under-performing twin. Seperated by an instrumental interlude, things pick up considerably from this point on. 'Invictus' is another departure for LOG, with Hardcore Punk inspired guitar sections and overall, just straight up raunchy instrumentation, it might just be the tune that saves the album from being a wreck and even Randy sounds tolerable on here. 'Insurrection' has an epic, 'impending-doom' sort of tonality to it that is refreshing to hear, beginning with Mastodon-esque clean vocals, Randy rips into the verse like a rabid dog, which leaves one wondering "If only he'd done that a little earlier...". 'Terminally Unique' sounds like something straight off of Palaces, which is definitely not a bad thing, if a little bit on the boring side and 'To The End' is a commendable attempt at a different sounding song with the usual southern flavor that has, for better or worse, become one of LOG's trademarks. 'Cheated' is this album's answer to Wrath's 'Contractor' and 'Visitation' has cascading riffs followed by a delightfully strange lead lines in the chorus, but it is almost indistinguishable from another first-half track 'Guilty', if a little better sounding and faster. The final track 'King Me', is absolutely stellar. The film-noir influenced verse sections with the trademark ominous baritone spoken word passages, the progressiveness of the song arrangement, the impassioned vocal delivery and even the orchestral sound bites gel together in a great fashion, but that is to be expected really, as evidenced by all the closing tracks in LOG's discography being nothing short of amazing. Overall, this album could've done without tracks 2-6 as those songs in particular drag the album down and 14 tracks is a little too much for me with fillers rearing their ugly head in the very beginning. All that said, I fully expect the next LOG album to be their most pissed off work yet(judging by recent events) and also for it to redeem the band for the six-song-misstep that was included on 'Resolution'.
bananarating : 2.75/5
(This post was last edited on August 4, 2012 at 4:03 AM ET.)