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Lamb of God - "Resolution" (CD)

Lamb of God - "Resolution" CD cover image

"Resolution" track listing:

1. Straight for the Sun (2:27)
2. Desolation (3:54)
3. Ghost Walking (4:31)
4. Guilty (3:24)
5. The Undertow (4:47)
6. The Number Six (5:22)
7. Barbarosa (1:36)
8. Invictus (4:13)
9. Cheated (2:36)
10. Insurrection (4:51)
11. Terminally Unique (4:21)
12. To The End (3:49)
13. Visitation (3:59)
14. King Me (6:37)

Reviewed by on January 23, 2012

"For Lamb of God, 'Resolution' marks a turnaround from the underwhelming 'Wrath.' It’s crushing metal by five guys who have been tolling it out since 1999."

Lamb of God has forged a career that has had them labeled as one of the premier acts in American metal, and they have backed it up ever since they trampled into the mainstream’s sights with 2004’s “Ashes Of The Wake.” Every album since then has had to live up to the benchmark set with “Ashes Of The Wake,” and “Resolution” is no different. The band’s sixth record has them going back to a rawer production after the mixed reaction to “Wrath,” while juggling their old, groove metal sound with a couple of interesting diversions. “Resolution” is almost exactly what any Lamb of God fan would expect at this point; whether that’s a bright spot or a criticism depends on one’s opinion of the band’s catalog.

After over a decade of constant performing and writing, Lamb of God’s ruggish groove metal is like second nature. So it’s not a surprise that a majority of the tunes on “Resolution” are well-rounded. “Desolation” is destined to be the band’s new live anthem, with its shouty chorus having the capacity to translate to a crowd of beer-swilling, rowdy metal heads. “Guilty” smacks the listener in the ears with a lead pipe of dissonance, and the band makes sure not to temper their rage for a moment of brevity.

“Resolution” is another chapter in the evolution of the band as musicians. Every album since “New American Gospel” has seen some level of improvement, whether in the riffs or vocally. Guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler continue to work on handing out tight harmonies and an influx of guitar solos. The rhythm is still integral to the cataclysm of noise, especially the precision assault doled out by drummer Chris Adler. Randy Blythe’s vocals are feeling the effects from years of screaming, though his piercing tones find a way to rip on the government and human fallacies with force.

As songwriters, the bands finds the most worth in pulling back from the easily obtainable groove metal and challenging their formula. “Straight For The Sun” takes a page out of the sludge/doom genre. It’s compelling and one of the heaviest songs the band has done to date. The ambitious “King Me” dabbles with orchestration and operatic female vocals, while having an epic presence missing from songs like “Reclamation” and “Beating On Death’s Door.”

It’s reassuring to hear Lamb of God not satisfied with belting out 10 or 11 version of “Laid To Rest” every album, but the band holds back on “Resolution.” Every time the band tries something new, like “Straight For The Sun,” they revert to their groove metal haven. Having one song with a molasses-like tempo that could build to a fresh dynamic, and then not following up on it for the remainder of the album, is disappointing. The presence of 14 songs - the most on any Lamb of God album so far - is also a drag on the album’s pace, especially once it heads to the hour mark.

For Lamb of God, “Resolution” marks a turnaround from the underwhelming “Wrath.” It’s crushing metal by five guys who have been tolling it out since 1999. Experimentation has never been a rousing feature before, but the instances they are used (acoustic intro on “Ghost Walking,” the aforementioned “Straight For The Sun” and “King Me”) turn out to be the most memorable songs. “Resolution” will make the fans happy, and leave the detractors pissed off as usual.

Highs: Groove metal sound still hits hard, a few twists to the standard formula, another strong performance by guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler

Lows: Drags on the last few songs, seems like the band holds back from stepping into new territory, Randy Blythe attempts to sing on "Insurrection"

Bottom line: An improvement over the uneven "Wrath," though it's more of the same from Lamb of God.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)