Lamb of God - Sacrament (Epic, 2006)
The undisputed kings of 21st Century metal. Lords of the riff, the new masters of groove and a band that have slowly staked a claim to be one of the greatest bands in the history of metal through a slew of phenomenal metal masterpieces, an unforgettable live show, a talismanic and wholly admirable frontman and some of the biggest anthems to hit the genre. Bottom line is that Lamb Of God rule and there were any number of their albums we could have picked today (my own personal favourite is As the Palaces Burn if you wanted a side of shinfo with this account) but we’ve settled on the album with the most anthems on it and that is Sacrament.
Lamb Of God have melded together some of the most prominent attacks in the history of metal to craft their own unique brand of disaster. There’s that unmistakable Abbot brothers power groove, the thrashing shred of Mustaine’s finest work, a pummelling approach to rhythm that echoes the rapid, breakneck style of Meshuggah’s Tomas Haake and it all comes together flawlessly to create a sound that’s a home run to anyone who likes their metal frenzied and in your face. Hell, there’s an almost punk rock (think Discharge more than the Pistols) to their attack, best showcased on the circle-pit ready bluster of Foot to the Throat.
On Sacrament though, the emperors found their groove. From the moment the sweeping intro of Walk With Me In Hell gives way to an almighty power groove that any band in the history of metal would be proud to call their own, Sacrament is the best example of hip-swivelling, headbanging genius this side of Vulgar Display of Power and, let’s face it, billions have bands have tried. Again We Rise has a pace that verges on extreme metal but never relinquishes you from that hypnotic groove. The first minute of Pathetic feels like being run over by rhinos, Redneck has become a bona fide metal anthem sung by tens of thousands at festivals all over the world, the push-and-pull of Blackened The Cursed Sun shows that there’s thought and craft and not just brawn and bluster in their arsenal and the hardcore punk rock feel of closer Beating On Death’s Door feels like guys having the time of their life and taking us along for the ride.
The Lamb of God story has always been fascinating (only more so given the events of the last 18 months) but what’s most endearing is that they are a true band of misfits who, when plugged in and on the same page, have created a band for the ages. No matter how dark things get and how deep in thought people wonder about where the next true landmark metal record is going to come from, you can always rely on Lamb of God to put out something timeless to appease fans of metal’s past and it’s present. What would we do without them?