Lamb of God - Resolution
Record Label: Epic
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Over the past twelve years, Lamb of God have not really changed their sound, nor have they ever had any intention of doing so. There's always the argument that bands should keep releasing unique albums to keep things interesting, but then there's the argument that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." The latter happens to be more appropriate for Lamb of God's most recent release Resolution.
The very slow opener of the album, "Straight for the Sun," fails to kick things off since the lackluster production takes away from the heaviness of the powerful riff. The cymbals tend to resonate more than anything else, particularly the snare. The song also could probably be cut in half since the incredibly slow tempo just makes the track drag on and on. Once you get to the blistering drum fill at the end of that track, however, it becomes clear that the first track is very misleading.
Although Resolution seems to have strayed away from the melodic side that LOG's past albums featured, you still get a few cool guitar leads and fast solos. Instead of the excess of melodic guitar, you get two songs, "The Number Six" and "Insurrection" that feature clean vocals, a very rare event in LOG songs, although the clean vocals in "The Number Six" are still quite heavy and blend with LOG's style flawlessly. "Insurrection" is the better of the two and is one of the strongest songs on the album, pairing the melodic clean vocal intro with constant melodic riffs on the guitar, providing perfect contrast between the heavy sections and double bass drums in the chorus.
Another attribute of the album that tends to be important is creativity. When there's a band like LOG that wants to write the same record for their entire career, there has to be some excellent songwriting to keep things interesting. The band manages to pull this off very well with some songs, but very poorly with others. There are excellent riffs and hooks on "The Undertow" and "Invictus," and the two also have the perfect drums to complement them. On "Visitation," there is a simple guitar part and a rhythm in the chorus that can be heard against both the rhythm of the drums and the vocal rhythm, but the rhythms also all work together to create a simple, yet remarkably intense moment in the song. However, there are also moments on the album that lack creativity. Drummer Chris Adler has his own unique style, playing beats obsessively on the bell and constantly playing fills heavily on the toms with straight double bass underneath. The former is a good way of Adler adding a different edge to the band's sound, but the latter tends to just get repetitive and ruin the value of whatever part it's used in. There's also the problem of "Cheated" and "Ghost Walking" that seem to just lack any standout qualities at all, and "Barbarosa," which is simply a transitional filler track that is too long for its own good.
All in all, though, Lamb of God managed to showcase enough good songwriting to make their newest release a must-have for all metal fans. Although it probably would have been better off as a nine or ten track album, it's still a great album from beginning to end.