Review by Sheri Bicheno for MPM
Time is a wondrous and surreal concept.
Being only one of what can only be described as a colossal amount of people to grow with and witness the years that Lamb of God continue to craft, it’s barely fathomable that so much time has passed since the years of playing As The Palaces Burn so much that it merited my mum’s neighbours hammering on the front door one Saturday afternoon, demanding that I turn it down or less, play something else.
We’re talking a good 20 years ago…
I didn’t do any such thing and my mumma (the wild child that she is) encouraged me to turn it up louder.
Now 8 albums later, the Virginian metal deities are releasing their 9th Studio album ‘Omens’ on 7th October 2022.
We are categorically launched into first track ‘Nevermore’ which was the first single released in June for ‘Omens’. The energy changes a lot in this track – we have lashings of pure anger and powerful depths to pull you into the heavy folds of the track and then at around 01:30 Randy’s commanding vocals turn gentle with the twist of the song, delivering a contrasted atmosphere of dormant anger and beautiful tones for a couple of moments before getting back into the face of the listener with raging growls and screams combining with winding and weaving tempos.
This doesn’t hang around in thumping you straight in the face with that Lamb of God vibe of riffs and blasting beats that we all know and love.
Only, this time, as much as it has the power of familiarity that Lamb of God’s fast ‘n’ heavy has long delivered – the twists and more groove and progressive metal vibes are becoming more present from this outset track than past Lamb of God offerings, which provides a good insight into what the depths of the next 40 minutes is going to take us to…
‘Vanishing’ starts as an impending storm of riffs before Art Cruz cymbals in and absolutely thrashes the intro to this – quite frankly- WARLORD of a track.
Blythes vocals are ripping and talk to us of inner perceptions of the world the listener lives in. The way things are changing and disappearing around us, a world away from comparing to the past.
This is an eye-opening track to be honest. If you listen carefully and see past the brutality of the face of it, I feel this is very much a track that demands attention to the ever-evolving times we reside in… and not necessarily for the better.
The tempo matches the message. The changes in speed and deliverance of rhythms completely whirl the sky around you and suddenly there’s a gentle lift, weightless almost, before dropping you right into a vat of riffs… “Never to be seen again” …
Third track ‘To The Grave’ takes me back to the older Lamb of God vibes found in Ashes of The Wake and Sacrament, which is a welcome injection of both nostalgia and reminiscence. Whilst still keeping things fresh and new, they yet again display the ability to keep true to their roots. The way the riffs and beats blend together with the low bass and Randy Blythe’s pure brutal vocals give this track a more thrashier edge to the track along with the unmistakable brutal groove notes of Lamb of God.
“I DONT GIVE A GOD DAMN…ABOUT YOUR DEMANDS”
Ditch … pure ferocity.
This is a very p*ssed off track…mixed with the elements of groove, speed and progressive face melting vibes, Ditch is unforgiving and has no room for self-pity whatsoever – only justification for the harsh home truths society simply needs to hear.
Possibly one of my favourite tracks on ‘Omens’, the blast beats entwined with both Mark Moreton and Willie Adler’s ever-changing strings really set the tone of emotion next to Randy’s vocals, raw and unhinged aggression with the chug of depth from John Campbell providing the backbone to this track. Ditch commands respect – I truly think that all Lamb of God fans listening to this will want to hear this live.
Highlighting society’s habit to ignore the clear warnings that we replicate history’s patterns, ‘Omens’ comes forth as another track after ‘Vanishing’ to tell us to open our eyes, even suggesting it’s just too late. The point of human apathy for that cycle is a ship that continues to sail.
There is so much tone and energy going on in this track, the pace is always speeding forth, entwining with layers of different riffs and blast beats that reflects the emotion in Randy’s voice.
It’s a full body headbanger – I was lucky enough to see this monumental track live with Lamb of God’s headlining set this year at Bloodstock and the absolute energy that is encapsulated in this was mind blowing! Hues of blues and teal encased in flashes of white lighting, a thunderstorm of rage and power from that stage ensnaring all rationality and you therein, have a piece of time where you feel you’re in the moment with these guys and absorb the atoms of what they’re delivering.
Phenomenal. No doubt a factor of why this track is the self-titled album track.
Watch their Bloodstock video for ‘Omens’ released today (28th September) here:
Gomorrah’s beautiful ethereal start off that blends with chugging riffs and the catching lyrics create an emotional storytelling of inner struggles and perceptions from the inside out. I find that the make up of this track is completely different from many of the others on ‘Omens’ – slower tempos but nonetheless heavy give this track a slight progressive, very atmospheric feel around much of it. There are moments of pure brutal blast beats, though these keep the gravity of ‘Gomorrah’ in the right places, leaving space for the rage in this track to thrive yet the ambient side of it to hit you right in them feels.
I am completely in love with ‘Ill Designs’ and I don’t care who knows it.
“Now that you can’t come back – to face your own reflection…” This could very much be a track of self relating awareness and the struggles faced on the inside, living as someone on the outside.
It hits hard, it’s brutal and not just in the rhythm sense – the message behind Ill Designs is a powerful one and hand in hand with the twists and changes of tempo in the track, it reflects its mood. Hopelessness, sadness, rage and loss of sense.
The guitaring alongside the breakdowns with the drums are pretty cosmic; ambient, filthy but emotionally connecting to the words that paint the vision to this track.
Third single from the album, ‘Greyscale’ rips through with those insane chugging riffs and double bass intro thundering straight away before melting into a spiralling dark melody, which pretty much sets the tone throughout – the signature Lamb of God layers of groove and speed are present which makes this for another brutal song to get lost in.
I said it earlier, but the backbone of this track is pretty insane. The changes in direction of Bass and layers of riffs that twist, climb and descend with the absolute POWER behind the drums leave a monumental meltdown of fury lacing through ‘Greyscale’.
And rightly so. It’s another powerful track of inner perception and struggles expressing a pessimistic and moody energy.
Get your headphones on, head out into the sunset and absorb this it somewhere. Feel the colours this song paints. Just… do it before hurtling into the 9th track ‘Denial Mechanism’ , which starts off, to me, in an almost hardcore punk bullet of speed. It’s a fast track and lasts for just a couple of minutes but DO NOT underestimate it.
It is ferocious – the energy is huge and brutal. Nonstop brutal. No room to surface for a moment, you gotta ride this beast out and pray you come out the other end. Look out for burst of victorious energy at the end… these guys clearly love what they’re doing here!!
OK now, we’ve come to what I’ve concluded (after much self-debate) as my most favourite on ‘Omens’… you just can’t beat something that is gonna touch you to your core and take you off to places in your mind’s eye.
As the ambience sets in for ‘September’ it’s clear that the last offering for the album is a dark and vengeful forget-me-not.
For me, this has ripples of aftermath of the album’s overall message, delivering the autumn of humanity’s destructive actions and the consequences we face because of them. We all end up in the same situation despite the many faces of evil, greed and war that we put each other throughout the globe through… only to start where we began and restart the fatal cycle again.
Though by no means a ballad, ‘September’ is a vortex of both atmospheric tones and brutality that combines speed and really quite beautiful elements to deliver the final message of ‘Omens’.
Following the 2020 release of their self-titled album Lamb of God, which was placed high on the pedestal, I really can’t emphasize enough how much I enjoyed this album.
Unpredictable, untamable and full of different energies that encapsulate their message of the current dimensions of society, Omens is a stunning new offering from Lamb of God.
Watch the Official music video for ‘Omens’ here:
Revisiting those aforementioned years, after all the personal memories of mine that Lamb of God have been a huge part of, both joy and irreversible tragedy, it’s been an honour to have the opportunity to share my views on their newest works.
- To The Grave
- Ill Designs
- Denial Mechanism
Lamb of God are:
D. Randall Blythe – Vocals
Mark Morton – Guitar
Willie Adler – Guitar
John Campbell – Bass
Art Cruz – Drums
Pre-order “Omens”: https://Lamb-of-God.lnk.to/Omens
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