Sound — 8
Although Lamb Of God belong to the very famous New Wave Of American Heavy Metal movement along with other famous bands such as Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Chimaira, Trivium, Unearth, Mastodon or God Forbid, they have a slightly different type of music compared to most of all the bands I have just mentioned. Why? Because half of those bands are either metal-core or plain heavy metal! Lamb of God blends together a mix of death, thrash and heavy metal! The music will be constantly attacking your ears with heavy palm-muted chugga-chugga riffs; fast, technical and pounding drumming; and non-stop brutal, aggressive screams and roars done by Randy. But still, many people still consider them a metal-core band although there just plain wrong! I have yet to hear any singing or clean vocals. Ok now! First, let's compare As The Palaces Burn with New American Gospel. The very first thing I noticed on ATPB was that the production was much better. Now each instrument can be heard very well and even the bass is audible, an element that was not present on NAG. Also, forget all those incomprehensible lyrics Randy used to shriek before; now his screaming and roaring abilities have greatly improved making it possible for us listeners to actually understand what his saying most of the time. A good example would be in the song Ruin as he shows us that his roars can be very deep yet understandable. Now, let's talk about the guitars. Both Willie and Mark have improved as guitarists and now, they give us more intricate yet killer riffs rather than the simple, distorted ones that were on NAG. Also, I noticed that they experimented with a bit melody on your tracks like For Your Malice and 11th hour. But did I mention yet that they actually include solos? They are surely not your typical a la Children of Bodom type solos, but it really does add that little plus to the songs and of course it always a sign of progression of the guitarists and the band. Listen to Ruin, Purified, As the Palaces Burn or Boot Scraper. Chris Adler is no doubly another highlight of the band and the album as well. Almost of all of his drumming work is so technical that it the listener will never dare say that his drumming is straightforward. For example, at the breakdown in Ruin, his drumming is played at such a fast pace that he has to use a technique of his own (You can see it on the DVD: Killadelphia). And if you want to hear some very fast double-bassing, the song A Devil in Gods Country is just for you.
Lyrics — 9
As said previously, Randy has greatly improved his vocal skill! While having a low voice, you can still easily understand all his lyrics about politics, heresy, war etc. This is a very polictly-oriented album and many of Randy's enraged lyrics always focus on how courrupt the is american government and all the problems going on in the world because of it. But don't worry! Don't except lyrics like "F--k Bush and whole government". Randy is a very intelligent man and he shows that element through his lyrics. He uses those lyrics as his weapon continuously pointing towards the politicians.
Overall Impression — 8
To conclude, Lamb of God has shown that they could significantly improve all their past mistakes to give us metal-heads the album we want. And they just keep on improving with new album they release (Ashes of the Wake being my favourite album). Of course this type of music won't please everyone, I'm sure of that, but any person listening to any kind of metal should give this album a listen. Pros.: solos are finally there, fast and technical drumming, Randy improved his vocals, fast and complex guitar riffs, the breakdowns (Ruin, 11th Hour, As The Palaces Burn), audible bass. Cons.: many people might not like the chugga-chugga type riffs, the riffs are sometimes used over and over again. Standout tracks: Ruin (best song and very destructive), 11th Hour (a lot of complex melodic riffs), As The Palaces Burn (a very fast song), Vigil (Begins with a lonely acoustic intro but then builds up with a slow killer riff and just keeps on getting faster and faster).