Sound — 10
Fifteen years translate into a pretty impressive length of time for a band in today's fickle music industry. Lamb of God celebrates that big milestone this year, and the Richmond-based band is commemorating the event with the release of a variety of box sets. In its most basic form, Hourglass is a 3-CD anthology that delves into three areas: The Underground Years, The Epic Years, and The Vault. There's a solid selection of material from Lamb of God's complete career, with a variety of Japanese bonus tracks and rehearsal demos included that could be deemed as the rarities in the bunch. If you're a fan of Lamb of God, you can't go wrong with any of the Hourglass releases. If you can scrape enough change together, however, you might want to track down the Super Deluxe Set that features not only the music, but a Jackson guitar and coffin case. The basic 3-CD edition is the primary focus of this Ultimate-Guitar review, but even without the bells and whistles it's still a quality release. The first CD The Underground Years certainly could be considered rawer and more sludge-driven, with no shortage of trademark riff work from Mark Morton and Willie Adler on tracks like Black Label, Ruin, and Resurrection #9. The 2nd CD features the most notable tracks from the albums Wrath, Ashes of the Wake, and Sacrament. Essentially that disk could be considered the greatest-hits portion of the box set, with tracks Walk With Me In Hell, Redneck, Set To Fail, and Laid To Rest all making the cut. The Vault includes a bevy of unheard/rarities, with some interesting rehearsal demos of Now You've Got Something To Die For and Hourglass. Although you can tell they haven't been through the mixing ringer, the tracks are surprisingly tight recordings. Other highlights include the insanely epic track Condemn The Hive from the Wrath Special Edition release and the stripped-down, gritty offerings Lame and Duane.
Lyrics — 9
Pretty much all of the content on the Hourglass box set has been heard before on previous releases, rare though some may be. Even so, seeing the culmination of vocalist Randy Blythe's creativity is impressive, with the frontman never hesitating to be brutally honest in his lyrics. Whether it's reflecting on humanity's innate flaws in Black Label (I would rip out my own entrails by hand just to be alone; Inanity rolls total through this sphere; Ostracized for clarity of vision) or singling out one who might deserve a good ass-kicking in Another Nail In Your Coffin (Borrowing from Peter to rape Paul; No news is good news, but I've got some news for you; Fetch me a rope, lynch mob of one), Lamb of God oozes passion and/or anger in pretty much every recording.
Overall Impression — 9
While you can't go wrong with the basic 3-CD Anthology of Hourglass, fans of Lamb of God should do themselves a favor and save up for the rarer editions. Also available is Deluxe Set that includes: a 144-page book of the band's art by K3n Adams, the Vinyl Edition (all six LPs from Lamb of God), the USB Box Set (which may win the prize for creativity with its cigarette-shaped box that once again features all six releases), and the Anthology. The biggie is the Super Deluxe Set, which retailing at $999.99 includes all of the aforementioned items, as well as the Mark Morton Signature Series Jackson Dominion D2 Guitar, a 4x6 Pure American Metal Flag, an Hourglass sticker, and a signed 8x10 photo. It may not be in your budget, but the Super Deluxe Set does make everything else just seem like second-best.