Sound — 10
Lamb Of God have been at the forefront of the NWOAHM since they first hit it big in 2003 after a label change to Prosthetic Records. At this point in time, the band has become a household name for metalheads, with the general attitude towards them being very 'love it' or 'hate it'. Always evolving but never compromising, Lamb Of God's virulent breed of groove-oriented post-thrash is far from easy on the ears. If metal infused with limp-dicked clean melodic choruses is your bag of chips then you need not enter this lumbering, back-breaking machine. Your pansy ass is better off listening to Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying and the rest of the tired clean-cut cop-outs currently dominating the metalcore scene. Lamb Of God's signature sound consistently grows more raw and animalistic the further back you travel into the groups discography. While the band's newer releases have garnered them a considerable amount of attention, the band's finest hour sadly happens to also be their most ignored effort. Thankfully it has been re-released this year, and will hopefully motivate the casual fans to experience and relish this brutal slab of pure american metal. New American Gospel explodes with the single Black Label, an instant LoG classic. This is the song that spawns the infamous Wall Of Death moshpit at LoG shows, it's sheer brutality serves as a worthy testament to this abyss of head-banging pandemonium. The song itself is a furious grime-splattered mosher of chunky Drop D chords, technical drumming filled to the brim with piercing cymbal crashes and double bass drum runs, and Randy Blythe's crushing vocals. The track doesn't let up until it's ominously heavy and agonizingly slow outro.
Lyrics — 10
For my money, Chris Adler is currently one of top dogs in skinbashing. He strays from common beats and fills found in metal music, and relies on his own technical and off-beat creativity. His patterns are quirky but driving, and constantly inspired. He deserves all the respect he can get for his skills, and he is the true heart and soul of Lamb Of God. Of course the other star here is frontman Randy Blythe himself; His voice is just monstrous, ranging from a low death growl, to his signature bark, to a psychotic high pitched shriek. His vocal work is fiendishly commanding, and when all these elements tie in with tight musicianship, we are left with a unique steamrolling brand of heavy metal which grabs you by the throat and pummels you. A Warning is another mid-paced slice of ball-busting metal, and even ventures into pure death metal territory at the 1:15 minute mark at which point total bedlam ensues, leading into a crazed stop-start finale with Blythe's possessed desecration of vocal cords flying from every direction. Other highlights include the blackened crawl of Terror And Hubris In The House Of Frank Pollard which opens with a lengthy intro of Pantera-like grooves complete with wailing solo in the background. A minute and a half in, it shifts gears and enters an urgent vortex of everything that's great about Lamb Of God; It's all over the board, exploring every nook and cranny of the band's sound, from the slower give-and-take chunky riffage the group is known for, to the bouts of rapid pounding hysteria when the quintet finally breaks loose. Randy's screech sounds more demented than ever on this track, eerily resembling ex-Gorerotted vocalist Mr. Gore.
Overall Impression — 10
The Black Dahlia and Pariah also standout, both being inflexibly jagged offerings from a band at the top of their game. Chris Adler drives these songs through the roof with his splintering rhythms and piercing hi-hat. The ladder also builds into perhaps the greatest moment in the band's discography, utterly breaking loose and rampaging the listener into the ground, literally making it impossible to retain your composure due to instinctual headbanging euphoria. This is one for the pits. LoG sticks to their guns on New American Gospel and seem abundantly content with their sound as all ten tracks fire in the same general direction. To put it simply, if you loved Black Label, you'll love this disc. Many listeners are likely to have a bone to pick with the production job. Yes, the production is very rough and the drums are at the fore-front with the guitars playing second fiddle. This will annoy a few, but I say it fits the bleakly raw content. However they have just re-released this with apparently better production quality, so give that a shot if you have a problem. I haven't heard it myself, but I've been hearing good things, so I'm not going to bitch. LoG has significantly evolved over the years, trading in raw brutality for more technical guitar work and a more polished sound. While their more recent polished records still get a lot of rotation in my CD Player, I always find myself longing for New American Gospel. A deadly but delicious concoction of heavy metal at its most animalistic and fundamental, with no artificial sweetener, and no excess fat in need of trimming. New American Gospel proves that it's still possible to shake the earth with the bare essentials in this world full of frilly and gimmicky "metal" acts. For that, my hat is off for Lamb Of God.