Sound — 9
The sound of this album is Lamb of God at their most aggressive since Palaces, which for me is a welcome return after Sacrament, which I felt lacked the hard-hitting riffing of Palaces and Ashes. The guitar's sound as good as on Sacrament, with Mark Morton outdoing himself solo-wise, particularly on the 'Grace' intro and solo, which is, in my opinion, nothing short of immense. There's also a lot more harmonisation of the leads, as evident on 'Grace' and opening instrumental 'The Passing'. The rhythm guitars carry LoG's trademark, complex riffing which is something they've kept up through all their albums, and the riffs are tight and fast as ever. The breakdowns on this album have more of a hardcore feel to them, a particular favourite of mine appearing on 'Reclamation'. Chris Adler's drumming is as awe-inspiring as ever, he manages to be extremely percussive for a player of this sort of music, whilst making the drums sound as aggressive as possible. He also makes use of a few blast-beats on this album, something I haven't heard him do before, and something I see as a welcome addition to his already formidable repertoire. I'm a huge fan of his style and for me, he appears to have taken it up another notch on Wrath. John Campbell's bass was never particularly audible on any of LoG's previous records and whilst it has definitely been brought forward in the mix on this album, it is still not as defined as I would like. It's a shame because he's a talented, underrated bass player and I would've liked to have heard more of him.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are as in-your-face as ever, Randy Blythe spitting bile and rhetoric, dealing with inner demons, the government/politics and denouncing the human race for it's failings. Blythe is already reknowned for writing intelligent lyrics and this album is no different from any of his previous material. Lyrics of this sort go hand-in-hand with their style of music, so I didn't expect to see any straying from the negativity, and to be honest, if I wanted happy and uplifting lyrics I'd listen to Bobby McFerrin, not LoG. Some choice excerpts for me are "Another body bag, pathetic, picture-frame obituary faded in the attic," from 'Everything to Nothing' and "Covert reactions and you never saw me, a glass parking lot in the American Dream," from 'Contractor'. Randy's vocal performance is strong, his use of pitched screaming is more evident on this album, and you can almost sing-along with some of the lines on the album. He's also lowered his use of the harmonies that were all over Sacrament. I loved the harmonies on the aforementioned album, but felt that they were overused and it took away from the songs when they were performed live. My only fault lies with the fact that he's not used his range as much on this album. He can go from piercing high-pitched screams to bowel-rumbling growls, and whilst there is variation on Wrath, there is definitely a lack of screams pitched in the higher range.
Overall Impression — 9
I've taken a shine to this album much quicker than I did with Sacrament, which took me a few listens to get into, and I'm particularly impressed with the drumming and soloing courtesy of Chris Adler and Mark Morton. I love the aggressive feel of the album as a whole, and I'm impressed that LoG are continuing to keep their sound fresh six albums and ten years on from New American Gospel. Early favourites from this album for me are 'Grace', 'Broken Hands' and 'Reclamation' but I'm a fan of every other track on the album, those particular three just stood out after the first few listens. All in all an impressive album and if it were lost/stolen/trodden on I would most definitely go out and get myself a new copy.