At this stage in their career, Lamb of God can pretty much do what they want, when they want. And the Virginia natives have found a winning formula with their sound, which has been honed over nearly thirty years since they began life as Burn The Priest. Since the name change at the beginning of the millennium, Lamb of God have proven themselves as one of the premier contemporary metal bands, progressing from their earlier more death metal style, into the kings of modern groove metal, which has seen multiple Grammy nominations and some almighty tours including this year’s monster outing with Megadeth, Trivium and In Flames, which they are about to follow up with the likes of Killswitch Engage, Baroness, Spiritbox and Suicide Silence in support. (Read our reviews here and here).
The band finds themselves in somewhat of a purple patch right now, with Omens (Epic Records/Nuclear Blast) landing hot on the tail of their self-titled effort released in 2020, following a five-year gap since VII: Sturm und Drang (2015), pretty much doing everything you would expect from Lamb of God right now. And they continue to do it very well, without going anywhere near ripping up their well-established rule book. Opening with a chugging riff on ‘Nevermore’, Randy Blythe’s spoken word vocals as the track gets going remind me of Iggy Pop’s intro on White Zombie’s classic ‘Black Thunder’ from La Sexorcisto – Devil Musi Vol.1, before he belts out the chorus, masterfully flipping vocal styles, while the technically impressive riffing of guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler are straight out of the 1990s school of metal.
On other groove heavy tracks such as ‘To the Grave’, ‘Omens’ and ‘III Designs’, Lamb of God sound like they’re making an album that would have slotted easily into the latter works of Pantera, with Blythe certainly sounding not unlike a prime Phil Anselmo throughout patches of the record. Elsewhere, we are treated to flashes of thrash, such as on ‘Vanishing’ which features some pulsating lead guitar work, very early Megadeth-esq with Blythe providing some tortuous sounding screams towards the end. ‘Ditch’ is sure to be a new live favourite with its huge sing-a-long chorus of, “Down down in a ditch, that you built yourself … You can live or die, by the hand you’re dealt” On ‘Denial Mechanism’, the guys channel the aggression of pure old school hardcore in a way that is going to get the pit circling in fury, while Morton gives his whammy bar a good thrashing on the solo.
Notably the guitar work is absolutely superb throughout, Lamb of God have always been known for their outstanding riffs, and on Omens there are some cracking examples with the groove-heavy chorus of ‘Greyscale’, and on the rolling chorus of ‘Gomorrah’ where the production on the tone is sublimely crisp. And while Lamb of God may never again quite reach the heights of the standards they set on As the Palaces Burn and Ashes of the Wake, arguably their finest works, Omens remains stands tall as a solid addition to their catalogue.
7 / 10
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