Lamb of God is a dynamic band filled with talent and skill but honestly this CD just didn't really do it for me. I've been listening to Sacrament over and over again since the very day it came out and as much as I try to I can't seem to get into it. I've loved LOG since the Burn The Priest days and with each subsequent album they have furthered themselves in every aspect of the music from the double bass to the flawless riffs and Randy's vocals there has always been a great step forward or a progression if you will but aside from Randy pushing himself vocally this time around I see this CD greatly lacking in anything of substance.
I think when they chose to let the producer "Machine" in on the creative process they made a huge mistake he worked well with Randy but not that great with the rest of the band. This music is much more geared for concert goers in fact I saw LOG recently and they played some of the songs off Sacrament in Atlanta and they sounded great. Why did they sound great? They sped up the tempo and if you are any true metal fan you would know that seeing these bands live should always sound better than the CD. The problem is even though the music is great live the way it was recorded wasn't. With that being said lyrically the band changed to more personal issues which is a nice switch from the political but the music sounds generic (at some parts) and sounds very radio friendly which is not typical of Lamb of God. They added a couple of nice touches such as some southern rock influences but all in all besides "Walk with me in hell" and "Descending" the music steadily gets choppier and less fluid. This is just me but if you are a new fan don't judge this band on this record alone I beg you to go pick up "As The Palaces Burn" or "Ashes Of The Wake". If you have been a fan all along like me watch the video for "Redneck" and tell me that something has not gone horribly wrong in this band.
Each member of Lamb of God took a step forward on this album musically, but the result lacks the raw edge that made their previous albums great. The "special edition" dvd documentary sheds light on why: the band is older and more mature, and Machine had a huge impact on how the album sounds. Randy is nuts, and his vocal work is really spectacular - ever try screaming like he does? The music isn't all bad, either - great drumming and guitar work all around. But the album infuses too much of Machine's high production into Lamb of God's cutting sound, diminishing it. Randy also puts too much audience participation in the lyrics - I really don't see big venues responding "hell no" for verse after verse. No way the band thought keyboards were a cool idea until late in the going - or maybe "way" and really these guys are just a bunch of quasi-prog softies. Either way, the album has some catchy stuff on it and the DVD shows that their next album may be worse, or better, depending on whether they move further into Lamb of God, Inc. territory or regain their spirit.
All I'm going to say is, Love the tunes/riffage, Hate the vocals!
I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but this band like some many others who write in this vain have absolutely awesome tunes, but the vocals just kill it as far as I'm concerned. Every band sounds the same, where's the character in the vocals to define one from another? Most metal bands, good metal bands have a vocalist who is above the others which in turn defines the band. These guys just all scream and have no real identity. Yeah it's angry and so on, yes the lyrics are very well thought out, but where's the feel? This guy needs to take a page out of Nevermore's The Godless Endeavor release to learn how to bring it with power, passion and feeling! Chuck Billy of Testament is another vocalist who knows how to bring it with a different feel/vibe every once in a while. This is what makes bands stand out amongst the crowd. Show me passion and diversity in your/one's vocal delivery and then tell me that this would have not made this release stand above the crowd.
I don't mind a little screaming here and there, but all the time? I just don't get it and maybe that's the point? To me it's like Rap music, any damn fool can either Rap or scream their heads off!! Show me some different styles in your delivery when you sing, not just anger all the damn time!!
Anyway the band easily gets a 5, the vocalist gets a 1 for a combined score of 3.
Like most die hard fans I guess I just end up liking the previous albums bands make over their newer ones most of the time. As you can witness on the dvd this album had a lot of last minute in the studio ideas especially on Randy's part. It serves as a docu closely resembling metallicas "Moster" dvd. This band is not always hanging and jammin together when it comes to the music. This cd sounds very influenced by Slipknot, Testament and Pantera. Was hoping for some more chunk in the music ala Meshuggah like the boys used to do. I think Mastodon has the right idea when it comes to being the NWOAM champs.
I love how everytime a band changes its sound a bit, you got all the people who hate it and then all the die-hards who defend it. Well, I guess i'm in the middle.
I'm always down for change and their are some nice things on this album. I personally think "Walk with me in Hell", is one of the coolest songs i've heard in awhile. But honestly...this album does not hold up to past efforts. The guitars are weak and are basically just background noise to Randy's vocals. unacceptable in my view.
It confuses me because most LOG reviews always praise Ashes as some genre-defining great metal album. I found it to be a great offering but NOWHERE near as good as New American Gospel, one of the best metal albums of all time in my opinion. So basically, I listened to this album and then I put in NAG. I would take every single song on NAG over any song on Sacrament. To go one step further, I can even say that each one of their albums has gotten progressively worse in my eyes.
So yah, change can be good, but lets not get it confused with how good the album really is.
-It's filled with guitar & drum riffs that will make any metalhead want to practice for days on end (Chris Adler still makes me glad I learned to play the drum set).
-Randy's voice has improved tremendously: it's much easier to understand what he is saying (unlike their earlier work), and he is learning to pitch his vocals even more (he might even be able to sing on the next album).
-Great production value. Sound quality has improved tremendously: a great improvement from their previous poorly recorded work.
-This album is easily accessable: If you're new to Lamb of God's work, this is a good start, as it goes from slow & creepy, fast & furious, and everything in between.
The bad news:
-I think this is their worst album. It can't hold a candle to their previous releases.
-While the band made the decision to move away from political lyrics (understandable, as their last two albums were almost entirely political in nature), they moved to the cliche themes of religion & personal problems.
-The band's lyrics were very well writen, intelligent, poignant, powerful, etc. They put other lyricists to shame. Unfortunately, Sacrament lacks all of that. While they occasionally have a few well written points spattered throughout the album, a great deal of the lyrics are repetitive, simple (almost to the point where every other word is f**k), etc.
-"Redneck" has to be one of the worst songs they've written, complete with a moronic music video to match. They've strayed awfully close to the realm of cookie-cutter MTV metal on this one. It's horribly repetitive (lyrically and musically). While Randy displays his new & improved pitched vocals, he sounds awfully close to Phil Anselmo (of Pantera).
Lamb of God has set the bar so high in the past, but this album falls far below that. While I appreciate their attempts to expand their sound, they needed to wait longer before releasing the album. it had the potential to be another astounding metal album, but it seems as though a lot of its problems arise from what usually happens when production is rushed: ideas (musically and lyrically) need a great deal of fleshing-out.
Hopefully, they will have solidified their new sound before the next album is released.
If you want to hear Lamb of God at their best, pick up a copy of "As the Palaces Burn" of "Ashes of the Wake"
Is a very good metal album. Good lyrics, great guitars, drums...lovely done. I can't get much love for the vocals tho. I do prefer DevilDriver over Lamb of God, mainly because of the vocals. It's also my first Lamb of God album that i heard. I bought two more , but this gets my first honest review.
A very good CD.....that sums it up........not great, not life changing, but a really enjoyable listen. Somebody mentioned Skinlab..and I can hear the influence in spots, so I guess I'll take that reviewers advice and pick up the SkinnedAlive Cd when it comes out in a couple weeks.