Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Album Review: New American Gospel

Album: New American Gospel
Band: Lamb of God
Genre: Groove Metal, Extreme Metal
Label: Prosthetic Records
Year of Release: 2000
Duration: 41:40
Rating: 9.2/10

   After releasing a very underground self titled album under the moniker "Burn the Priest", Lamb of God changed their name to... well, Lamb of God after being mistaken for a satanic metal band. The band didn't soften up whatsoever on their sort-of debut album, however. The transition was similar to what Metallica had done from Kill 'em All to Ride the Lightning. They slowed down a bit, but tried to be heavier in slightly less speedy ways. Though New American Gospel features many face melting moments on it, specifically on tracks like "A Warning" and "Letter to the Unborn", it eliminates some of the strong Death Metal elements of Burn the Priest and replaces them with intense and constantly changing rhythm patterns. Rather than blatantly blasting their way through the album, the band does it in a special Groove Metal style. After owning the CD for nearly two weeks of not going a day without listening to it, I still never see some of the time changes coming. The lyrical content on the album is much darker and angrier than on later Lamb of God Releases. "Terror and Hubris in the House of Frank Pollard" has some of the most unrelentingly dark and mysterious subjects on any Lamb of God album. "A Warning" has a very angry atmospheric vibe to it, with Randy Blythe telling listeners to fear him. The production may not be as good as on, say, Ashes of the Wake, but it kind of adds to the experience, making the album sound like more of a mysterious demo tape. There are many things on this album I heard that countless modern metal bands have totally ripped off. Who hasn't heard a breakdown in a song that doesn't sound like the groove-heavy intro to "The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion"? The drums sound somewhat thin, but like I said, this adds to the experience. The guitar parts are insanely catchy and memorable, but a little bit too memorable. On some songs towards the end of the album, I expect to hear a riff or a rhythm that I heard already, and I hear one very similar to another, making most of the songs sound the same. This was my only tiny problem with the album. Randy Blythe's vocals are very different from future Lamb of God vocals. Rather than over pronouncing the vowels in the words, he only brings out the O's and U's, and sometimes makes the A's sound like O's. I would totally recommend this to a fan of extreme metal or groove metal, and I really like this Kick Ass debut album from Lamb Of God.

Strongest Tracks: "Black Label", "A Warning", "Letter to the Unborn", "In Absence of the Sacred", "Terror and Hubris in the House of Frank Pollard", "The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion", "O.D.H.G.A.B.F.E."

Weakest Tracks: "Pariah", "Confessional"