One of the bands breaking new ground on the second stage of this summer's Ozzfest was Virginia's Lamb of God.
After a decade of jamming and three independent releases, LoG simply pulverizes on their major-label debut, Ashes of the Wake.
A major difference that separates Ashes of the Wake from Lamb of God's previous efforts, 2000's New American Gospel and 2003's As the Palaces Burn, is the production. Producer Machine (Clutch, King Crimson, Pitchshifter) manages a balance in the sound that is crisp and clear, yet loud at the same time.
The sounds of pure thrash, mixed with death- and prog-metal make up the style of LoG. Vocalist Randy Blythe grunts lyrics like a pissed-off demon, similar to Testament's Chuck Billy.
Following in the steps of Palaces, Ashes of the Wake is lyrically-driven through modern politics. "It's when murder is justice that martyrs are made / A one-gun salute for the new independence day / They'll hallow your name ...," grunts Blythe during "One Gun."
Meaty stompers such as "Laid to Rest" and "Now You've Got Something to Die For" highlight the album; the album's title track is a near-six-minute instrumental jam, with Megadeth's Chris Poland and Testament's Alex Skolnick providing minute-long guitar solos that accompany Lamb of God's guitar duo of Mark Morton and Willie Adler. Morton and Adler also aptly display their talents during the intro of "Remorse Is for the Dead."
Blythe's somewhat rote vocal stylings are the only setback to the album. His lack of diversity renders many of his songs noisy and monotonous.