Lamb of God kick off the 2012 with what I consider to be one of the most anticipated releases of the year already. It’s been just over two years 2 years since Wrath was unleashed to a decent reception. Certainly it was the most polished and well produced album they’d ever created and the same is true of Resolution.
There’s absolutely no doubt who you’re listening to as it’s very distinctly a Lamb of God creation with all it’s volume, powerful drumming, glorious guitar work with some blistering solos, and the ear splitting shrieks wails and screams, but for me there’s just something missing to give it that ‘must listen’ factor.
Don’t get me wrong though as I do like the album and I have enjoyed its many listens, yet I find that it doesn’t have anything on it that makes me sit up and go “Woah!”. That killer intro or hook or chorus is missing – tantalisingly close, but the full pay off is never quite there. It does sound very like Wrath with hints of Sacrament, but its clear that the rawness of the Ashes/Palaces era is long gone and I think it’s a grave loss. I still love the band and I’m still desperate for the inevitable tour promoting Resolution, but I suspect I’m going to be one of those old farts that wants more classics than new material. Maybe the live performance will decrease the polish and let the rawness back through.
You’d be unforgiven for thinking you’d heard this album before. The sludgy opener “Straight For the Sun” is a welcome throwback to the early days being doom laden and threatening before the album kicks into high gear a mere two minutes later with “Desolation”. Third track and first single (released in December) “Ghost Walking” follows which bears an uncanny resemblance to “Redneck” from Sacrament. It’s this “sounds a bit like” factor that lessens the impact of Resolution. The sharp intro to later track “Cheated” is ripped right from Wrath‘s “Contractor” for example.
The album isn’t without some diversification though. “Insurrection” has a more melodic feel, especially in the opening vocal which amazingly features Randy Blythe actually singing. “The Number Six” has a very quick clipped drum intro which I must admit I hate the sound of, but then moves into familiar territory before advancing into some quite different sections with a threatening growled/spoken vocal. I found it a little strange at first, but it works well and despite the first few seconds is one my favourites. For all the pre album talk of strings and opera singers, it’s only final track “King Me” that I can identify any of this on. It starts strangely and the unexpected extras are only really obvious on the intro and chorus and I don’t feel they gel particularly well. I like the song a lot, but personally think I’d like it a lot more without the additions.
Overall Resolution isn’t a progressive album by any means. It’s effectively Wrath: Part 2 which is not necessarily a bad thing, just that I was expecting something that pushed the band further forward. There’s some lyrical recycling that grates, but it’s a very small and personal niggle, certainly not worth marking the album down for. It could be that my anticipation for Resolution has dampened the joy I should be getting from it. For all the complaints of lack of movement, it has everything you’d expect to hear from a Lamb of God album and I do like that.
If you’re a LoG fan, you’ll enjoy this – I’m sure of it – and if you’re not, then this could well make you a fan. Just do yourself a favour and explore the full catalogue too.