‘Resolution’ provides more of same from heavy metal’s torchbearers

Jack H. Evans

A few weeks ago, Lamb of God frontman and noted political activist Randy Blythe announced via his blog that he is running in this year’s presidential election. While it’s doubtful that Blythe will beat out the significantly more well-known contenders, his candidacy might generate some publicity for LoG’s seventh studio album, a hard-hitting modern thrash piece entitled Resolution . Lamb of God is a bit of an anomaly in that the group has gained a significant amount of mainstream popularity while still retaining a sound that is far heavier than that of most well-known “metal” bands. At the core of this heaviness lies the fact that LoG is one of the rhythmically tightest bands around. The group’s four musical components – guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, bassist John Campbell, and drummer Chris Adler – aren’t known for being overly flashy, but they do create an absolutely brutal wall of sound. Morton and Willie Adler are perhaps one of the most punishing guitar duos in modern metal, despite the fact that neither is a particularly great lead player. Even though what they do here is much of the same from the past albums, the alternate picked riffs and time signature experimentations at least make an interesting backdrop for Blythe’s vocals. Campbell’s bass playing anchors LoG’s bass-heavy sound, especially on the brooding opener “Straight for the Sun” and “The Number Six.” Chris Adler’s drum beats aren’t the definition of complex, but he is one of the most proficient double-bass drummers around, generating a pulsating rhythm stronger than a set of helicopter blades. Blythe’s vocals, though, are what set apart Lamb of God from other modern bands. While not particularly dynamic, they are angry, extreme, interesting, and perfectly fitting to the music. Unfortunately, they could really use some dynamics, as Resolution has an eerily similar sound to LoG’s previous six albums. About half of the album’s 14 tracks are forgettable, and attempts at progression are only occasionally successful. “Ghost Walking” opens with an acoustic guitar bit, but unfortunately, it’s simply a heavy riff played on an acoustic. Meanwhile, “Barbarosa” is a thoroughly interesting acoustic piece that would have fit well at the beginning of “Ghost Walking,” but at 1:35, isn’t much of a song by itself. Fortunately, one attempt at progression goes beyond successful, adventuring into the atmosphere of amazing. “King Me,” the album’s closing track, hits its perfect stride with dissonant clean guitars among heavy riffs, big, orchestral strings, and ethereal backing vocals. If no other song from this album makes it into LoG’s greatest hits catalog, “King Me” certainly deserves to. While it seems a little redundant compared to Lamb of God’s past works, Resolution is made interesting by songs like “King Me,” “Straight for the Sun,” and “The Number Six.” While Resolution , much like Blythe’s presidential campaign, probably won’t win anything this year, metalheads should still check it out for its tight sound and aggressive tendencies. Overall rating: 6/10 Jack H. Evans is the entertainment editor for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.