It’s a blessing and a curse to release a record in January of a given year. On the plus side, you’re the first out of the gates in what is mostly a low-profile month but on the downside, if you have an album that’s kind of “meh”, you’ll likely be forgotten by February. Lamb of God choosing to release Resolution this month could not have been a smarter tactic. It’s a blistering behemoth of riffs and fury which is going to cause most of their contemporaries releasing albums in 2012 to head back into the studio with heads hung low as they realize whatever they planned on putting out is shit compared to Resolution.

In order to evolve, one must eventually change and experiment from time to time. When it comes to music, some experimentation is welcome (Clutch changing from straight up metal to Southern Fried boogie between their first and second albums) while others, not so much (Korn and dubstep? ‘Lil Wayne making a “rock” album? Really?). On Lamb of God’s seventh album, Resolution, the West Virginian metallers take the former route.

If you’ve been drifting away from LOG since Sacrament then opener “Straight From The Sun” is not going to win you back. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song. It’s more of a lumbering giant of slow grooves (Thanks to bassist John Campbell)  and monster vocals than LOG’s Pantera by way of Megadeth/Testament thrash that some fans crave they do over and over. If you want that sound, skip to track two and “Desolation” will definitely warm you up. If possible, this one may have taken every good riff available for the new year and stuck ’em in a neat little four minute package. Vocalist Randy Blythe is on fire and the rest of the band is just ridiculously precise, especially drummer Chris Adler who pounds away relentlessly here (and throughout Resolution).

While there are the token LOG metal masterpieces here (“Ghost Walking”, the “Ruin”-esque “The Undertow”), I have to say my favorite bits on Resolution are the ones where Lamb of God go above and beyond and just sound different than themselves. I found myself restarting “Insurrection” over and over trying to figure out who the hell was singing the clean opening line only to be shocked realizing it was Blythe. It sounds like nothing the band has done and is a prime example of why evolution for this band is a great fucking thing. “The Number Six” is another one that just leaps out with time changes abound and a chorus that is really anthemic and catchy.

Midway through there’s the instrumental “Barbarosa” with some down home strummin’ amidst a wall of feedback thanks to Willie Adler and Mark Morton. Finally, there’s “King Me” which is the be all and end all of album closers. At over six minutes long and featuring a string section and choir, it’s friggin’ epic.

Resolution comes out on January 24th. Pre-order yours here and here. Oh, and D. Randall Blythe for President in 2012!

Grade: A+

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