2000, Music

New American Gospel (2000) by Lamb of God

I thought I had read this was a big deal when it came out and then I came to Rate Your Music and saw it had a pretty mediocre rating. Maybe I shouldn’t have bothered?

There is plenty to like here, particularly the heaviness of the riffs and vocals. Though this band isn’t as mathy as some of the comments led me to believe, the riffs are good enough to keep my interest, too. And I think the material is mostly compelling enough. Somebody said the record is too long and I don’t really get that – that’s not the problem.

The most apparent issue – which some people feel is actually a positive – is the drums are mixed hilariously high up. I am not sure I’ve heard another metal album with guitars this loud which manages to have the drums this high in the mix. And they are recorded very precisely (i.e. well), which I can’t quite decide about. Yes, it’s good to hear every part of the drum kit, as opposed to just a mess of sound. But, because they are mixed so damn high, you hear every part of the kit usually over and above the vocals guitar and bass. (When you can hear the bass – like so many metal albums the bass has been neglected here at the expense of other instruments.) At times, the drums are just overwhelming and you can really feel them. And I like the decision. At other times, when I’m listening to a couple parts of the kit very clearly over and above other instruments, I kind of think they’re nuts. Like should I hear the cymbals this clearly over the guitar? I really don’t know. I suspect more bass would have helped. (But I always feel that way about extreme metal.)

But, aside from the really curious – and potentially unique – mix, this does most of what I expect from turn of the millennium metal – it’s complicated enough (though not quite as much as I would have liked), it’s pummeling, and the album is only 40 minutes long. (The latter is important because there is not a lot of variety.)

Now, can someone explain to me about why this is record is classified as metalcore? Like, on what planet?

7/10

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