“This was the first band I ever saw live and the heavy metal bug they laid crawled so far up my ass, it spread through my entire being” - yours truly.
My first ever concert was the 2006 Slayer headlined “Unholy Alliance Tour” with opening support from Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, Mastodon, and Thine Eyes Bleed. There are 3 things I’ll always remember about that concert. Seeing a metric ton of fake blood pour onto Kerry King during Raining Blood, The guy who sat beside me showing me his bloody hand full of teeth that were knocked out in the pit, and my first intro to live metal - Lamb of God.
Getting to the show late (my parents drove me, I was 14) and being a devout Slayer fan, I had missed Children of Bodom and Mastadon but got in just in time for Lamb of God. Figured I’d settle in before breaking my neck headbanging to Slayer. As I sat down slightly intoxicated by the aromatic concoction of sweat, blood, and weed, my ears were suddenly blasted with Mark Morton's guitar slide on the intro to Laid to Rest. The adrenaline from the rush of the music and cortisol from the unfamiliar joy I was experiencing made the next 45 minutes a total blur. The next thing I knew their set was over, Slayer came on, I looked like a total moron learning to headbang with the old heads, had the time of my life, and went home.
Still not knowing who the hell Lamb of God was, I went to school the next day. And as fine as serendipity works, my buddy wore an Ashes of the Wake tee shirt. Recognising the name, we chatted about the band and he lent me the CD of the same namesake. I took that bad boy home and - coming from an Italian background and as a fan of the Godfather - I gave a thumbs up to my poster of Don Vito Corleone and hit play on track 5 “Omerta”
From Randy Blythe in Virginia to the busted CD player in my small-town Ontario bedroom, these words STAINED MY BRAIN. As a pizza-faced sweaty teen, mad at everything and nothing all at the same time, this intro phrase followed by the death march guitar, stomping drums, and my misplaced angst made my head explode. The immediate and almost impulsive headbanging, which I’m sure nearly caused a broken nose on my desk, started a now 20-year auditory relationship with metal kingpins, Lamb of God. But I still had no idea who they were, so I asked myself -
“WHO THE FUCK ARE THESE GUYS?”
Lamb of God is a five-piece metal band with a discog spanning nearly 3 decades. Originally formed in 1999 as Burn the Priest, Randy Blythe (vocals), Mark Morton (guitar), Willie Adler (guitar), John Campbell (bass), and Art Cruz (drums) recorded their first self-titled album Burn the Priest.
Shortly after, to halt the grouping of them into “as just a generic satanic metal band” they changed their name into what we all know now as Lamb of God. This would kickstart a (currently) 23-year onslaught of heavy killer metal.
Now considered one of the most significant members of the new wave of the American heavy metal movement, their musical style shows intense guttural vocals, and complex groovy riffs that are instantly recognizable. They’ve been lumped into subgenres from trash to metalcore to death metal but I always consider them straight-up metal
Going through their decades of music in their discography, you can see how they progress from 1999’s Burn the Priest to 2022’s Omens. Though two records typically stand out as their landmark records - 2004’s Ashes of the Wake and 2006’s Sacrament. These two records are a must-listen if you want to hear them make a statement and make their mark on metal as a genre.
Through their tenure in the industry, they’ve toured the globe and headlined shows alongside major players in Ozzfest, Mayhem Fest, Soundwave, and Gigantour, to name a few and supported Slayer on their final tour. Currently, back to their original band lineup, they’ll keep pumping out the tunes and making killer records. As I mentioned before these are true heavy Metal Kingpins!
I know who they are - you know who they are - Now what should I listen to?
Take your own discovery journey but if the opinion of a 31-year-old man is worth a nickel and dime to you, here are my top 3 albums
#3. Burn the Priest - 1999
Technically their best? No. Does it have their classic sound? No. Does it appear on anyone's “best LoG albums list? No. Does it knock me out every time I hear it? Hell yea! There's something about an eclectic intro album in a band that's still finding their sound that I love. The album starts with a full-on assault on your ear drums with a monstrous intro on Bloodletting - a total hardcore punk instrumental sound with a vocal style that sounds like a doom black metal band on meth. Having listened to their later work and coming to this early album late in the game, it’s cool to hear Randy Blythe's vocals sound much more high-pitched and energetic. The whole album goes from punk to doom to metalcore to trash and back again, flipped upside down and inverted 90 degrees.
It’s not for everyone but for me, this one doesn’t disappoint and it’s fun to check out a band's early beginnings. If you’ve got more of a hardcore punk ear as opposed to a groovier metal ear - this album is a must-listen. Randy Blythe’s noted as saying he’s more into hardcore punk rather than metal so there may have been more of a direct punk influence in this one.
Must Listen to Tracks - 1. Bloodletting 2. Duane 3. Chronic Auditory Hallucination
#2. Resolution - 2012
This one does it for me. Ohhh yea it does it for me! Although a slight departure from some of their more classic work with some acoustic bits on the intro to Ghost Walking and King Me and a straight dedicated interlude track, Barbarosa - Resolution delivers the grandiose arena-blasting sound we all know and love.
Kicking the record off with my favourite track on the album, Straight for the Sun, you’ll hear a Randy special gut-wrenching bellow accompanied by heavy slow droning guitar and slow punch drums. Hearing this for the first time, you might think they went down more of the doom trail but rest assured the following single Desolation and onward gives you the Lamb of God you want and the Lamb of God you need! The entire album promises some groovy riffs and a huge sound and will not disappoint.
Though not technically the best track on the record, I have an affinity for “Cheated”. It starts off with a very punk intro that reminds me of their debut Burn the Priest album. Bit of an eclectic track but if you want to hear something a little different on the album, definitely check that track out.
Must listen to tracks - 1. Straight For the Sun 2. Cheated 3. Desolation
#1. Ashes of the Wake - 2004
You knew it was coming. And if you didn’t I’m glad you’re here to found out! We’ve got Lamb of God’s magnum opus - Ashes of the Wake. Paired with my sentimental value as my intro to the band, It’s heavy, it’s clean, polished, and incredibly well-written.
It starts off with what is likely their most easily recognizable song - Laid to Rest. The riff is instantly a total groove and the first scream of “The Bloods on the Wall” lets you know you’re in for an insane 47 minutes and 42 seconds.
Through the melodic grooves and breakdowns, you can instantly tell that this record has a message to say about staunch political issues. As shown in the Lyrics in Now You’ve Got Something to Die for and the monologue in the title track “Ashes of the Wake”, Randy’s message is bold and powerful.
It’s hard to pick this album apart and notice the differences in each song because the whole thing flows together so well it almost blends into one song. I’d liken it to Shakespeare's Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet but even those, you’ll only remember Hamlet’s soliloquy and the stereotypical “Romeo Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo”. SO I guess what I’m trying to say is that Ashes of the Wake is better than Shakespeare. Congrats LoG!
Must listen to tracks: 1. Laid To Rest 2. Omerta 3. Now You’ve got Something to Die for
This album’s not only special to me personally but it’s special to Clocks + Colours. This record inspired one of our absolute favourite collaborations -
LAMB OF GOD X CLOCKS + COLOURS
Everyone’s got their time in their careers when they feel like they’ve made it. This was one of those time for us! Originally released in 2019 to mark the 15th anniversary of (my top alum) Ashes of the Wake - we released 2 new pieces designed in collaboration with Lamb of God.
The collection features two solid sterling silver rings. The Laid to Rest x Lamb of God and the Ashes of the Wake x Lamb of God.
Ashes of the Wake x Lamb of God
This heavy ring styled as a wide-faced signet ring immediately displays imagery from the original Ashes of the Wake upon initial look. On its face, a stylized version of the album cover’s phoenix is hand-carved with an outlined volcanic burned-in design. Featured in the centre of the phoenix is Lamb of God's iconic monogram logo. Paired with two deathly skulls on either side, this ring will show your dedication to the album and the band.
Laid to Rest x Lamb of God
Our second piece in the collaboration shows the same wide-faced signet style as the aforementioned Ashes of the Wake x Lamb of God ring. However, this piece has a much more refined and clean look for those of you who like a little bit of shine. The face of the ring showcases an intricately designed 4-horned goat skull with horns extended past the border of the ring. The intricacy follows to the sides of the ring where lies a single rose below two profiled human skulls topped with Lamb of Gods wing logo. With a slightly hammered outline, the design of this ring encapsulates the visceral theme of the track.
The original release of this collection was set for a limited time and sold out quickly and we thought the collection would be Laid to Rest, but Clocks + Colours hears and Clocks + Colours listens! So for a newly limited run, these pieces can be found at clocksandcolours.com