Spin #38 : Lamb Of God : Ashes Of The Wake
Musicians on Album: David Randall Blythe (vocals), Mark Morton (lead guitar), Willie Adler (rhythm guitar), John Campbell (bass) and Chris Adler (drums)
Lamb Of God : Ashes Of The Wake Year Released : 2004 Produced by Gene Freeman Label: Epic Price Range: $50AUD+ Speed: 33 1/3RPM Album Before : As the Palaces Burn (2003) Album After : Sacrament (2006) Further Listening : Omens - Lamb of God (2022) LP : 1 x black LP Mood for enjoying: Listen when you want to let off some steam and get pumped up. You may even be creating your own circle pit with family members in your loungeroom and need the perfect music for that. Track Listing:
Side A -
Laid to Rest - 3:50
Hourglass - 4:00
Now You've Got Something to Die For - 3:39
The Faded Line - 4:37
Omerta - 4:45
Blood of the Scribe - 4:23
Side B -
One Gun - 3:59
Break You - 3:35
What I've Become - 3:28
Ashes of the Wake - 5:45
Remorse is for the Dead - 5:41
What's in the Sleeve ? 1 x black LP, lyrics printed on the record jacket
"Smother another failure, lay this to rest. Console yourself, you're better alone. Destroy yourself, see who gives a fuck" ~ Laid to Rest - Side A
Welcome to Spin #38 - Lamb Of God - Ashes Of The Wake
Wow, what a week that was. I don't know about you but I'm glad that this week I picked something heavy to unwind to on this fine Spin Sunday. Here at R'nR with Rylo I have chosen 'Ashes of the Wake' by Lamb of God for our 38th Spin. I remember seeing LoG back in 2010 when they opened for Metallica on the Death Magnetic tour. I first heard the snarls and growls of Randy Blythe and immediately had to look up their albums. This album that I now hold in my hand is so easy to digest and find myself spinning it quite a bit.
I feel that this Spin deserves to be played on our loungeroom set-up or using the Sennheiser headphones due to the ferociousness of the music. Our Sherwood Turntable (PM-9805) and Sherwood Receiver (RX-4508), complete with 4 x Sherwood Bookshelf speakers spaced evenly across our loungeroom sound so good but headphones win because I don't want to wake up our children. Plus Lamb Of God deserve to be played LOUD. Now it's time to sit back and relax and come along the journey on our #38 Spin!
Back - Willie Adler, John Campbell, Chris Adler
Front - Randy Blythe and Mark Morton
Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):
I first heard this album back in 2010 after seeing them perform live in concert with Metallica. I like the album artwork as it makes you look at it a couple of times before you absorb what is going on. This was my introduction to Lamb of God and I was hooked pretty instantaneously by the growl of Blythe and technical drumming of Adler. Standout tracks on this album for me would have to be 'Laid to Rest', 'Now You've Got Something to Die For', 'Ashes of the Wake', 'Remorse is For the Dead' and 'The Faded Line'. 'Ashes of the Wake' is such a stellar album that doesn't really have any filler songs
The black LP is now placed onto the turntable and I've eagerly pressed the rotation button because I know this album pretty well by now. I end up choosing this one when going on my drive from work, especially if it has been a stressful one. Our son and daughter have heard parts of this one but I think it's a bit scary/heavy for their age group just now. I'm certain that this album will be a favourite of theirs in the future. I didn't know this bit of trivia until recently but Lamb of God actually started out by being called Burn the Priest and only changed their name because they wanted to avoid being labelled as a satanic worshipping metal band.
I've now dropped the stylus on the grooves of Side A and the I can hear the warmth of the record slowly coming through each ear of the headphones. 'Ashes of the Wake' is probably not the best choice for Night Kat Kiz and I am saving her from feeling anxious by keeping this one loud through my headphones. Other bands to check out if you like this album and decide to add it to your collection would be - Machine Head, Killswitch Engage and Testament. Probably one of my go-to songs starts this record, 'Laid to Rest' and is very hard to top. I remember saying to my sister when she graduated with her PHD that she needed to walk out on stage to this song - because after 5 years, she was happy to say it was done.
Sometimes, as I listen along to the record I will have the drum sticks out and tap along to the song (until I can have a house that allows a drum kit at least). It really makes me happy and switch off a bit as I tap along to the technically awesome drumming of Adler. I like the lyrics of, "I'll make all your dreams come to life, then slay them as quickly as they came. Smother another failure, lay this to rest. Console yourself, you're better alone. Destroy yourself, see who gives a fuck. Absorb yourself, you're better alone. Destroy yourself, see who gives a fuck". That bass of Campbell is heavy as hell and now we roll into the punchy and hard hitting second song, 'Hourglass'.
I like the amount of cohesion that this song has amongst all the musicians and the moments where the pace changes. Blythe growling his trademark style, "What will be left behind in the ashes of the wake? An ill wind blows this way, the edge of the envelope burns. Forbearance and my vengeance, payment for your intent. Fear and death in the wings, in thrall of those fallen from grace. Petty is as petty does, witness the mass disgrace". Then you have Blythe repeating those lyrics partially with spoken word, making it sound as if there is two different vocalists. The song trails out with some distortion and the thought that "its only getting worse".
Side A just keeps producing the goods with song number three, 'Now You've Got Something to Die For'. These songs are either very politically motivated or to do with someone dealing with drug use mostly. 'Now You've Got Something to Die For' is one of those songs that you'd find it dificult not to headbang along with. Around the 1:47 mark there is a drastic change in the song that I find myself tapping along with every time. The sound coming through isn't audiophile grade or anything but it is still very impressive through these headphones. I challenge you to listen to this song and not move any part of your body. Let me know how you go below in the comments.
I remember hearing this next song, 'The Faded Line' and thinking that the drummer must be an octopus. Adler is on fire during this song and he must have ankles of steel to be able to keep up with this one. Lamb of God have put a lot of emotion and feeling into this album and will be a band that I would love to see play again. They did play before Slipknot at the 2016 show in Sydney and brought their high energy as they always do. That was the first time my sister had seen them perform live and she commented on just how high Blythe jumps during the show. He is like a gazelle jumping around the stage and would easily be 3-4 metres in the air off the box whilst the pyrotechnics go off. Morton and Adler (guitars) have a lot of fun riffing on this album and it shows on this song especially.
'Omerta' starts off with spoken word, "Whoever appeals to the law against his fellow man is either a fool or a coward. Whoever cannot take care of themselves without that law is both. For a wounded man shall say to his assailant, If I live, I will kill you. If I die, you are forgiven. Such is the rule of honour". I would say that this song is a slower song overall and could be regarded as filler, however it still slaps. Halfway through this track, all the guitar work comes through one side of the headphones before bringing in the kick drums and bass nice and slow. Blythe then sings, "A slip of the tongue, a slit of the throat. Six feet under with no marker, keep my name from your mouth forever". I remember those lyrics so well but always forget which song they belong with until I spin the record again.
Last track on Side A is the frantically paced, 'Blood of the Scribe'. It is a very heavy listen and reminds me a lot of a song by Thy Art is Murder (Australian band worth checking out if you love your death metal). This track has some catchy guitar work and it really shines coming through the headphones. I like how this one ends with the vocals singing, "No end in sight". Side A comes to an end and its time to lift the stylus and flip the LP over for Side B
If there is a song on the album that I don't really remember how it starts, it would be the lead off track of Side B, called 'One Gun'. That isn't because it is a bad song, it just is one that stumps me every time. It has some real heaviness throughout and the Tool-esque ending coming through the headphones is a nice touch. Just when you think there will be a break, you get punched in the face with the instant sound of 'Break You'.
'Break You' has even more growling and high pitched vocals than the songs that have preceded it. He must need a throat lozengier after these records and live shows because I tried singing along to Lamb of God and almost ripped my throat out. I like the tandem between vocals, guitars and drums and taking turns on the ending of this one.
Side B plods along with more venom each and every song and the sounds of 'What I've Become' are now coming through the headphones. I'd say that this track has some some very well thought out lyrics, "The race to save face, nothin' now is what we meant it to be. Pretending I'm still here. It's a system now, intertwined. Take your place in the line to be ground by the hearse of the masterpiece, Betrayal!". Love the chug in this track and it will make you wish they were playing locally on the weekend to be able to see them.
Second last song on the album is the title track, 'Ashes of the Wake'. Coming in at almost 6 minutes, it is one of the longer tracks on the album. Another politically charged song pointed at those who keep sending their countries to war and losing lives. The spoken word in this one is taken from a real statement from someone in the US military and this song is Lamb of God's way of saying, that isn't right. Adler is controlling the shit out of this song and explodes throughout that would make Mike Portnoy and Dany Carey proud. A of of build up on this song that makes you sit a listen and take in what was just said. To be honest, this song doesn't really need anything else as it is catchy as hell. There are parts in this track that have Slayer or Megadeth all over them and it is worth checking out some of their albums if you aren't familiar with their catalogue.
The seamless transition into the last song on the album, 'Remorse is for the Dead' really makes this feel like an extended song with the track before. I like the sombre sounds on this one and Adler almost put the kick drum through my left ear as I forgot how crisp and clear this one was. Probably my favourite lyrics from the whole album would be when Blythe starts singing, "Pile it, higher and higher. Light the match, start the fire. Level this place until nothing is left and take us with it". I think the use of high hat and control show is really impressive towards the 4:20 mark. 'Remorse is for the Dead' starts to wrap up the impressive third album with the distorted and creepy vocals of Blythe.
Thanks for coming along for the musical journey with us and hope that you enjoyed our 38th Spin, 'Ashes of the Wake' by Lamb of God. I've added some other albums from this mighty groove metal band and highly recommend you go out and purchase the new one, 'Omerta'. I've only listened to it by streaming so far but love what I'm hearing from the band. If you still enjoy coming along for the weekly spin, then make sure you check out our clues for next weeks choice as it is regarded as an absolute classic. Take a deep breath in and out and hug your loved ones.
Until our next Spin, be Kind to Metal heads and be Kind to your Wax!
Blythe jumping to pump the crowd up