Lamb of God Ashes of the Wake

Hyperbolising and hype-obeying myth-making aside, Lamb of God’s third album is easily, simply and supremely the most solid metal album of the year. Continuing impressively along their market plan for world domination set forth on Burn the Priest, the first LOG effort and the incredible As the Palaces Burn opus, Ashes of the Wake finds the band nailing down their groove-laden metallic hardcore to a violently beautiful degree. Songs like "Laid to Rest,” "Hourglass” and "The Faded Line” make the first half of the album nothing less than the best Pantera EP never created. And unlike Anselmo’s gang, LOG have brains to back up the brawn, as their political and personally-charged lyrics provide further devastation over the very nicely moulded songs. And that’s the catch: these are songs, anthems, four-minute gems to remember, abide by and keep in your head as you slog through the day. The title track is an instrumental featuring guest solos from ex-Megadeth guitar hero Chris Poland and ex-Testament axe wizard Alex Skolnick; the production on the whole thing is incredible, the best I’ve heard in ages, full and natural, packing an enormous punch. What more can you ask for? Nothing really, as Ashes of the Wake proves to be a fully rewarding listen time and time again. As sales numbers continue to soar, thanks to the backing of Lamb’s new label, Epic, it’s becoming clear that the new metal phenomenon is here, and no one deserves it more than these five amiable Southern gentlemen. (Epic)