Lamb of God have been … well, Lamb of God for decades now. Their aggression, their lyricism, the harmony of their riffs — it’s all part of their signature sauce, in a sense. While their excellent 2020 self-titled album offered a sense of hope amid the world’s tribulations, their newest one, Omens, is a display of something else — a band that has absolutely zero qualms with pleasantly breaking you down to nihilistic pieces.
Throughout their career, Lamb of God have riddled their songs with pertinent subject matter, and if anything, the last few years have given them even more fodder to tackle. Opener “Nevermore” is a pissed-off anthem, in which vocalist Randy Blythe’s audacious poeticism makes itself the counterpoint yet again. The ode to Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” becomes a warning in the eyes of the Lamb: “This is a reckoning/ You hear the ravens scream,” Blythe elegiacally delivers, prophesying the crumbling of our world before out eyes.
Maybe Omens isn’t so much a prophecy as it is a statement of the obvious. The pandemic-written record is a testament to the time of its production, calling out how political follies have created conflicts not just externally for the collective, but internally for individuals. “Gomorrah” gut punches about half way through as a slower tempo abnegation bleakly likening the downfall of us all to the biblical downfall of Sodom and Gomorrah, while the following track, “Ill Designs,” is driven by drummer Art Cruz, whose presence is felt even greater on his second LP with the band. Even though he was a part of the 2020 release, this track is a highlight for him specifically, as his metalcore background plays perfectly to the hawkishness of the song, as well as the entire album itself.
In general, Omens balances thrashy grooves with slightly melodic moments, but it’s the closing pair of tracks that end up being some of the hardest hitters. “Denial Mechanism” is short but sweet, recalling classic hardcore energy in less than three, frenziedly full minutes. LoG are no strangers to a pit-starting, stomp-heavy ditty, and this one is no different.
Meanwhile, album closer “September Song” is a true highlight that powerfully wraps up Omens. Its sedated intro leads to straight up grooves and a robust outburst from Blythe, crescendoing with a delightfully forceful duel between guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler. It’s not only one of the best tracks on the record, but it’s considerably one of the best sequenced and written songs of LoG’s discography.
While Lamb of God fell into the pit of pandemic creation like many other bands, they’ve done something just a little bit different. Sure, they’ve got a knack for entirely too realistic takes on micro and macro issues. But this time, the package they’re delivered in is incredibly tight, flashy and evidently abhorrent in its messaging — we’re all doomed, but at least Lamb of God make it sound good.
Essential Tracks: “Nevermore,” “Gomorrah,” “September Song”
Stream Lamb of God’s Omens in the Apple Music or Spotify player below, and pick up tickets to the band’s upcoming shows here.