Album Review – Lamb of God / Omens (2022)

Ignore the omens and listen to the pulverizing new album by one of the best and most dynamic metal bands of the past two decades.

Two years after the release of their excellent self-titled album, Richmond, Virginia’s own Groove Metal institution Lamb of God is back in action with another magnificent release entitled Omens, the ninth studio album (eleventh if including those under the name Burn the Priest) in their undisputed career. “If anybody paying attention to the state of the world over the last few years isn’t angry, I have nothing to say to them,” commented the band’s frontman D. Randall “Randy” Blythe about the generally pissed-off tone of their new album. Recorded and produced by Josh Wilbur, mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, and featuring a stylish artwork by K3n Adams, Omens offers us all 40 minutes of sheer aggressiveness and groove by the aforementioned Randy Blythe and his henchmen Mark Morton and Willie Adler on the guitars, John Campbell on bass, and Art Cruz on drums, cementing their name as one of the most important forces of the current metal scene worldwide.

Sheer groove flows from the very first second in Nevermore, a solid tune where Mark and Willie’s axes are flawlessly supported by the rumbling bass by John, and the band keeps hammering their weapons in great fashion in Vanishing, sounding visceral and exciting as good Groove Metal should be with of course Randy kicking us in the head with his visceral roars, not to mention the awesome job done by Art on drums. Then let’s bang our heads nonstop to the groovy and heavy-as-hell To the Grave, showcasing another dynamic kitchen brought into being by John and Art while the guitars exhale fire and animosity; followed by the high-octane Ditch, bringing forward an extremely fun chorus to sing along with Randy (“You’re face down, down in a ditch that you dug yourself / You can live and die by the hand you’re dealt / Unwound consequence and you can never tell / Live or die by the hand you’re dealt”) while his bandmates deliver a flawless, infuriated Groove Metal extravaganza for admirers of the genre. And the title-track Omens is another superb moment of the album, a lecture in contemporary metal music by Lamb of God where Mark and Willie extract endless aggressiveness from their guitars while Art shows no mercy for his drums.

Slowing things down a bit while investing in pure heaviness, it’s time for us all to break our necks headbanging to the sound of Gomorrah, with Randy barking and screaming manically nonstop, and there’s no time to breathe thanks to the massive beats by Art in Ill Designs, another violent hybrid of Groove, Thrash and Death Metal where the riffage by the band’s guitar duo is tailored for slamming into the pit. Putting the pedal to the metal, Randy & Co. deliver a humongous dose of heaviness and rage in the form of Grayscale, where John makes sure the earth trembles to the sound of his thunderous bass, whereas in Denial Mechanism we’re treated to another round of the band’s trademark acid lyrics (“A pathetic birth of the end times / Slowly creeping to the final deadline / No fairytale on a movie screen / Just slow collapse beneath our gluttony”) amidst a hurricane of metallic sounds perfect for their incendiary live concerts. Lastly, the band offers us all the introspective September Song, which morphs from a very serene sonority into the band’s usual madness while its background keys add a touch of epicness to the overall result, putting a climatic ending to the album.

Fortunately for all of us with serious budget restrictions the band made Omens available in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course if you have some extra money to spend on music you can click HERE and grab your favorite version of such intense album of modern-day heavy music. Also, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news and tour dates (and believe me, if you’ve never seen Lamb of God live you don’t know what you’re missing), to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and to stream all of their wicked creations on Spotify. “We’re being marketed and sold falling skies, doom and gloom and all this end-of-days material. That stuff makes wonderful fodder for metal music,” said Randy, and we must all agree that although our world might be reaching its inevitable and sinister fate soon, at least Lamb of God will keep absorbing all that darkness and turning it into first-class music for our total delight until the very end of all days. Well, as the band itself says in their new album, fuck it all, ignore the omens.

Best moments of the album: Vanishing, Ditch, Omens and Denial Mechanism.

Worst moments of the album: Gomorrah.

Released in 2022 Epic Records/Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Nevermore 4:35
2. Vanishing 4:48
3. To the Grave 3:43
4. Ditch 3:37
5. Omens 3:47
6. Gomorrah 4:12
7. Ill Designs 3:41
8. Grayscale 3:59
9. Denial Mechanism 2:37
10. September Song 6:00

Japanese Edition bonus track
11. Evidence 3:50

Band members
D. Randall “Randy” Blythe – vocals
Mark Morton – guitar
Willie Adler – guitar
John Campbell – bass
Art Cruz – drums

Guest musicians
Ernie C, Juan Garcia, Wes Eisold, Toby Morse & Sara Taylor – gang vocals on “Omens”

Album Review – Body Count / Bloodlust (2017)

Controversy, acidity and hatred are just some of the main ingredients in one of the heaviest and most complete albums in the career of the bloodthirsty Ice-T, Ernie C and Co.

We as human beings all got a deranged sickness deeply rooted inside our minds, a will to kill for sport and for revenge, an inner desire to make the ones who disagree with us or who hurt us suffer in pain, and that’s exactly what the iconic Ice-T and his henchmen, collectively known as American Thrash/Groove Metal band Body Count, have to offer us in their new installment, the excellent Bloodlust. Since their inception in 1990 in Los Angeles, the band has been delivering a high quality hybrid of Groove Metal and Hip Hop, but in Bloodlust they managed to increase the heaviness of their compositions significantly, resulting in what can be considered their most metal album of all time.

Not only Bloodlust is the sixth studio album in their solid career, but the controversy, acidity and hatred flowing from each one of the album’s 11 tracks puts it almost side by side with their cult self-titled debut album, from 1992. That only shows how passionate Ice-T and the other are about heavy music, always playing it with a lot of energy, trying to send a clear message to their fans and showing the bitter truth of the lives of the less fortunate people in the United States and all over the world. Besides, when you have guest musicians the likes of Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) and Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Sepultura), you know the music will hit you in the face like an uncontrolled bulldozer.

Loud sirens and the more-than-special guest Mr. Dave Mustaine himself declare martial law, before Body Count begin delivering sheer heaviness, chaos and groove in the opening track, the awesome Civil War, with Ice-T having a fantastic performance with his hostile rap-like vocals, resulting in one of their darkest compositions to date; and keep banging your head to the always boisterous riffs by Ernie C and Juan of the Dead while Ill Will smashes his drums mercilessly in this Groove Metal anthem The Ski Mask Way. Needless to say, the song’s lyrics are as aggressive as hell (“I’m in your rear view, when you leave the club / How cold could I be, you look like food to me / All on instagram, showin’ that cash off / What you really hope, is I don’t take this mask off don’t make me punish you don’t want to hurt your wife / Come up off that watch, it ain’t worth your life / I gotta crew of wolves, life has no meaning / We roll late night and hunt human beings”). Slowing the pace down a bit and increasing the groove considerably, This Is Why We Ride is a song where Ice-T is nicely supported by the excellent job done by Vincent Price on bass and Ill Will on drums, not to mention that the sounds of the shots and the sirens of the cops together with the insane heaviness blasted by the band will crack your neck mercilessly.

If you’re already feeling that pain in your neck after such intense headbanging music, All Love Is Lost will terminate it for good. Featuring the unparalleled growls by guest Max Cavalera, the vocals in this song burst with acidity while the instrumental pieces are a work of anger. Moreover, Ernie C and Juan sound like two serial killers slitting throats with their bestial riffs. Then the band offers us a fantastic version of two all-time classics by Slayer, Raining In Blood / Postmortem 2017, with Ice-T kicking ass on “Raining Blood” while Vincent Price takes care of the vocal duties on “Postmortem”. Furthermore, the intro to the song is already a lot of fun, with Ice-T explaining the origins of Body Count saying he wanted to have a Heavy Metal and Hip-Hop band by blending the music by Black Sabbath, Suicidal Tendencies and, of course, Slayer. God, Please Believe Me works as a poetic bridge by Ice-T and his crew to the fulminating Walk With Me…, one of my favorite songs of the album where guest singer Randy Blythe vociferates like a beast, while Ill Will sounds insane on drums and Ice-T is just as rabid as Randy. This is a flawless hybrid of Thrash, Groove and Rap Metal, showcasing even hints of Death Metal, perfect for stage diving, mosh pitting and sick headbanging due to its beyond brutal rhythm.

Here I Go Again, a re-recording of a demo track from Ice T’s Return of the Real sessions, brings a somber ambience with Ice-T delivering some darker-than-usual vocals, with its instrumental being pretty solid which results in an effective support to the craziness flowing from the song’s lyrics and the demented screams in the background. Then we have the controversial No Lives Matter, another high-end explosion of Groove Metal by Body Count which blends their heavy music with an austere discussion about the issues surrounding the “Black Lives Matter” initiative. Put differently, it’s an extremely politicized tune with insane bass lines by Vincent and a great performance by Sean E Sean with his samplers, paving the track for the title-track Bloodlust, a song about our attraction for death and brutality, about the inner desire of mankind for killing, portraying it as a sickness inside our hearts and minds. While Ernie C and Juan fire fierce and melodious riffs, Ill Will continues his technical and groovy attack on drums, showing how amazing this song will sound when played live.

And if you think Ice-T and his henchmen would give you a break from all their sonic havoc, they come crushing one last time with the best song of the album as their closing act, the flammable Black Hoodie, an amalgamation of their past, present and future where poetry and violence are powerfully united (“Got on a black hoodie, its hood up on my head / I didn’t have a gun so why am I dead / You didn’t have to shoot me and that’s a known fact / And now I’m laying face down with bullets in my back”), with all instruments exhaling metallic and belligerent sounds while Ice-T keeps rapping nonstop.

It deosn’t matter if you are a metalhead that’s not very fond of rap or a rapper that doesn’t get too excited to the sound of a heavy riff, when you have an album like Bloodlust (which by the way you can find in different bundles at the Control Industry webstore) on your hands it’s almost mandatory that you start banging your head to Body Count, acknowledging they are indeed the biggest exponent in the history of Rap Metal and one of the most fun acts from the 90’s that’s still alive and kicking without sounding Jurassic. And I’m pretty sure the counting of bodies done by Ice-T, Ernie C and Co. is far from being over.

Best moments of the album: Civil War, Walk With Me…, Bloodlust and Black Hoodie.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Century Media

Track listing   
1. Civil War (feat. Dave Mustaine) 4:23
2. The Ski Mask Way 3:36
3. This Is Why We Ride 5:26
4. All Love Is Lost (feat. Max Cavalera) 3:36
5. Raining In Blood / Postmortem 2017 (Slayer cover) 4:31
6. God, Please Believe Me 1:23
7. Walk With Me… (feat. Randy Blythe) 3:07
8. Here I Go Again 3:32
9. No Lives Matter 4:23
10. Bloodlust 3:34
11. Black Hoodie 3:29

Band members
Ice-T – vocals
Ernie C – lead guitar, backing vocals
Juan of the Dead – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Vincent Price – bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Postmortem”
Ill Will – drums
Sean E Sean – sampler, backing vocals
Little Ice – backing vocals

Guest musicians
Dave Mustaine – spoken word and lead guitar on “Civil War”
Max Cavalera – additional vocals on “All Love Is Lost”
Randy Blythe – additional vocals on “Walk With Me…”