Veteran metal outfit Lamb of God released its latest album, Omens Friday through Epic Records. The 10-song record is the band’s ninth studio recording and the band’s sixth album through Epic Records. It is among the most musically powerful of the band’s catalog, musically speaking, from beginning to end. This part of the record’s body will be discussed shortly. The record’s lyrical content is mostly accessible, and in turn makes for its own interest, too. It will be examined a little later. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered they make the album yet another welcome addition to what is already a crowded field of new hard rock and metal albums this year.
Omens, Lamb of God’s brand-new album, is a powerful new offering from the veteran metal outfit. The record, which clocks in at just 40 minutes, proves itself so powerful in part through its musical arrangements. The record’s musical arrangements stand out because overall, they are a culmination of everything that the band has composed over the course of its nearly 30-year life. The groove metal which has made the band such a well-known and respected act is just as present as ever throughout the album. Audiences get a healthy dose of that sound and style right from the record’s outset in ‘Nevermore.’ Front man Randy Blythe’s low, half-groaning spoken word approach in the verses once again compliments the heavy guitars to make the song so engaging while the screams and equally screaming guitars add even more to the choruses. The band switches things up somewhat later in the album’s run in its title track. In place of the high-energy groove metal that makes up so much of the album, this song actually offers audiences a little more thrash approach. The band blends that with its groove metal leanings to make the song really stand on its own merits. ‘Gomorrah,’ which immediately follows, adds even more to the interest as it changes things even more. This song bears a sound and style that actually is slightly similar to that of works from Hatebreed while also having a pure metal approach. It really stands as one of the record’s most interesting musical presentations. As the album progresses, it goes even further in a thrash direction in its penultimate entry, ‘Denial Mechanism.’ The screams and wails from the guitar line in the bridge lend themselves to comparison to works from the likes of Testament while the overall approach throughout is just as comparable to works from that band, as well as to works from the likes of Hatebreed and so many others. ‘September Song,’ which closes the album, changes things up even more with its brooding, bass-driven opening bars. From there, the band launches into its more familiar heavy, lurching groove metal sound while still ensuring the song maintains its own identity separate from the works that make up so much of the band’s catalog. Even with that in mind, it sounds, overall, like it would fit perfectly in the band’s 2003 album, As The Palaces Burn. Between this song and all of the others here, what audiences get, musically, is a little something familiar and something less familiar. The whole is a musical presentation that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.
The musical content featured in Omens is just part of what makes it an appealing presentation. The lyrical content that accompanies that musical content makes for its own appeal. From beginning to end, the album’s lyrical offers audiences more familiar, accessible sociopolitical commentaries and ruminations on personal struggles. These are themes that the band has approached in different ways over the course of its life, but they hit just as hard here as ever. ‘Denial Mechanism’ is one of those songs that delivers some of that commentary. Blythe addresses the ongoing decline of civilization (so to speak) as he screams, “A pathetic birth of the end of times/Slowly creeping to the final deadline/No fairytale on a movie screen/Just slow collapse beneath our gluttony/Take warning/as the bloated masses gather/Take warning/As their childish screams of anger/Suck this broken system dry/Until there’s nothing left/Take warning.” He is warning people to take notice of all of the negative things happening and to see what is coming if things do not change. He continues in the song’s second verse, “An idiotic Doomsday/Mass annihilation/At the hand of our possessions/Plastic in your bloodstream/Plastic in your brain/The human race is f*****/Behind our thirst for everything.” Here in that last line is what seems like a commentary about mankind’s materialism and its role in everything that is happening negatively in the world. He concludes by telling the generation that will inherit the Earth, “I’ll be dead and gone/Long before the blade drops/It’s up to you my children/To decide if this all stops.” In other words, Blythe is reminding audiences that the fate of the planet is up to the current generation, because he will be long gone before the possible negative end happens. This is, again, a familiar-type message from the band and is certain to resonate with plenty of audiences.
‘Ditch,’ which comes much earlier in the album’s run, takes on people’s roles in their own lives in a very powerful fashion. The song opens with Blythe screaming, “I don’t’ give a God **** about your demands/Jus spit your trash and take a bow/I’ve heard it all before/The deviants and miscreants/break their vows/You can all keep crawling/I’m digging out/You’re face down/Down in a ditch that you dug yourself.” This is Blythe telling the world that people are responsible for themselves and their own actions and their results. Especially now in this world, it is a message that needs to be presented time and again. Blythe continues, “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.” This further illustrates that message. As if that is not enough, he further adds in the song’s next verse, “You demand a life you haven’t earned/Entitled, soft, and soon to learn/There’s no shoulders here for crying/You command an ego gone unchecked/Unbridled needs for cheap respect/But your dreams were built for dying.” He is talking about (or seeming to be talking about) the current generation and in general, people who have the mentality that they deserve the most for the least. The current generation certainly seems to have that mindset of thinking it deserves a life unearned. There are others out there who have that same mindset, so it makes the song all the harder hitting. To that end, this song is more proof of the importance of the album’s lyrical content. It is just one more of the songs that serves that end, too. ‘To The Grave,’ which immediately precedes ‘Ditch’ is yet another key example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.
‘To The Grave’ comes across as a song that seems to focus on the all too familiar topic of mental health. This is inferred as Blythe screams right from the song’s outset, “I’ve walked the halls of madness/I’ve heard the jailer’s laugh/I’ve yet to sing the funeral dirge/The only option left/Risen from an inferno of hopelessness and shame/Walked the tightrope out of it/Then shouldered all the blame.” The mention of “the jailer” is a metaphor. It is a representation of a controlling force. It is that force that keeps a person locked within one’s self. It is a good personification of this power. He continues, “Make no mistake/I know it’s always there/The scent of doom riding neglect/It’s hanging in the air.” Again, this further describes that feeling that so many people deal with in fighting depression. The theme becomes even clearer as Blythe adds, “The only thing to fear remains unseen/Never disappears/Stand guard eternally/The only thing I fear lives on inside of me/Whispers in my ear/To the grave eternally.” That is about as clear as one can get in delivering such a message. It is something that will resonate just as much with audiences as the other themes addressed so far. So simply put, his song comes across as being from the vantage point of someone battling that mental health battle. It is an increasingly common theme in rock and metal, and is certain to connect with audiences just as much as the other themes addressed here and throughout the album. When all of the record’s lyrical themes are considered together, the whole makes the album’s overall lyrical presentation just as engaging as the album’s musical presentation.
As much as Omens content does to make the album worth hearing, it is just one part of what makes the album worth hearing. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements. That is because it ensures that the record’s instrumentations and vocals are expertly balanced throughout its run. From one song to the next, the immense wall of sound generated through the instrumentation ensures each musician gets his own moment to shine while also not overpowering the vocals at the same time. The result is that the combination of the instrumentation and vocals creates a wholly positive general effect. That positive general effect brings everything full circle and completes the album’s presentation. Keeping that in mind, the whole of Omens becomes one more positive addition to this year’s already crowded field of new hard rock and metal albums.
Omens, the latest album from Lamb of God, is a strong new offering from the veteran metal outfit. The record’s appeal comes in part through its musical content. The record’s arrangements give audiences a welcome blend of something familiar and something different. It brings elements of the band’s existing catalog with influences from other established metal acts for a whole whose musical presentation is fully engaging and entertaining. The record’s lyrical themes are just as engaging, as they touch on topics that will connect with just as many audiences as the album’s musical arrangements. The album’s production puts the final touch to its presentation, ensuring an overall positive general effect. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of Omens. All things considered they make Omens a work that will appeal equally to Lamb of God’s fans and to metal fans in general.
Omens is available through Epic Records. More information on Omens is available online now at: