In some ways, given that Lamb Of God’s stock has risen so impressively high since the release of 2006’s Sacrament that they are one of few modern metal bands able to fill arenas, their sixth offering Resolution doesn’t stand to lose much at all. Any naysayers crying “sell out” were flattened in the brutal wake of 2009’s Wrath, which came so pleasingly after the band’s commercial breakthrough. That album, once again, posted huge sales to the point where you could say this was a band that now has a safe, protected career; albums will be bought, big gigs attended, money made etc. As such, it’s perhaps not so stunning that Resolution is a particularly unsurprising offering.
There’s very little room for misinterpretation here; this is very much a solid, heavy and mostly unremarkable Lamb of God record. Sure, the introductory sludge of Straight For The Sun is a welcome surprise, yet it’s followed by the immediately recognisable groove of Desolation, which on another day could just as easily be Redneck in disguise. The follow up, Ghost Walking has been described by frontman Randy Blythe as a song fans would find familiar, which is indicative of the majority of Resolution; recognisable, comforting and pleasingly heavy. Combining the groove and accessibility of Sacrament and Wrath’s speed and venom makes for a listen tempered by the occassional sidestep but still instantly familiar.
That’s ultimately where Resolution fails as a progression for Lamb of God in that it doesn’t go anywhere particularly engaging. There are a few too many songs on it sound like outtakes from predecessors, which detracts from the power of those moments that stand out a little more like the lurching thrash of Invictus or King Me, easily the band’s biggest curveball to date thanks to a combination of grand choral work, strings and malevolent stomp.
Still, in the context of Lamb of God’s career, this represents another loud, defiant statement. If there was to be one band to profit so vastly from metal’s re-emmergence as a commercial force, then you could find many more undeserving candidates. Perhaps the lazy Pantera comparison people seem desperate to make can come in handy here, with Lamb of God’s global popularity so high and with Resolution acting very much like a modern Reinventing The Steel; solid, dabbling in experimentation but ultimately a capable statement of a band’s power that won’t stun anyone. There’s still pleasure to take from those trademark buzzsaw guitars and Blythe’s gutteral growl, just not as much as you might be used to.