Is there another band in metal history who've been more consistently great than Lamb of God? The Richmond, VA, stalwarts have been churning out ferocious groove-metal on a regular basis for over twenty years now, and there's never been a single moment when hardcore fans were forced to vehemently defend an objectively mediocre album.
Since changing their name from the incendiary Burn the Priest at the turn of the millennium, the group led by frontman Randy Blythe have risen from underground sensations to world-renowned stadium staples, all while keeping a lineup almost entirely intact across eight imposing full-lengths — not to mention Blythe's frightening court case in the Czech Republic that could've derailed their career.
From their fire-bombing 2000 debut to their 2022 masterclass, Lamb of God have nine studio LP's under their belts that could each go head-to-head with practically any other metal record of their respective eras. We decided to accept the challenge of ranking them from worst to best.
It's hard to find something to complain about on Wrath, but coming off of Sacrament and Ashes of the Wake, the band's impeccable run had to slow down at some point. Released in 2009, Lamb of God's fifth record really only suffers from uniformity — without any "Redneck"-sized earworms or death metal grit, the flow of the album levels out and the dynamic range suffers. It's by no means a bad record, but of the band's eight LP's, Wrath offers the fewest number of exceptional moments.
On 2012's Resolution, the band once again worked with Wrath producer Josh Wilbur (who's helmed every LoG album since) and filled in most of the potholes that its predecessor was stricken with. Songs like "The Undertow" and "Ghost Walking" are instantly memorable, and the latter begins with a tasty acoustic guitar lick that blasts cannon-like into one of the best riffs in their catalog. However, the record drags with a near-hour-long runtime, and the spotty clean vocals on a song like "Insurrection" strip back the bulldozing power that makes the band so interesting. Still, the highs are soaring.
Lamb of God's songs have always been littered with scorching social commentary and dark subject matter, but shit got personal on VII: Sturm und Drang. Their 2015 opus was the first LoG album since Blythe was imprisoned in the Czech Republic while he was fighting manslaughter charges stemming from a fan who died at one of their shows, and the record wades through the harrowing, life-altering experiences Blythe endured in that process. It may not be the best LoG record to crank during a workout, but Blythe's lyrics have never been more incisive.
Lamb of God's 2020 release marked the first major lineup change within the band in 20 years. Their beastly drummer Chris Adler had left the group in 2019, and his absence behind the kit posed a formidable threat to destabilize the band's signature sound. Fortunately, the group prevailed, and their self-titled is triumphant return to the pummeling grooves and weaponized riffs of their mid-aughts material. New drummer Art Cruz (formerly of Winds of Plague) can definitely hang, but it's the athletic shredding on "Checkmate" and "New Colossal Hate" that shine through the most.
Lamb of God's 2020 self-titled was definitely a recalibration, and it's a very solid record in all regards, but Omens is better. Maybe it was Cruz having another couple years to get acquainted with his bandmates, but songs like "Ditch," To the Grave" and "Omens" just feel more natural and in the pocket than anything LoG have written in a long time. Whereas Lamb of God felt like the band proving to listeners that they hadn't changed despite Adler's absence, Omens is slightly looser and more unbound. Gnarled opener "Nevermore" is like stepping outside your door into a car-wreck, and closer "September Song" is refreshingly progressive but not in an intrusive, showy way.
New American Gospel is when they became Lamb of God — literally. The band's 2000 powerhouse was their first album since dropping the Burn the Priest moniker, and it's the one that welcomed lead guitarist Willie Adler into the fold. Fusing the rhythmic shove of Pantera and Meshuggah with the dangerous energy of grindcore, the record is a violent car crash between groove-metal and death metal that's simply excoriating. It gets a little samey by its second half, but none of the bands who've attained LoG's level of popularity have a record as heavy as this in their back catalog.
New American Gospel got the metal world's ears to perk up, and As the Palaces Burn made sure they stayed there. Everything improved on the band's 2003 record — the lead guitarwork became more intricate, the grooves got tighter and Blythe chiseled his garbled growls into snarling barks that cut through the mix like flaming spears. Sadly, the only thing that hinders this otherwise stellar herd of metal mammoths is that Devin Townsend's production sounds depressingly tinny and harsh by modern standards, depriving the songs of the walloping force that they deserve.
They say good things come in threes, but Lamb of God wanted a victory lap. With bona fide epics like "Walk With Me in Hell" and "Redneck," 2006's Sacrament doubled down on the most colossal elements of its predecessor and holds a mortal lock in the upper echelons of the band's discography. After the mainstream explosion of Ashes of the Wake, LoG could've opted for glossy radio shoe-ins, but instead they sent fans a motherfuckin' invitation into their world of rowdy metal mayhem. Try to name another band with a second-best album as good as this.
More than just Lamb of God's finest work, Ashes of the Wake is quite possibly the greatest metal album of the 2000s. Musically, the group struck the perfect balance between death metal bite and stadium-ready grandiosity, as earth-shattering anthems like "Omerta," "Hourglass" and "Laid to Rest" execute so swiftly. Lyrically, it hits even harder. "Now You've Got Something to Die For" is a scathing indictment of bloodthirsty imperial war machines, and the mostly instrumental title-track puts an even finer point on the subject by including audio of a U.S. marine recounting the atrocities he was forced to carry out in Iraq. There's a reason it's their best-selling album.