Even though I’ve missed the window to strike when the iron was hot by about a month, it’s about time I reviewed Omens, the newest album from the groove metal giants Lamb of God. This one was a relatively unexpected release, seeing as the band usually releases their albums in 4 or 5 year cycles and having just released their self-titled album in 2020. However, due to the outbreak and resulting lockdowns of COVID-19, the band had to cancel the tour that was meant to accompany the album. With nothing left to do, the band decided to keep themselves busy with another album, which became the project we have before us today. Surprisingly enough, the band was able to find a way to get all the members of the band together and record in one place rather than recording their tracks separately and piecing them together in the editing booth, and it’s my personal belief that the album benefits from it.
The first track on the album, “Nevermore,” was also the first single released to tease the album. While it isn’t the most mind-blowingly complicated track, it’s the perfect encapsulation of Lamb of God: loud, angry, and in your face. The track opens with a riff that is reminiscent of an alarm, almost warning listeners to buckle up for the ride ahead, and it only lets up just long enough for Randy Blythe to set the scene before it’s back to the classic sound, with Blythe’s vocals providing a gritty accompaniment to an already fantastic track. The solo was a bit lacking in this track, but there’s plenty of examples to show off Mark Morton’s guitar work. All in all, this is a solid opening track with plenty to go around.
The next track that I believe is a standout of the album is “Ditch,” the fourth track in the lineup. This is another great example of the band’s sound, pairing a groovy riff with forceful vocal delivery to create a track that could start a mosh pit in a library. Art Cruz’s drumming in the intro of the song have an aggressive attack to it that you can’t help but nod along to, and the sudden drops into lines from Blythe and some guitar squeals from Morton work together perfectly to make a song that will be in the lineup of concerts for years to come.
The third and final track in this album highlight is “Denial Mechanism,” the second-to-last track on the album. This track has more of a thrash sound, hailing back to the roots of the band as a proto thrash/death metal outfit. It’s a blazing fast track with no breaks to breathe, and it goes as quickly as it comes with an overall length of two and a half minutes. Blythe pushes his guttural screams to the limit on this track, delivering what I believe is one of the best performances on the album. Morton gets more of a chance to show off his chops, even if it’s not as shred-heavy as some other Lamb of God songs have been in the past. All the elements of the instrumentation fit together like puzzle pieces and become another terrific track that I could see in concert lineups for a while.
While this album was slightly unexpected, that doesn’t make it any less loved. There isn’t a single song on this album worth skipping, each track has enough of the classic sound to be a hit with longtime fans but enough variation to keep them guessing. Lamb of God was able to deliver two high-quality albums in quick succession, which is a feat that many bands are lucky to achieve more than once. But due to the circumstances of this album’s release, is it likely that we’ll see another release from the band anytime soon? That’s too close to tell right now, but one thing is for sure: no matter how long it takes them to make the next album, it’ll be just as heavy as Omens.