Lamb Of God are one of those bands that when you hear them, you know it’s them. There is such a distinctive sound to them that it is quite recognizable. Throughout their career they’ve found what works for them and doesn’t. Their 2020 self titled album saw a member change and the resulting album while good was a very safe introduction to Art Cruz becoming a full time member. Now, in 2022, Lamb Of God has thrown that safeguard away and taken steps to make an album that is urgent and representative of where the band is headed. Now, I’m not saying Lamb reinvented the wheel, this is still Lamb doing Lamb but, this time, it’s different and it feels fresh and evolving.
Omens was recorded live as a band (you know the way records used to be made) and that vibe is felt through all 10 songs and 41 minutes of this pure, unapologetic and vicious album. This album definitely feels like it’s the record that they wanted to make but also had to make. The varying styles and influences heard on Omens stretches further than they have gone before. It’s more impactful and immediate than previous albums. There is a sense that everyone in the band has a say in these songs and that energy radiates through the entire album.
There are plenty of songs on Omens worth mentioning so, I will pick a few of my favorites to entice you a bit. Kicking off the album is “Nevermore” a song that is the epitome of what a Lamb Of God song is. It has everything a fan of this band loves and then some. “Vanishing” is one of those songs that shows a bit of the bands evolution sonically as the tones on this track are ripping. Not to mention that Randy’s vocals on this are damn near punishing. Track number 4 “Ditch” is my favorite on the album (as of this writing). This song is a banger through and through. It’s got this huge anthemic feel to the way the vocals are, then you add in the music which grooves but also decimates as it goes. I have a feeling that if/when this song is added to the bands set list in the future, the pits will erupt. “Gommorah” is epic and heavy. Personally, I’d have loved to hear this one go on a little longer as it shows more of the band evolving and getting more intricate in how they craft a song. This is another that needs to be added to the set list. “Grayscale” is a straight up barn burner. It’s got a total punk rock vibe to it while still being a classic Lamb song. Ending the album is “September Song” a track that is possibly one of the best the band has ever written. It’s song that is the perfect culmination of what Omens is all about. I love the dynamic shifts on this song.
Omens is Lamb Of God spreading their wings a bit more and in a very welcome way. There are always going to be the songs on the album that hark back to the “classic” sound but, now there is a better feel to the band. Art Cruz is finally able to show why he was picked to replace Chris Adler. His energy is found constantly on these songs and it’s very welcomed. Randy Blythe has not just grown as a vocalist, his screams sound great and his lyrics have reached new heights of being introspective whether personal or taking on topical subject matter. John Campbell continues to be a thunderous secret weapon of the band. His tone and style really ties it all together. Mark Morton and Willie Adler continue to be one of the best guitar duos in rock/metal. Mark seems to be even more motivated than ever to push himself to add different flairs to the songs making them memorable and crushing. All in all, Omens is a record new and old Lamb Of God fans will enjoy. The future is bright for Lamb as they continue to be torch bearers for the metal community.
Last year Quicksand released one of the best albums of 2021 with Distant Populations. If you haven’t heard that album, go do that! And now today, Quicksand has released a new single (by way of a sort of B-Side from Distant Populations) called “Giving The Past Away.” The origin of this song is quite interesting too. “The working title for this song was ‘Greatest Quicksand Song Ever’ so you can imagine it was a very tough call leaving this song off ‘Distant Populations’,” the band comments. “The only reason we could agree on to leave it off was that we wanted to have some really strong material in reserve for later in the year. Ultimately the title came from the most prominent line in the song which is an embrace of the present which is very in line with our thinking with ‘Distant Populations’. We’re super proud of this one and are very psyched to share it with the world.” It’s crazy to think that a song this good didn’t make the record but, that only leaves the door open for more awesomeness from one of the best bands in rock! Quicksand will be heading out on a North American tour with Helmet and Clutch starting September 13 in Toronto and ending October 23rd in New York. And don’t forget to listen to Distant Populations!!!
Quicksand have been one of the most underrated bands out there for so many years. Their 90’s output of the albums Slip and Manic Compression have become staples for bands and their inspiration/influences. The sound and style that Quicksand created has been often copied as well. A couple years back, Quicksand released their first new album in many years with Interiors. That album was an interesting look into where the band was at that point after being away for some time. Now though, Quicksand is roaring back with their new album, Distant Populations. This might very well be the best Quicksand has ever sounded too.
The moment the album starts you are totally pulled in. There isn’t a song on this album that feels out of place. The flow of the songs on the album is perfect. The moment the album ends, you immediately want to start it over. That’s how good this is. There isn’t a song on here that you will skip. Songs like “Inversion,” “Colossus,” “Phase 90,” “Missle Command,” and “The Philosopher” have been my favorite tracks so far. This album packs some of the best songs Quicksand have ever written. Sonically, dynamically, lyrically, Distant Populations is a beast of an album. This album is 11 songs of unrelenting pounding rock music. The production by Will Yip (Nothing, Circa Survive) is top notch. He really nailed the classic tones and gives it enough of an added oomph to really bring these new songs to life. The mix by Josh Wilbur absolutely bangs! This album too, I have to say, is the follow up to Manic Compression we’ve been waiting for.
Like a fine wine or scotch, Quicksand only gets better with age. The songs from their past are gems and the songs they have released now are just as good. There is also a maturity to this album that shines bright. The songs on this, like the others are deeply introspective and current. The lyrics on the album as explained by frontman Walter Schreifels said, “Everyone is, on the one hand, so connected with each other, and on the other hand, is so far apart. We’re checking out each other’s social media and we know what everybody’s doing. But when we’re sitting in the same room together, we’re looking at our phones.” The societal impact of how we live our lives topped off with the pandemic sure made for some great material. Quicksand have made an impact over the years but, with Distant Populations, they have truly cemented their place!
From their inception till the current present, Trivium has been one of the hardest working bands in music. Their relentless work ethic has seen them become an absolute force in the heavy music world. Today, Trivium have announced that they will release their tenth album, titled In The Court Of The Dragon, on October 8 via longtime label Roadrunner Records (Pre-Orders available HERE). The record was produced and mixed by Josh Wilbur and recorded in the Fall of 2020 at Full Sail University in Orlando. The band already released their new track “In The Court Of The Dragon” a couple weeks back and now they have released another single, “Feast Of Fire.” The accompanying video was shot at the bands HQ in Florida which they recently converted an airplane hanger to be their base of operations. The past couple Trivium albums, The Sin And The Sentence and What The Dead Men Say have been quite exceptional and show real mature growth not just as players but as songwriters and this album seems to continue along that path. Trivium is part of the Metal Tour Of The Year featuring Megadeth, Lamb Of God and Hatebreed (who replaced In Flames on the tour). I would bet money that Trivium will be stealing or close to stealing the show each night.
Next up on Audioeclectica.com’s 2020 End Of The Year Lists, the Top 10 Producers/Mixers. The stipulation is that, an album/EP had to have been released this year.
Vote for your favorite in the comments section. At the end of the month, I will release the results of the readers poll.
This list is also in NO PARTICULAR ORDER!!!
01) Nick Rowe/Steve Evetts- Greg Puciato: Child Soldier; Creator Of God 02) Billy Corgan- The Smashing Pumpkins: Cyr 03) Mark Nash/Ken Andrews- In Parallel: Fashioner 04) Terry Date- Deftones: Ohms 05) Will Yip- Nothing: The Great Dismal 06) EL-P- Run The Jewels: RTJ IV 07) Josh Wilbur- Killer Be Killed: Reluctant Hero, Trivium: What The Dead Men Say 08) Loathe- Loathe: I Let It In and It Took Everything 09) Shooter Jennings- Marilyn Manson: We Are Chaos 10) Brian McTernan- Be Well: The Weight and The Cost