Ashes of the Wake

Any metal purist wary of Virginia's Lamb of God making the move to a major label can relax—"Ashes of the Wake" is one of the purest heavy metal albums of the year.

Any metal purist wary of Virginia's Lamb of God making the move to a major label can relax—"Ashes of the Wake" is one of the purest heavy metal albums of the year. Randy Blythe's powerful, growling voice is anything but melodic. The band, led by guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, play pit-worthy riffs in the vein of Pantera and Slayer that hit on a visceral level. LoG's stints on last fall's Headbangers Ball tour and this summer's Ozzfest have proved that it can ably back up its power live. Many of the lyrics have a decidedly political lean, with Blythe bellowing about "bombs to set the people free" and "oil for the machine," while the instrumental title track features a spoken-word segment by a Marine. The latter song also features guest solos from former guitarists of Megadeth and Testament, essentially serving as a passing of the metal torch.—BT