Lamb of God is a band that has seen their fair share of struggles, perhaps best exemplified by lead vocalist Blythe’s brushes with the law in the Czech Republic. Despite this, they’ve remained at the forefront of the new wave of American heavy metal, releasing album after album with nary a drop in quality. It’s been 17 years since they graced us with Burn the Priest, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.
As such, Lamb of God is back and ready to rock with The Duke EP, released merely one year after 2015’s Sturm Und Drang. They’ve taken a sentimental turn this time, dedicating the album to their late friend Wayne Ford, who passed away from Leukemia. The EP only features two new songs “The Duke” and “Culling”. The remaining three tracks are live recordings of songs from Sturm Und Drang.
The two new tracks are quintessentially LoG, with technical instrumentals, shredding riffs, Blythe’s signature abrasive scream, and an undeniable thrash influence. Lamb of God is sticking to what they know, but this is by no means a bad thing.
“The Duke” is clearly in memoriam to their late friend, featuring passionate lyrics such as “My body begins to fail as my spirit grows stronger/ It’s time for me to go” and “Cast aside an empty shell/ But I will never die”. It is an amative track, serving to immortalize a friend who clearly made an impression on the band. Musically, the track’s most stand-out feature is Blythe’s clear vocals; uncharacteristic for LoG, but it works exceptionally well in the vein of this song.
The second track, “Culling” is especially more reminiscent of Lamb of God’s earlier work, sounding more like it should be on 2006’s Sacrament than on a 2016 release. It is faster and more aggressive than “The Duke”, but suitably so. “Culling” is raw, gritty and very fun, providing an interesting juxtaposition to “The Duke”.
The Duke EP acts as a teaser; it’s not the 8-10 track album we’re used to seeing LoG put out every few years, but it offers new sounds. It’s something to satiate any cravings fans may have until the band’s next full-length release. And perhaps, more importantly, it’s for a good cause. Lamb of God is running an online charity campaign, available at www.propeller.la/lambofgod, with all proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Rocking out for a good cause; it doesn’t get much better than that.
Caught Up In The Gears Of Application Track Listing:
01. The Duke
03. Still Echoes – live from Rock am Ring
04. 512 – live from Bonnaroo
05. Engage the Fear Machine – live from Bonnaroo
Run Time: 49:16
Release Date: November 18, 2016
Check out the track “The Duke”