Top critical review
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Three and a half
on 9 March 2010
New American Gospel is Lamb of God's first full length studio album. The album is undeniably important to the Lamb of God story, with the band still playing material from it to this day. For the new fan however, this album may come as a bit of a shock.
If you have ever heard Soul of A New Machine, In This Present Darkness or Call of the Mastodon you will know what to expect, a raw and noisy release of material that in some ways resembles the sound the band would become famous for and in some ways most certainly does not.
The production is very raw with a clicky and unpleasant bass drum sound, thin tinny guitars and Randy's vocals aren't layered in the way they would be on all of their later albums.
Randy's vocals indeed are not only produced differently, but are different in of themselves. The low barking growl that fans expect from Randy is absent and this album has full on death growls or high pitched screams instead, not necessarily a bad thing but there is little resemblance to the style he uses so well nowadays.
Listeners will be interested to hear the various influences that no longer feature in the band's style, the stray Grindcore riffs or Black Metal moments that fit so well here but would be out of place on Sacrament or Wrath.
Differences in style aside there is a lot of high quality metal music on the album, `Pariah,' `Terror and Hubris in the House of Frank Pollard,' and perennial show closer `Black Label,' all stand the test of time and will impress listeners.
New American Gospel belongs in every Lamb of God collection, both for its historical value and for its own musical value.
This edition comes with Bonus track `Nippon,' some (even rawer) demo versions of album tracks and a very interesting set of linear notes describing how they slept in vans outside the studio, wrote the lyrics minutes before singing them and the pressure they band were under to get everything done in time.