Hard Reviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Lamb Of God - New American Gospel
(Metal Blade)

Kick the hard-ass end of Pantera into a Relapse blender, grind thoroughly and then slurp back over a hearty human lunch with Cannibal and you get close to the whirlwind of front-edge extremity that is Virginia's Lamb Of God. The fact that Today Is The Day's Steve Austin is on board as frantic producer possessor might have something to do with the frenetic, chaotic genre-splicing that is going on here, but then again, hey, this sounds too well-mapped, planned and theorized to succumb to one outsider's will, even when that man is spoon-bender Austin. The interesting thing here though, is that every character trait dogpiling this record is uniquely American, from California death to Florida death, L.A. jazzcore to New England noisecore, from NYC hardcore to Soilent Nola sludge, and back round to Texas. And all through the chops afire conflagration is an insistent, pounding metal, topped with lyrics more poetically than usual about bad things. And note, despite the curious band and album moniker, this ain't halo metal, more like post-Satan terror on earth and terror in the head lashings about the face, neck and shoulder area, again back round to Today Is The Day and the newer more insane Relapsecore mensa punks. Smart touch with the booklet: tan non-gloss with multiple brown and metallic inks.
Rating 8

Six Feet Under Graveyard Classics
(Metal Blade)

Why should we care about this anymore than a Dwell pay-to-play tribute album? Well, we shouldn't. First, just because Six Feet Under have risen to the top of the death heap by mixing catchy mid-speed originals with covers of the same ilk, doesn't validate a whole record of something that should have been mere bonus tracks. And the reason these should be bonus tracks is that there is no thought, imagination, reach put into these versions. They are dead expected, Barnes' true middle median average centrist death vocal over dull productions, simple arrangements, one tone throughout, no layers, no surprises. Thick-headed all the way. And even though these are dug Six Feet Under, there is no reason for tired tunes like Sweet Leaf, Stepping Stone, Smoke On The Water and Purple Haze to be exhumed, even within this no longer novel formula. One poke above the tired slog: John Bush guesting on Blackout, different but equally pointless to the process. Add another half dozen surprises and this could have been an event. As it is though, Six Feet Under are simply playing to something of which all of us in the press have been guilty, snickering to and applauding the band's past covers. The joke's getting old.
Rating 4