Beware: Cute and fluffy does not come into it!

If you like your metal loud, proud and essentially American, Lamb of God are the band for you. Formed in Virginia, you would half expect them to lack that indefinable, ingredient which makes a metal band good, but perhaps it is there somewhere amongst the carnage of ‘Ashes of the Wake’- a huge portion of metal burning away on raw emotion. Kick-starting their latest attack on the music industry with ‘Laid to Rest’, a growling potion of stunningly good quality, they let those who are listening know what the rest of the album has in store. Like a large banner of war, Lamb of God set their standard up for all to see with their lead-in track.

If you’re a fan of Kittie's ‘Oracle’, you may well find much to like in this album, particularly in the song ‘Now You’ve got Something to Die For'. With ‘Omerta’, Lamb of God try their hand at beginning a song with a sample rather than brandishing guitar riffs like a job in a 24/7 store. It works well, but the rest of the track reveals more heavy drumming, more heavy guitars and, surprisingly, more heavy vocals. This continues on for another few tracks in much the same manner until ‘What I’ve Become’ descends like a nightmare made real. Fiercely fast, it’s a brutal assault upon anyone who listens. That doesn’t mean to say it’s bad though, for the speed this band play at is highly impressive.

It’s with ‘Remorse is for the Dead’ that Lamb of God offer their most devious attack of the evening. With a smooth intro, they move closer with a sweet smile upon their lips before plunging their anger into you like a bread knife. Against the slow intro, their trademark raging guitars appear to hold even more power.

Although it probably isn’t the best CD to get into the metal genre with (look towards Europe for the real modern day masters of ferocious black hearted epics), it is a sure sign that America can give as good as they get, but sadly, Lamb of God falter slightly at the finishing line. It seems that the vital ingredient may well be missing. Although they cover it up with their masterful use of guitars, the ability to mutate into something more dangerous lacks. With the exception of a few songs, this is an album composed in much the same way. You can guarantee that Lamb of God will be around in years to come to terrorize another generation with their violent onslaughts of metal.