In August of 2004, Lamb of God released their third studio album, Ashes of the Wake. It was greeted with much commercial success, the album debuted at number 27 on the Billboard 200, selling 35,000 copies in its first-week and was rated by Guitar World as the 49th greatest Guitar Album of all Time. Ten years after its release, as of 2014, sales have topped 400,000 copies sold and is Lamb of God’s best-selling record. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in February 2016.
The title track, Ashes of the Wake, features a voice over from former US Marine Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey who was disillusioned by the war. With a driving guitar riff the song gives a dark background to his words of: “…this is a new type of war, this is an eradication. I honestly feel we're committing genocide over here, I don't believe in killing civilians, and I'm not going to kill civilians for the United States Marine Corp." Along with a few other lines from Jimmy, these are the only words spoken throughout the song, making them even more powerful.
The song Omerta begins with the Mafia’s code of silence, “Whoever appeals to the law against his fellow man is either a fool or a coward. Whoever cannot take care of himself without this law is both. For a wounded man shall say to his assailant, ‘if I live, I will kill you, if I die, you are forgiven.’ Such is the rule of honor.” This possibly is a reference to how the US handled the war in Iraq. We were out with blood in our eyes. It was less about saving a country from assholes and more about avenging fallen family which made us act irrationally. The song also turns out to be full of biblical references, speaking of the story of Judas, and how he betrayed Jesus “for 30 pieces of silver. The main meaning of the song is to never betray anyone, never attempt to kill anyone, and never snitch on anyone, because if it gets back to the source or they survive, they’re going to come back and hit you twice as hard.Laid to Rest follows a different tune, being about a murder victim haunting his killer from the grave, it starts with him wishing for more time “If there was a day I could live, I would trade all the others away.” Then he moves onto taunting his killer, saying “Console yourself, you’re better alone. Destroy yourself, see who gives a fuck.” And finally he begins to fuck with the killers head, committing fully to destroying him mentally, saying “I'll chain you to the truth, for the truth shall set you free. I'll turn the screws of vengeance and bury you with honesty. I'll make all your dreams come to life, then slay them as quickly as they came. Smother another failure, lay this to rest.”
There’s definite reasons why Laid to Rest is such a prominent song in the metal community. The most obvious is the music itself, there’s a reason Ashes of the Wake was rated the 49th best guitar albums of all time, the lyrics as well, as a metalhead, who doesn’t love a good ole fashion song about murder? Live, it is absolutely fantastic, the whole crowd goes insane and the energy onstage is only magnified in the pit. Lastly though, and possibly the most important reason, is it’s an incredibly well written song - both musically and lyrically. It’s simple but it gets across its message in a way that sets it apart from the rest.
Ashes of the Wake was their first commercial success as a band, with its lead single Laid to Rest becoming a staple of 00’s heavy metal and its message of anti-Iraq war, it quickly cemented itself as one of the best metal albums of the decade.
Lamb of God is currently out on tour, with upcoming tour dates in the US. Some of those dates happen to be big festivals happening all around the country. Festivals include Fort Rock, Welcome To Rockville, Carolina Rebellion, The River's Rockfest, Northern Invasion, Rock N' Derby and Rock On The Range. For all of the tour dates, Lamb Of God has coming up, please head on over to their website. Of course go to the respective festival websites for information involving those.
Written by Coby Andrews newest writer for Immortal Music
All reviews have the date they were written, the album title, and the band's name, with the exception of Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace and Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamin. Those dates were guessed at, as they were written well before the website began.