The 100 greatest albums of the 21st century: 5-2
Our poll of the 100 best albums of the 21st century continues. The top five begins here, but who will bag the coveted number one spot?
5) LAMB OF GOD - ASHES OF THE WAKE (2004)
Lamb Of God’s major label debut signalled the dawn of a new era in American metal – and the confirmation of the heirs to Pantera’s throne
'If there was a single day I could live. A single breath I could take. I’d trade all the others away.’
When Lamb Of God signed to Epic for their third studio album (and no, we’re not counting Burn The Priest’s one-off as a Lamb of God album in this context), many wondered if the Virginians’ savage riffs, ground-shaking grooves and status as the People’s Metal Band would be diluted by the allure of major label cash and that ever-risky Holy Grail of a mainstream-denting hit single. No such bad luck: Ashes Of The Wake landed with all the grace and subtlety of Godzilla on a three-day stag do. Producer Machine gave an extra layer of weight and grit to Messrs Morton and Adler’s battering riffs and Randy Blythe’s snarling, razor-throated vocals, while standout ‘singles’ like Now You’ve Got Something To Die For hung around hooks so visceral they were less likely to be featured on Top Of The Pops than used to drive viking gods out of the very skies themselves. It would launch the band onto an international stage and accelerate their ascent into metal’s upper ranks – though Randy believes it was all part of the grand plan.
“In our career, everything feels like a very slow, very organic climb,” he argues today. “We don’t really see any one moment where things ‘changed’, but Ashes Of The Wake was our first album on a major label and our first with Machine producing, and it was a snapshot of where we were at.”