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EP REVIEW: The Duke – Lamb of God

LAMB OF GOD are one of the biggest names in metal right now. Just over a year has passed since the band unleashed VII: Sturm und Drang and already the band are back; this time with an EP. Titled The Duke, this appetiser from the Virginian metallers is dedicated to the life of Wayne Ford, a fan’s struggle and loss to cancer. With a heavy and emotional subject matter surrounding the aim and intent of the EP, will LAMB OF GOD be able to deliver a perfect tribute to their fall friend?

The Duke is comprised of five tracks; two original tracks and three songs from VII: Sturm und Drang performed live. Opening the EP is the title track, the lead single from the record. By now, fans have had a while to digest the track and it serves as a hugely poignant tribute. LAMB OF GOD explored new pastures on their last full-length record in the form of Randy Blythe‘s chilling clean vocal output and The Duke continues this with full force. An intricate and typical riff fans have come to expect carries the weight of the track whilst Randy Blythe delivers his all through a harrowing vocal performance. That, and a whirlwind guitar solo from Mark Morton demonstrates the band still have aggression bubbling underneath the surface, The Duke is an emotional roller-coaster and a fitting tribute to the band’s fallen fan.

Culling is a LAMB OF GOD song through and through. Opening with Chris Adler‘s signature drumming patterns, the track is a white-knuckle listening experience. The dual guitar play from Mark Morton and and Willie Adler is fluid and tight, keeping the momentum at top gear throughout. Randy Blythe‘s iconic harsh vocals make a welcome return here, pummelling the listener through is range of growls and shrieks. It’s nothing new or ground-breaking but Culling sets itself as yet another solid track in the band’s impressive back catalogue.

From there, the EP shifts its focus towards the live tracks. The three tracks chosen for the EP all come from the band’s latest record, VII: Sturm Und Drang and it showcases LAMB OF GOD‘s maintaining their excellent reputation in the live environment. From the swinging riffs of Still Echoes, the intensity of Engage The Fear machineĀ andĀ the enormous chorus of 512, here The Duke serves to showcase the band performing at the top of their game. Obviously, with the tracks on show being live tracks, the quality is raw and distorted, which when compared to the studio versions, lack the same impact. It’s a shame as a whole EP packed full of new material would fatten the overall quality but these live tracks serve their purpose well; to showcase why LAMB OF GOD are one of meta’s biggest names right now.

Fans eager to hear new LAMB OF GOD material will snap up The Duke instantly. The two new tracks, The Duke and Culling, are fitting examples of just how far this band have developed over their career. Whilst the live tracks will largely become forgettable when compared to their discography, The Duke serves as a fitting tribute to the band’s fallen fan; showcasing the band Wayne Ford loved performing at the top of their game; in both the studio and on the stage. And that, is a wonderful example to pay respect.

Rating: 8/10

The Duke - Lamb of God

The Duke is set for release on November 18th via Nuclear Blast Records.

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