Groove-metal innovators Lamb of God were seasoned veterans by the time they released their fifth studio album, 2006’s Sacrament. At the time, the full-length represented a commercial high-water mark for the Virginia band: It peaked in the top 10 of the Billboard Top 200 and led to opening slots touring with Megadeth and Slayer, as well as a main-stage spot on Ozzfest 2007. Part of Sacrament’s success had to do with familiarity. Lamb of God reunited with Machine, who had co-produced 2004’s Ashes of the Wake, and unleashed song after song propelled by gnarly metal riffs and pile-driving rhythms, highlighted by the overdriven “Foot to the Throat” and the uncompromising, GRAMMYⓇ-nominated “Redneck.” Yet Sacrament was also a case of right place, right time. The album emerged as the modern metalcore wave was cresting, and the jackhammering beats and jawing vocals heard on certain songs—namely, the pulverizing “Blacken the Cursed Sun” and “Walk With Me in Hell”—fit right in with the burgeoning genre. Lamb of God’s constant touring had also made the members more confident players—which translated to more power and precision in the vicious twin-guitar attack from Mark Morton and Willie Adler, Randy Blythe’s gravel-pocked voice, and the locked-in rhythms carved out by bassist John Campbell and drummer Chris Adler. Sacrament isn’t just a record that sounds greater than the sum of its parts—it’s an album that could only have been made by these five ferocious players.

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