Sunday, March 10, 2013

Album Review - RED LAMB

Red Lamb – Red Lamb
TuneCore, February 2012

Red Lamb is the brainchild of former Anthrax guitarist Dan Spitz, and this debut album is an interesting affair that differs markedly from his previous works. All of the music was composed by Dan, and Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine was enlisted as co-producer and co-author of the lyrics. The riffs here are certainly thrash-inspired, but the songs consist largely of tight, crunchy guitars melded with the rhythm section into forcefully packaged tunes. Vocalist Don Chaffin frequently spits out the lyrics with Mustaine’s characteristic sneer (making me wonder if Dave sang on demos while working on the lyrics), while at other times he screams like Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell (check out “Runaway Train”). The thing that strikes me most about the album is that you are never quite knowing what to expect. Red Lamb is schizophrenic in many ways, such as the way “Standby Passenger” plods along until the chorus erupts in fury while Don implores, “I wanna be in control!” The songs are thrashy without sounding like a thrash album, and also melodic, chaotic, and interesting at the same time. “Get Up” and “Puzzle Box” are the clear highlights of the album, while the only weak point is the depressing song about the state of nation, “Warpaint”. Dave Mustaine’s stamp is all over this, and the collaboration of Dan and Dave is one that hopefully will continue. With Dan having played on some of the greatest thrash albums ever, it’s nice to hear him trying something different since he has nothing to prove. With so many uninspired second-rate thrash albums flooding the market, it’s refreshing to hear one of the innovators moving beyond that. While Red Lamb is not stunning, it’s certainly a worthy album that will be of interest to Anthrax and Megadeth fans alike.

Red Lamb performs on Sunday, March 24 at Station 4 in St. Paul with support from Candy Machine Guns, Prophets Of Aether, Monster Of Creation, and Pandemic.

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