Red Lamb are a new band put together by Dan Spitz of Anthrax fame. Together, Dan and Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) wrote the lyrics to this album which was mixed by Johnny K (Disturbed/Megadeth/3 Doors Down/Drowning Pool) and produced by Dan.
The 'big names' in collaboration with this self-titled debut album don't stop there, with Grammy Award winner Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails/Marilyn Manson) providing keys and additional programming, Don Chaffin (Voices Of Extreme) furnishing his vocals and Patrick Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen/WASP) on drums. Dan himself is the Axemaster, playing lead, rhythm and bass guitar throughout.
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Before I go in depth on the album itself, I am obliged to let you in on a bit of the background of what spurred Dan to start this. With Dan and his wife Candi's identical twins suffering from Autism, they both became vocal advocates about the cause and wanted to use the power of music in an aid to educate people on a Global scale.
To support the Autistic cause further, not only does Candi spend all her free time to the largest non-profit organisation 'Autism Speaks'; a donation will go to charities and organisations for every unit sold to help support families affected by Autism.
Musically, I was expecting a very deep and dark sound to be produced by the artists in question looking at their individual backgrounds, so here we go:
Overall I can hear straight the way that this album lyrically is going through anger and frustration, representative to the feelings and emotions that Autistic sufferers go through. It is also very heavily influenced by Megadeth-esque vocals ('Symphony Of Destruction') and Anthrax's early musical style with its classic Heavy Rock/Metal riffs.
The playing throughout is tight, fast, with finger-blistering and precise solos, pounding guitar riffs and solid bass lines provided by Dan, whilst Patrick on drums keeps the groove strong and hard with technical fills to make the tracks keep powering on. Chris' work can be heard, but it is overshadowed by the cacophony of the guitars and drums.
Don does a great job vocally, even though I have mentioned the vocal style is very Mustaine in most of the tracks, you can certainly tell it isn't him, especially when we get to 'The Cage', where he powers up through the ranges, whilst in 'Warpaint' his voice mellows and you get a taste of how smooth his vocal prowess can be.
Further on through, the tracks become reminiscent of traditional 90s Metal, with 'One Shell (In The Chamber)' that contains a Beasty Boys funk and groove, whilst 'Watchman' reminds me heavily of Testament. It is very catchy, and verges onto the alt Metal category. These two really stood out for me, and I can confidently say, personally they are my two favourites.
This was an era I grew up in and in which I was exposed in full to Metal. The era spawned many a great band with 'The Big Four' already in a firm existence (all coming into the scene around 1980), so to hear music from that ilk was a good throwback to that time before the 'Indie/Emo' Metal that is in existence now.
Vocals provided by Don are not too dissimilar to Mustaine's snarls, growls and pronunciation throughout, which leads me to wonder why Mustaine didn't sing on the album as it's very much in his style?
I guess it should be an obvious fact for saying Mustaine partook in the writing of the lyrics that the vocal style would echo his own. Throughout the album, there are a few tracks that would not go amiss on a new Megadeth album (if one were to be released), including the single 'Puzzle Box', 'Don't Threaten To Love Me', 'Keep Pushing Me' that lyrically is about the challenges of an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sufferer and mirrors the frustration really well.
'Get Up' is full of anger, with a very abrupt ending, leaving me wondering if my music player had broken. 'Temptation' is the last track is ramped up to the max, certainly a way to go out with a boom and leave a lasting impression... Anyone order Tinnitus?
The album tracks 'pick up' not only in tempo but in interest after the third song 'Runaway Train', which for me personally is the weakest track on the record.
'Standby Passenger' has an interesting intro, with sounds echoing around from an Airport Terminal before blasting into a full on annihilating barrage of instruments and heavily effected vocals. I would say this one is more in the vein of Anthrax with blistering melodies that are concentrated in the higher notes, rather than the mid-range as per most of the album.
Conclusively, my thoughts would be that if you are looking for a good traditional blast of true Metal, then be brave and buy it. Not only will part of the cost go to a good cause, but you will be left with your ears ringing and maybe even find that a good moshing may have occurred, leaving you with the memories of 'the good ol' days'.
redlambofficial.com // facebook.com/redlamb // youtube.com/redlambtv
Autism Speaks: www.autismspeaks.org
1. The Cage (3:46)
2. Runaway Train (4:42)
3. Standby Passenger (3:32)
4. One Shell (In The Chamber) (3:21)
5. Puzzle Box (4:37)
6. Watchman (4:35)
7. Keep Pushing Me (4:17)
8. Get Up (3:38)
9. Don't Threaten To Love Me (3:53)
10. Angels Of War (4:04)
11. Warpaint (3:11)
12. Temptation (3:59)