LAMB OF GOD – VII: Sturm und Drang
OUT: July, 24th 2015
LAMB OF GOD Line up:
Randy Blythe | vocals
Mark Morton | guitars
Willie Adler | guitars
John Campbell | bass
Chris Adler | drums
Lamb of God’s eighth studio album (including Burn the Priest) is set for release next month and the Virginian quintet have not let the metal world down. Where predecessor, Resolution incorporated some acoustic parts and a more ambient edge, Sturm und Drang has the band entering even more diversified areas, featuring more melody, more tension building yet still maintaining that classic Lamb of God style.
In the background to the album are the events surrounding singer, Randy Blythe. With his incarceration in the Czech Republic and subsequent acquittal, there are obvious references to his ordeal throughout this release, and who can blame him. However, to simply cast the album off as a soundtrack to Blythe’s issues would be under selling its depth. Lyrically, Blythe has pushed himself, searching into history, digging into his soul, and the results are epic.
“A thousand years of failure, a thousand years they bled,” Blythe screams amongst the wall of classic Lamb of God power, ‘Still Echoes’ kick starting the album with a full blown metal attack. ‘Erase This’ follows, beginning subtly before the twin guitars of Mark Morton and Willie Adler are unleashed and the riffage bludgeons Blythe into his patent scowl, trailing off at times into bellowing screams.
‘512’ is next, the title eluding to Blythe’s cell number during his horrid imprisonment in Prague. The story is real, its compelling and the lyrics, equally confronting, “Six bars laid down, four empty walls to fill”. Questioning his own worth, his own mental survival, the track thrives on its content with a metal groove, up there with the best in the Lamb of God collection.
The poignant change comes soon with ‘Embers’, expanding a familiar formula of groove metal before flipping into a more ambient swathe with guest artist, Deftones vocalist, Chino Moreno swooning in a soulful background whilst Blythe forges on with his venomous scowl. The two vocalists mending seamlessly in voice though poles apart in delivery. It works incredibly well and something most definitely out of the box for the band.
Whilst ‘Footprints’ returns to the Lamb of God roots the following track, ‘Overlord’ will no doubt divide fans. A bluesy intro sets the track on its path with Blythe melodic in delivery. Fans will be googling this track to make sure it is Blythe singing as it sounds nothing like the demonstrative vocalist in any way. Alas through the soft and soulful, almost fragile Blythe the band reach a crescendo and they explode into a pummelling metal mass of frenetic energy.
‘Anthropoid’ is in your face punk metal, while, ‘Engage the Fear Machine’, delves into the manipulation of the media and its resulting broadcasts. The album concludes with ‘Torches’, a track that features Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan, Killer be Killed), who croons his way whilst Blythe’s spoken dialect exhumes and John Campbell’s bass fills the sound. Gradually building, ‘Torches’ erupts into a heaving mass with Blythe now screaming demonically and Puciato blissfully ambient in the background at times engaging Blythe with accompanying bellows. The ensuing guitar solo is epic as is the track. Another example of how Lamb of God have pushed the envelope on this album.
Sturm und Drang literally meaning ‘Storm and Stress’ may well be the jewel in the crown in the Lamb of God discography. Lyrically confronting, technically supreme, this is the heavy metal album you’ve been waiting for in 2015. Lamb of God have challenged themselves, their sound and their fans. Enjoy the ride, Sturm und Drang is immense.
“VII: Sturm Und Drang” track listing:
01. Still Echoes
02. Erase This
08. Engage The Fear Machine
09. Delusion Pandemic