On their seventh release, Lamb of God have channeled all the turmoil that has engulfed them in the three years since Resolution and used it to fuel the most savage album of their career.
If ever there was a work reflecting the struggle against chaos and conflict surrounding an artist, VII: Sturm und Drang is it. Randy Blythe has probably never sounded so convincing as either a lyricist or a singer as he digs deep inside himself and unleashes on his dehumanisation within Pankrac Prison on ‘512’ (his cell number) but the entire band is simply devastating. There is a new intensity and density in the Lamb of God groove arsenal that’s rarely been on display before. ‘Still Echoes’ opens the box straight into ferocity, thickened up with a solid bass drive from John Campbell, often the least prominent of the band’s components, and rounded off with a blazing Mark Morton solo.
It’s not all pure apoplectic rage, however. On ‘Overlord’ the band switches to dark balladic mode with Blythe pulling off a commanding and surprising clean vocal, opening a rarely-tapped stylistic vein for the man. During ‘Embers’, Lamb of God dials back the fury to allow Chino Moreno to drop in a stunning guest vocal slot that plays off Blythe brilliantly, and ‘Torches’, with everywhere-man Greg Puciato guesting opens with a slow burn reminiscent of one of Pantera’s darker moments. Willie Adler and Mark Morton weave in plenty of melody also, but this only further emphasises the anger and frustration of tracks like ‘Footprints’ and ‘Erase This’, with its incredible wah-drenched breakdown groove.
While this is very much a band effort, one can’t help but feel that this is Randy Blythe’s album. He is simply out of his skin here, shedding a whole new light on his ability as a metal vocalist. As a unit, there is a lot that is familiar about Lamb of God on Sturm und Drang, but there is also newer aspects that keep their unmitigated style fresh and with a furious anger driving it from the opening moment, this is one of the band’s best.
1. Still Echoes
2. Erase This
8. Engage the Fear Machine
9. Delusion Pandemic