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Album Reviews : Lamb of God – VII: Sturm Und Drang

By on August 4, 2015

logThe beauty of bands like Lamb of God is that they manage to attempt new things and make different songs while still retaining the characteristics that got them to the God-like status they are in today. Every album adds something new to the mix, and each album has its own unique sound, but you can still tell that it’s a Lamb of God album. The same is true of their latest offering, Sturm Und Drang (Storm and Stress for those without access to Google Translate.)

The album comes from quite possibly the darkest period in the band’s history, with vocalist Randy Blythe arrested in the Czech Republic under suspicion of manslaughter, stemming from an incident onstage. Blythe was held for five weeks in a Czech prison before being acquitted, and that experience definitely influenced the lyrical content of this album. The majority of the songs depict the bleak history of this brutalized country, and the depths to which Randy seemingly slumped to during his incarceration. Others follow social issues such as the content oversaturation of the internet, media frenzies, and environmental damage.

Musically, this album is what you’d expect after the previous effort left us headbanging in 2012. The album is laden with groove riffs, catchy hooks, and fast paced shredding. Campbell’s bass lines keep up proficiently, as always, providing a great backdrop, and Chris Adler’s drumming is as precise as ever.

The album opens up with “Still Echoes,” one of the darker tracks of the album that’s driven by the history of Pankrác Prison, where Blythe was held. “Erase This” is a bouncing track that mixes great grooves with enough technicality to keep it fresh. “512” spreads the darkness further with an unsettling lead and an emotive main riff coupled with the lyrics. “Embers” quite possibly could’ve been my favourite track of the album if it hadn’t included guest vocalist Chino Moreno. The song was epic until the bridge, in which I thought Randy’s “Insurrection” style vocals could’ve lifted the song further. Instead, Moreno performs his signature “soothing” vocals over the riff, dragging into the ground right at the precipice. “Footprints” picks up the pace with a more traditional Lamb of God sound. After which, the album drops back to a trudging pace with “Overlord,” arguably the most interesting song on the album. This song showcases Randy’s smoky, unique clean singing, which is marred by an incredibly generic southern rock riff throughout. I was quite disappointed (holding the band’s apocalyptic clean riff from “Reclamation” as one of my all time favourites) that they couldn’t come up with something more compelling that did Randy’s vocals justice, but many will still dig the classic rock vibe of the song. “Anthropoid” is an anthemic track that I expect to see fitting really well into their future live sets. “Engage the Fear Machine” has an unsettling melody to it that put me on edge while contemplating the lyrics. “Delusion Pandemic” is a thrashy, fast-paced song, and “Torches” closes the album in dramatic fashion with great background vocals from Greg Puciato.

This is by no means their best effort, but it still showcases the innate abilities of each member, as well as their masterful song crafting as a collective. Sturm Und Drang is a compelling album from a trusted band that continue to deliver as well as delve into new territory.

About

Benjen is a qualified teacher residing in the south-east suburbs of Perth. Benjen was introduced to hard rock at the age of 12 with Papa Roach's "Love-Hate Tragedy," and has developed a love for hard rock and metal since. He also has a keen interest in gaming and almost every fandom imaginable, from Doctor Who to Deadpool. He can be followed on Twitter @thetoadmode