Album Review: Lamb of God - 'VII: Sturm Und Drang'

24 July 2015 | 1:28 pm | Alex Sievers
Originally Appeared In

You can’t stop this machine.

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When translated to English, Lamb Of God’s new albums reads as ‘Storm and Stress’, which really sums up the truly unique and utterly difficult times the band have gone through over the past couple years. Like all good bands and artists do, they have channeled the events of the past couple years into their musical endeavor’s and as expected, that turmoil has paid off with one great and very consistent 10-track album.

Like an embrace from a parental figure, ‘Sacrament’ and ‘Resolution’ were far more personal releases, whereas much like a scathing, resentful kick to the head, ‘Ashes Of The Wake’, ‘As The Palace Burns’ (and shit, even ‘New American Gospel’) were filled with more political based songs. This new record tends to sweeps between these two themes of the comforting closure of the internal and the confronting external, all the while remaining within the band's sound, and as a result, its all the better for it.

The band offer up scathing comments on 24/7 media outlets pushing fear and hatred on the explosive 'Delusion Pandemic' and on 'Engaging The Fear Machine', and give a big middle finger to negative people for being the negative sumbitches on 'Erase This'; and then there are far, far more personal songs like '512', but more on that soon. The final call that is ‘Torches’ features The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato (who are touring here next month – booyah!) and earlier on, ‘Embers’ allows for Deftones’ Chino Moreno to lull us al with his serene vocals. Both of these songs are great and the respective singers don't interfere with the band's sound at all in fact they help to elevate it. Those two also mark a first for the Virginian metallers; guest vocalists. But that’s not the only first that ‘VII: Sturm Und Drang’ makes. See while a song like ‘Still Echoes’ is just pure Lamb Of God through and through, it’s with ‘Overlord’ and ‘512’ that the band really takes that extra step forward for this album to really hit that next level.

Overlord’ is a dark and moody Alice In Chains sounding track in it's first half, and then after the pleasantries, it erupts into the riff and drumming frenzy that Lamb Of God are normally known for. It's  a balance of new and old if you will. On the other hand, ‘512’, the number on the cell Blythe was incarcerated in, is easily the most confronting song on the record (and it's music video doesn't pull any punches either) in which Blythe states that ‘My hands are painted red/My future's painted black/I can't recognise myself, I've become someone else‘ which only adds to the personal weight of the song and personal guilt which the singer has felt, and most likely is still dealing with, despite his innocence. Both of these tracks are all incredibly powerful songs in their own right, and coupled with the remaining eight, they only serve to aid this record in being one of Lamb Of God's best.

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Lamb Of God have written an album that is a real and unflinching snapshot of where the band are at in 2015. Despite all of the shitty shit they’ve gone through, they have come out the far, far other side the stronger for it. Sure, it is just more Lamb Of God, you know how it’ll sound riff, drumming and song-structure-wise. Yet like ‘Resolution’, that familiarity is filled with vigour, rage, and a sense of revitalisation that makes 'VII: Sturm Und Drang' one of the better metal albums of 2015.

1. Still Echoes

2. Erase This

3. 512

4. Embers

5. Footprints

6. Overlord

7. Anthropoid

8. Engaging The Fear Machine

9. Delusion Pandemic

10. Torches