Have a listen to: "Still Echoes" and "Overlord"
Lamb Of God – VII: STURM UND DRANG
Richmond, Virginias finest metal act are back to fuck with us yet again. Anyone who knows their Roman numerals would figure out that ‘VII: Sturm Und Drang‘ is Lamb Of God’s 7th studio album (8th if you count the self-titled ‘Burn The Priest‘ album) and their first for the very established label in the metal scene, Nuclear Blast Records.
Without a doubt Lamb Of God are here to kick our asses with this new release. The opener track and first single ‘Still Echoes‘ launches right into your face within seconds of starting. Relentless fast riffs and blast beats dominate your ears before vocalist Randy Blythe’s incredibly distinctive growls kick in. This is such a strong statement from the band that they are taking no prisoners, giving listeners no time to settle into the album, the Virginia metallers are seriously here to rip our faces off. Follow up track and most recent single ‘Erase This‘ doesn’t let up either; same fast paced riffs and crushing grooves with added fiddly melodies, and riffs thrown on top. This is Lamb Of God how you expect them to be! No bullshit! Hit the pits!
Their second single release ‘5:12‘ takes a more eerie approach with its guitars. Sounding closer to the suspense building melodies of ‘Walk With Me In Hell‘, there is a similar tone of epicness over heaviness, but the crushing brutality is still there. What does come as a surprise is that the chorus is shouted clearly instead of screamed or growled. Previous album ‘Resolution‘ showed signs of Blythe using slightly cleaner or as some might think, more understandable vocals.
If that came as a surprise, then third single ‘Overlord‘ will shock Lamb Of God fans even more. Wait for it…..Randy Blythe uses clean vocals for a soft song! Not only that but he can sing pretty damned well. The first half of the song is very self-titled Stone Sour-esque, as Blythe croons over soft drums and very bluesy rock guitars. This is definitely the most mellow track I have heard the 5-piece come out with, but it impressively fits in perfectly with the rest of the album. The second half of the song breaks into the Lamb Of God we all know and love – back to the aggression and back to the harsh vocals and killer riffs that dare you not to head bang. As big as the Virginia metallers are, this song could be a defining moment in the bands career, perhaps a tester to see how fans react and for Lamb Of God to grow even further as songwriters, dabbling with more cleans perhaps in the future perhaps.
Another surprise is the use of guest vocalists for the first time ever on a Lamb Of God album, Chino Moreno (Deftones) and Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan/Killer Be Killed) for ‘Embers‘ and ‘Torches‘ respectively. ‘Embers‘ is ferocious as you expect it be, but the added depth thrown in from Chino Moreno’s impressed echoing voice in the chorus and bridge adds wonders to the song, though it does seem that Lamb Of God have adapted to a more progressive manner to make the Deftones frontman’s vocals fit the song a lot more smoothly. Greg Puciato’s vocals are more of a background noise used in ‘Torches‘ – his warped voice is used as an eerily projected added layer of the song; very reminiscent of Mastodon at times.
The talents of Lamb Of God seem to know no bounds; Chris Adler continues to be one of the most technically gifted drummers in the metal industry – his thrown in fills and occasional awkwardly timed beats continue to amaze and it’s no wonder that Dave Mustaine wanted Adler to be on the next Megadeth album. Guitarists Willie Adler and Mark Morton provide some of their greatest riffs, heaviest grooves and most impressively written melodies on this album. While bassist John Campbell doesn’t exactly stand out like everyone else, he certainly adds the much needed depth to make Lamb Of God as brutal as they are.
‘VII: Sturm Und Drang‘ is a certified contender for album of the year. It is a pure pit starter packed with moments of technical genius, epicness and surprises that you don’t really see coming but they still wow you at the same time. What more can you want in a metal album? Lamb Of God are one of the few remaining consistently impressive metal acts, with each new album they are becoming better songwriters, providing albums with no “filler” songs, just pure bruisers.
For Fans Of: DevilDriver, Machine Head, Chimaira