‘VII: Sturm und Drang’ doesn’t quite wipe the floor with past albums, but it’s still a mighty fine piece of work.
Label: Nuclear Blast Entertainment
Released: 24th July 2015
The psychology of the human mind is a concept often explored in music, and Lamb of God have chosen this route under extreme conditions. The past few years have been the most troubled in the band’s career – if you’re unaware, consulting their documentary ‘As The Palaces Burn’ is the best source on vocalist Randy Blythe’s captivity and exoneration following the death of a fan in the Czech Republic – but they’ve returned, intent on moving forward.
And move forward they do. ‘Still Echoes’ kicks off with a dose of well-crafted venom, before ‘Erase This’ picks up the pace and stretches Blythe’s vocal reaches. ‘Overlord’ is a clean and sombre risk, the mellow ensemble creating a faux warmth before nose-diving into chaos.
‘Embers’ – with Deftones’ Chino Moreno in tow – is built for live settings with the decried title-lyric and groove of the chorus; ferocious when Blythe is centre stage, soaring when Moreno takes the fore. The duo are an oddly wonderful pairing – stark in contrast from the band’s collab with Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan) ‘Torches’ and its blend of savage spoken word, closing off the album with the tale of Jan Palach – a Czech student who set himself on fire as political protest in the 1960s.
The content is at times dark, even bleak, but it explores various reactions of human nature while pulling many of the old faithfuls from the Lamb of God bag of musical tricks. ‘VII: Sturm und Drang’ doesn’t quite wipe the floor with past albums – it’s a little more polished around the edges – but it’s still a mighty fine piece of work. Welcome back, guys. Heather McDaid