Lamb Of God - VII: Sturm Und Drang - (8/10)

Published on July 17, 2015


  1. Still Echoes
  2. Erase This
  3. 512
  4. Embers
  5. Footprints
  6. Overlord
  7. Anthropoid
  8. Engage The Fear Machine
  9. Delusion Pandemic
  10. Torches


Thrash / Groove Thrash


Nuclear BlastEpic Records

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Thrash metal’s new sincerests.


Lamb Of God are the premier modern thrash metal act of today, and for good reason. Their legacy has been built on an almost unprecedentedly consistent run of albums, each of which wholeheartedly carried on the tradition of the previous while pushing the band’s sound that tiny bit further or in a slightly different direction. For all their consistency, it could never really be said that Lamb Of God were repeating themselves. Sixteen years into their career,1 Lamb Of God are as hungry and lethal as ever, and VII: Sturm Und Drang is yet another testament to one of metal’s most ferocious and reliable bands.



From the opening moments of “Still Remains,” Sturm Und Drang feels like a throwback to the rawer style and tone Lamb Of God’s 2003 breakthrough album As The Palaces Burn, albeit updated with the heightened sense of clarity and song structure later-developed on Sacrement (2006) and perfected on Wrath (2009). While the otherwise more experimental Resolution’s2 initial tracks felt like Lamb Of God-by-numbers, the energy of Sturm Und Drang’s opening salvo is instantaneous and infectious—kinetically palpable—and probably the strongest opening four tracks of an album you’re likely to hear this year. Each of these songs is just teeming with everything that’s great about Lamb Of God’s music; precise musicianship, pummelling groove and overwhelming yet digestible aggression. “Emebrs” (in one of the year’s most welcome surpises) even manages to perfectly inject the croon of, Deftones frontman, Chino Moreno into its thrash metal setting, and drumming superstar, Chris Adler—whose pounding double-bass and violent snare-blasts lead the assault—has never sounded better.




Things do take a notable dip in quality from here–out though. Although never particularly detrimental to the record, Sturm Und Drang is unable to maintain the incredible pace set by its first half. “Footprints” is fine, but it lacks the spark of the previous tracks, and the same can be said for most of the record’s back-half, with only “Anthropiod” and the punishing finale of “Delusion Pandemic” making any headway toward recapturing its initial glory. Although overall, Sturm Und Drang’s major drawback—which extends to the earlier tracks as well (albeit, to alesser extent)—is the lack of any really gripping choruses; with many of the album’s refrains feeling more like pre-choruses than the full-blown catch-cries of the band’s best moments.


The obvious point of contention, however, is “Overlord,” which features an unrecognisable, clean-singing, Randy Blythe and sounds like something from Metallica’s Load record(s); and not in a good way.3 While it seems like Lamb Of God were going more for a sludgier, Alice In Chains-ian approach, and the daring change of direction is to be applauded, “Overlord” just never really clicks. Blythe’s voice, which sounds fine in-and-of-itself, sounds really out of place (on the track, not just on the album as a whole), and even the heavy section at the end, which would otherwise make for a formidable, stand-alone, number sounds disjointed and inconsequential. Likewise, the sombre, reflective “Torches” fails to effectively incorporate The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato into the fold and just sort-of peters out.4



Blythe—who spent a month in a Czech prison in 2012 and later faced a manslaughter charge (of which he was acquitted) due to the death of a fan during a Lamb Of God show there in 2010—claims Sturm Und Drang is “not a prison album.” However, it’s clear that he was deeply affected by the incident, which inescapably informs its content and often makes for its best moments; such as the aforementioned “Still Echoes” and the “512” (Blythe’s cell number); and it’s wonderful to see Blythe and Lab Of God channelling the experience into one of their most formidable and progressive albums to date.


There might be a clear distinction between Sturm Und Drang’s lesser and better material; yet, in reinventing themselves as thrash metal’s “new sincerests,” Lamb Of God have delivered one of their most vicious and compelling records yet.


1 Twenty-one (!) if we’re counting the Burn The Priest years.

2 An undoubtedly lesser album in the Lamb Of God catalog, whose major complaint remains merely that it could (and should) be better.

3 Which is to say: it sounds nothing like “Bleeding Me.”

4 Lamb Of God did a much better job of this sort of thing with Resolution’s “King Me.”


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Author: Joshua Bulleid

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