“Sturm Und Drang”, or “Storm and Stress” in English, could not have been a more perfect album title for this, the seventh album by US metal band Lamb of God. With this being the first new music the band has put out since front man Randy Blythe‘s incarceration and subsequent release for alleged manslaughter in 2012, it seems fitting they would choose an album title that sums up such a turbulent time in their history.
I have to say right off the bat that from a musical standpoint this could very well be my favourite Lamb of God record in what is an already stellar catalogue of material.
There is just so much to love on this album and so much to be gained from repeated listens to it.
Album opener ‘Still Echoes’ is a classic Lamb of God tune in much the same vein as ‘Hourglass’, ‘Laid to Rest’, ‘Desolation’, etc, and is one of two tracks that deal with Randy‘s ordeal. It’s a very visceral track that gives you a real sense of what he went through without being too on the nose that it becomes self-serving.
However, the real stand out moments on the album come when the band steps a little outside of its comfort zone, firstly on ‘Embers’ which features guest vocals from Chino Moreno, who provides his trademark croon to underlay and uplift the track. His voice matched with Randy‘s vicious growls are the perfect balance creating one of the album’s true unique moments.
‘Overlord’ is another big leap forward for Lamb of God, showcasing a more stripped down approach with a riff and clean vocals that come across like the love child of Tool and Alice in Chains whilst also being reminiscent of ‘Floods’ by Pantera as well. It’s a bold move by them and one that demonstrates how diverse they can be should they choose to explore this avenue further down the road.
“Sturm Und Drang” is the most emotionally explosive, yet diverse and exposed album Lamb of God have ever put their name to. It showcases a band that literally was on the edge and very nearly lost everything fight their way through hell and back to make the most game-changing album of their lives. Where many bands would have folded Lamb of God have pushed themselves through and are still here to tell the tale. It’s a true testament to what they are made of that this album even exists, and the fact that is an absolute monster is just the icing on the cake. Lamb of God will live to fight another day and that is something we can all give praise for.