The intermittent years between Lamb of God’s latest release ‘VII: Sturm und Drang’ and their last, 2012’s ‘Resolution’, have been long and tough for the Richmond quintet. Following lead vocalist Randy Blythe’s imprisonment, trial and subsequent acquittal on charges of manslaughter in Prague, the band have gone on to pen and release Lamb of God’s most cohesive record to date.
‘Resolution’ and 2009’s ‘Wrath’ were albums that made a lot of Lamb of God fans question if the band’s best music was behind them, but ‘VII: Sturm und Drang’ is a return to form for the kings of groove metal. The title translates to ‘Storm and Stress’ – a nod to the trials and tribulations of the past three years. The album is littered with references to Randy Blythe’s incarceration and experiences in the Czech Republic, from his cell number (‘512’) to ‘Anthropoid’, a story about the killing of the Butcher of Prague and ‘Torches’, which explores the self-immolation of a student in the city’s Wenceslas Square as a form of protest.
Although the band stick to what they know on songs like ‘Engage The Fear Machine’, ‘Erase This’ and heavy-as-hell album opener ‘Still Echoes’, this seems like a new chapter for Lamb of God. ‘Overlord’ sees the first appearance of Randy’s clean vocals, and it makes for a powerful statement about self-obsession. Welcome too, are the guest vocals from Chino Moreno (Deftones) and Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan) on ‘Embers ‘ and ‘Torches’ respectively; seven records in (eight if we’re counting ‘Burn The Priest’) it seems Lamb of God aren’t afraid to shake things up a little.
As politically driven as ever, the band’s latest full-length is a furious and focused collection of songs that showcase their groove-driven thrash at its most experimental. And after a staggering performance at Download this year, it seems the band are well on their way to carving themselves a bigger place in history as one of metal’s finest.
– Iqra Choudhry
Venue: VII: Sturm und Drang
Support Band: Nuclear Blast