Courtesy: Epic Records
It’s official. Lamb of God is back. The veteran metal band, which was once tapped as part of the so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal, released its latest full-length studio effort on July 24th. The album, the band’s seventh, is one that almost didn’t happen. That is because of front man Randy Blythe’s 2012 court case stemming from the death of one of the band’s fans in 2010 at one of the band’s live shows in Prague. Blythe faced the possibility of spending quite a bit of time behind bars as a result of the fan’s death as he was implicated in sad fan’s death. Thankfully that didn’t happen. And because it didn’t fans now have an album in VII: Sturm Und Drang that is both one of the band’s best albums to date and that is one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal albums. The record is anchored by the trademark musical and lyrical intensity that the band’s fans have come to know so well over the years as is evident in ‘#512’ and ‘Engage The Fear Machine.’ Though, for its familiar sound and feel, the band does throw a proverbial wrench in the works, branching out slightly in regards to its musical content in ‘Overlord.’ All three songs show in their own way that Lamb of God is indeed back. They are hardly the only songs that could be cited in making that argument. The standard edition features seven other songs that could just as easily be used for that argument. The deluxe extended edition no fewer than nine other tracks as fodder for that argument as it includes a pair of bonus recordings. All things considered, VII: Sturm Und Drang (storm and penetrated, roughly translated) proves both in its standard and deluxe editions to be an album that is, again, one of Lamb of God’s best recordings yet and one of this year’s best new hard rock and metal recordings.
Lamb of God’s latest full-length album VII: Sturm Und Drang is one of the band’s best recordings to date and one of the best of this year’s crop of new hard rock and metal albums. It is an especially welcome recording from one of the members of the so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal considering that it almost didn’t happen. From beginning to end, fans will note the band’s trademark musical and lyrical intensity in every song including one of its highest moments, ‘#512.’ Considering the song’s lyrical content, one can’t help but think that it must be one of the two songs included in this record that were centered on the case in question. He writes in the song, “Six bars laid across the sky/Four empty walls to fill the time/One careless word, you lose your life/A grave new world awaits inside.” He goes on to write in the song’s chorus, “My hands are painted red/My future’s painted black/I can’t recognize myself/I’ve become someone else/My hands are painted red” The content contained in the song’s second and third verse strengthens the argument even more that this song is referencing the events of Blythe’s case. Both verses, when coupled with the intensity of the song’s musical content, illustrates the emotion that Blythe must have felt when he originally wrote this song. That is, again, if the song is indeed making reference to the case.
Regardless of whether or not #512 is indeed making reference to Randy Blythe’s case stemming from the death of one of LOG’s fans some five years ago, it is still one of the best moments of this already outstanding return for one of metal’s top acts. It is hardly the only positive that can be taken from the band’s new album. ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ is yet another positive from this outstanding work. Coming from a musical vantage point, ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ shows another familiar sound. The band’s technical expertise in this death metal style song. Drummer Chris Adler’s time keeping is without flaw. Mark Morton and Will Adler are just as tight together in the song’s dual-part approach to the songs. And the fire in Blythe’s voice as he screams will remind long-time fans just as much of the band’s previous works. Speaking in terms of the song’s lyrical content, the song hits just as hard as Blythe comments on the steady stream of fear, death, and destruction being fed to Americans from the media and other sources. He screams, “Here we go again/The world is coming to an end/Engage the fear machine and collect the dividends/That’s it, you filthy monkeys/Keep your eyes on the bright and shiny/Just for you/A brand new-and-improved catastrophe/Pure-bred Pavlov/Prime time apocalypse/Hit the panic button and reap the bloody benefits.” This is made even clearer as he screams in the song’s closing verse, “Stream the latest threat from the limelight economists/Fabricated peri from contagion to communists/Fear delivered to your door by racketeers and strategists/Another advertisement war sold by the media terrorists.” If there was any doubt before, then that doubt is completely eliminated here. The fear machine is the media. It is politicians. It is everybody in any sense of power that willingly drives people into submission through the use of fear. That reminder to not give in to the fear machine set alongside the song’s familiar powerhouse musical content makes even clearer why this song is one of the best of the band’s new album. While it is another of the album’s best moments, it is not the last of said moments. ‘Overlord’ is one of the album’s representative singles and justifiably so. It is yet another of the album’s most notable works.
‘#512’ and ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ are both key additions to Lamb of God’s new album. Both songs harken back to the band’s previous albums with their musical content. The songs’ lyrical content will impress just as much with their hard-hitting and thought-provoking lyrical content. While both songs show in their own way to be key additions to VII: Sturm Und Drang they are just a small collective glimpse into what makes this record such a welcome return for Lamb of God. The album’s latest single ‘Overlord’ is one more example of what makes this record a welcome return. It is perhaps the single most notable of the album’s songs because it is such a drastic departure for the band. The band’s signature speed and ferocity are both there. However, listeners are treated to more than just that familiar sound. The song starts out with a much slower hybrid Crowbar/Alice in Chains sort of sound that runs nearly three and a half minutes into the song’s six and a half-minute run time. Throughout that initial run, audiences actually get to hear for themselves that the band’s members can in fact do more than just play really fast and really loud. All five men show that they can play in a slow, controlled fashion just as much as they can fast and loud. Even Blythe’s vocals have a different sound in that run. It’s an interesting change of pace overall. It is just part of what makes this song such an interesting addition to the record, too. The song’s lyrical content, written by Blythe add even more interest. Blythe noted in an interview that lyrically speaking, the song is a commentary about how the world’s people have become completely self-obsessed and that the end result of that obsession can only be bad. He notes of the song that, “I wrote the song about the dangers of self-obsession in our distressingly myopic and increasingly entitled “me-now/now-me” culture; just like the couple in the video, many people can’t seem to look past their own relatively small problems to see the bigger picture: the world is in serious trouble. Having a bad day at work, or a fight with your significant other, or getting a crappy haircut or table service does not in any way shape or form constitute an emergency. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we want them to deal with it. People who only see their own problems eventually wind up alone because no one wants to hear their crap anymore- we all know someone like that, always whining and complaining about some inconsequential setback as if it were the apocalypse. This song is for those people.” That statement is made clear as he screams, “A new time of declaration of distress/Strife, misery, and the pursuit of unhappiness/Endless complaining/No accountability/No reek of privilege and weightless tragedy.” It is made even clearer as he screams later in the song, “All the world’s a stage/But you are the only player/A black hole in the center of the universe/A dark cloud of despair/Caught in an endless rut/A Crisis without solution/Someone should stitch your mouth shut/And solve your f***ing problem.” This is a rather sharp indictment of those people. But again, everybody knows someone like the individual(s) noted here. That being the case, the fire in these words along with Blythe’s delivery style and the musical approach of his band mates combine to make ‘Overlord’ one of the album’s strongest songs if not the single strongest songs. Audiences can check out the song for themselves now along with its companion video via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNRsvFsY9qk. Together with the likes of ‘#512’ and ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ all three songs show together clearly why VII: Sturm Und Drang is a welcome return for Lamb of God. Those songs combined with the remaining tracks not noted here result in an album that is justifiably one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal crop.
VII: Sturm Und Drang shows from beginning to end to be a welcome return for Lamb of God. Audiences will agree that regardless of whether they pick up the deluxe twelve-track edition or the standard ten-track record, it proves to be one of the best of this year’s crop of new hard rock and metal albums. This is thanks both to the musical talent displayed time and again throughout the body of the record and the commentary contained within each of the album’s songs. Whether for one of the tracks noted here or for any of the many others that could just as easily be noted, fans will agree that this applies in every one of the album’s songs. VII: Sturm Und Drang is available now in stores and online. The band is currently touring in support of the new record. It will be in Boston, MA tomorrow, August 4th and then in Holmdel, New Jersey on Wednesday. The band’s current tour schedule is listed below.
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR:
LAMB OF GOD W/ Slipknot, Bullet For My Valentine & Motionless In White
8/4 – Boston, MA @ XFINITY Center
8/5 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
8/6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion
8/8 – Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
8/9 – Montreal, QC @ Parc Jean-Drapeau – Heavy Montreal
8/11 – Washington, DC @ Jiffy Lube Live
8/12 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach
8/14 – Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
8/15 – Chicago, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
8/16 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
8/19 – Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
8/21 – Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre
8/22 – Garden City, ID @ Revolution Center – NO SLIPKNOT *New Show*
8/23 – Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheater
8/24 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
8/26 – Concord, CA @ Concord Pavilion
8/28 – Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Resort Festival Grounds
8/29 – Phoenix, AZ @ AK-Chin Pavilion
8/30 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater
9/2 – Austin, TX @ Austin360 Amphitheater
9/4 – Houston, TX @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
9/5 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion
More information on Lamb of God’s tour is available online along with all of the latest updates on its new album and all of the latest news from the band at:
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