It’s been a week since LAMB OF GOD released VII: Sturm Und Drang via Epic Records. There has been a lot of speculation leading up it finally coming out, and I have seen a ton of praise for the record with a smattering of the usual trolls ripping it apart for no apparent reason, but whatever. Quite frankly, this has now surpassed Ashes of the Wake for my favorite album from this band. From start to finish this is a monster home run, and anyone who doesn’t see it probably needs a head CT. Producer Josh Wilbur is at the helm for a third time and it seems like he has truly gotten the best out of these guys.
Opener “Still Echoes” and “Erase This” both showcase a lean, mean, groove metal machine ready to kick anyone and everyone in the ass. Randy Blythe’s vocals have never, and I do mean NEVER sounded better. You guys know how I am with vocalists…if I can’t feel it, I don’t dig it. Well, Mr. Blythe leaves it all out there for us on each and every track, even surprising us with some very nice clean vocals on “Overlord” (a favorite) which go hand in hand with his animalistic delivery later in the song and on others. We all know the deal with “512”, so there’s no need to rehash. Suffice to say it rips, guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler coming in like a sonic chainsaw ready to carve you down to size. This is another go-to when I’m on that loading dock at work, no question.
“Embers” was another instant favorite for its go-for-the-jugular chorus as well as the machine gun playing of drummer Chris Adler and bassist John Campbell marching in perfect formation. Then DEFTONES frontman Chino Moreno comes in and delivers arguably the vocal performance of his career, taking an incredible song and making it even better! Next up is “Footprints” where the band tackles environmental issues, and it is full-on aggression amped up to 11. The same holds true for “Anthropoid”, the entire band slicing through everything in their path for nearly four minutes. As great as the first six songs are, the second half of this disc is so heavy and brutal it borders on the illegal, starting with this one.
“Engage the Fear Machine” and “Delusion Pandemic” kick in the doors and bust through your windows looking to deliver that beatdown you’ve been waiting for since 2012. THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN’S Greg Puciato lends an atmospheric vocal touch to “Torches”, while iTunes Deluxe Edition tracks “Wine and Piss” and “Nightmare Seeker (The Little Red House)” end things with a glorious double tap to the head that will leave you sprawled out on your living room floor, weakly clutching your remote trying to hit REPEAT so you can start this madness all over again. My suggestion? Get an oxygen mask…you’re gonna need it.
LAMB OF GOD are not only back, they have delivered what just might be their career-defining album. Every single member of the group sings/plays like their life depends on it, and you can feel that on every single song. If the band went away tomorrow (Gods Forbid!) THIS would be the perfect testament to their 20-plus year legacy. My Top Albums List of 2015 just got a whole lot more complicated thanks to these guys. VII: Sturm Und Drang needs to be a part of your collection, and I mean yesterday!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM