Lamb Of God is one of the most prolific and popular bands in heavy music, unlike other equally popular acts, they sacrifice none of their brutality or speed. Lamb Of God‘s consistency is remarkable, with eight studio albums and over decade of music under their belt, they haven’t ever compromised their sound. Unfortunately for Lamb Of God, they have been on an increasing downward spiral starting with the release of Wrath, Resolution and now, Sturm Und Drang.
VII: Sturm Und Drang suffers some serious heavy metal sins, the use of guest vocalists in odd and baffling ways and the introduction of clean vocals. Neither of these would be issues if not for the fact that the guest vocalists are used as clean singers in otherwise ripping tracks. They make up too little or too much of the tracks, with ‘Embers’ featuring Chino Moreno of the Deftones being the first major roadblock in an otherwise stellar start to a Lamb Of God record. From here on it only gets rocky, with the album never able to reach the heights of its first three tracks.
The most egregious act is Randy Blythe’s clean vocals in ‘Overlord’, trying to run the gambit as an almost bluesy track, where he tries to croon with the best of them to no avail. It isn’t that Randy isn’t a competent singer or that clean vocals cannot be added late into a bands career, it is that ‘Overlord’ is just a boring, cringe-worthy piece of music. The track doesn’t pick up until halfway through and even then it only lasts a few minutes until it is back to the slow, tedious clean sections.
The rest of VII: Sturm Und Drang fares much better, album opener ‘Still Echoes’ is better than anything written on Resolution, with potent lyrical subject matter and a ferocious pace. Following that up with the crushing ‘Erase This’ and the haunting ‘512’ front-loads the album a bit too much. The beginning is so strong and only sporadic highlights between help lift it back up. Luckily ‘Footprints’ is treat but is placed between the albums two worst tracks, one of which is followed by ‘Anthropoid’ with its grating gang vocals and odd chorus. ‘Engage the fear Machine’ is the first time the album truly finds its feet again, with an absolutely massive opening riff that is sure to fire up the crowds. Thankfully the album keeps pace until its conclusion, making the weakest point the mid-section.
Despite how uneven Sturm Und Drang is, the best songs are some of the best tracks since the incredible Sacrament. If only the album kept pace, fans would be graced with one of Lamb Of God‘s best releases. It is better than 2012’s Resolution, their lowest point but only by a hair. The best tracks save Lamb Of God here and show that they can still riff and rip with the best of them. Randy Blythe and Co still have the passion, capability and intelligence to create incredible heavy metal that speaks to music fans everywhere, much like their best releases.
The taste for heavy music in an era of pop and rap is voracious, with Sturm Und Drang topping charts all over the world, and Lamb Of God is still he perfect band to lead the charge. Heavy, fast and catchy as all hell, Sturm Und Drang is still an example of the bands talent, even if it could be seen a weak point in a stellar discography. Much like saying Hershey’s chocolate is the worst chocolate, it is still chocolate and therefore delicious. In the case of Sturm Und Drang, it is still Lamb Of God being themselves and is therefore entertaining, and satisfying heavy metal.