Six days from the release of Lamb of God’s highly anticipated seventh studio album VII: Sturm Und Drang, we are now five singles in. Five. “Dude I can’t believe they’ve released like half the album!” is getting really fucking repetitive on my beloved Youtube, Blabbermouth, and any other sites whose ad revenue I’m exponentially increasing. Well kids, welcome to 2015. Our miniscule attention span no longer supports a mere one or two pre-album singles. Anyway, Lamb of God has provided a heavy sampling of VII:Sturm Und Drang before its release. With singer Randy Blythe’s manslaughter trial and eventual acquittal consuming much of the period since 2012’s Resolution, fans are both relieved and anxious to hear the results of the band’s return to the studio. So, with five singles having seen the light of day, how does the album measure up thus far? Let’s go track-by-track.
“Still Echoes”: The first single released as well as the album opener, it begins with frantic blast beats that would find a nice home on Wrath, before launching into quintessential Lamb of God. The relentlessly driving chorus is going to make this one a crowd favorite and send it straight to my work out playlist. I love that Randy Blythe doesn’t mail in his lyrics. “A legacy of collapse built on a painful truth” is fucking HARD.
“512”: Damn, does this one make me happy to be alive. After a dissonant pair of verses builds momentum, we arrive at a chorus riff that contains the type of Americanized melodic death metal that made me fall in love with metal in the first place. This song is also accompanied by a really dope visual. But Mark Morton, if you’re reading this, please stop using pentatonic scales in your solos. They really don’t fit.
“Overlord”: A lot has been made of Randy Blythe’s foray into clean singing on this song. Personally, I find it very tasteful – it has a Vol.3-era-Corey-Taylor creepiness to it that suits the song extraordinarily well. Always an advocate of diversity, I love that they changed it up. Plus, the song abruptly transitions to Sacrament-era chaos halfway through anyway. Shout out to Randy’s awesome “I still buy records” shirt in the music video. And Mark, PLEASE stop with the pentatonic scales.
“Erase This”: The power metal riff at the beginning is almost a fake out, as the band proceeds to jump right into another trademark, impeccable Lamb of God verse groove. Unfortunately, while this is a good song, it is nothing that warrants a release as a single.
“Embers (feat. Chino Moreno)”: To kick this song off, a sinister harmonic minor melody sits atop the madness of Chris Adler’s double bass. In the spirit of “Still Echoes” and “512”, “Embers” has another CRUSHING chorus, and features a perfectly placed bridge with Chino Moreno of Deftones’ soaring vocals. Man, that guy can fucking sing.
So, there you have it. Five songs in, and seven more coming our way on July 24th. From what I’ve read, the metal community seems to universally approve of VII: Sturm Und Drang thus far. Personally, there is little doubt in my mind that this album is going to rip. Mathematically speaking, it has already been 41.6% confirmed.