Storm And Stress
To say a lot has happened in the world of Lamb Of God since they last released an album is an understatement. Without going into all of the details, if you know anything at all about Lamb Of God, you will know that since 2012’s Resolution the band have experienced both extreme highs and lows. They've rode on a wave of emotion so big it is no surprise at all that they've been able to meticulously extract all of that into creating one of the finest Metal albums you will hear this decade. Sitting at just ten tracks and less than fifty minutes long, one spin of this album just will not be enough - it’s of such a high calibre it really has the potential to completely consume you and take control of your psyche. We've got the trademark Lamb Of God style with huge riffs creating that unmistakeable groove, but they've also blended this with a couple of new elements which may initially have the ‘purists’ irate, but looking at the whole picture it feels like already this album has done so much in bringing Lamb Of God to the next level.
The album opens with the absolutely punishing Still Echoes, a track which will absolutely have crowds losing all kinds of shit when they play it live. It is a relatively ‘safe’ opening to the album - a welcome back to Lamb Of God if you will. Straight away you’ll be blown away by the ever brilliant Chris Adler on drums. Across the album, Adler owns the whole piece, driving the band forward with superbly controlled aggression (it’s certainly left us excited to see what he’s got up to on the new Megadeth album!). Whilst at times it may sound ferocious, every single section of each song is strong enough to evoke some form of reaction, and that is very deliberate. This is a band at the top of their game, and to be frank, showing many within the scene at the moment how it should be done.
It is around the midpoint on the album you begin hearing some left field stuff (well for Lamb Of God anyway). The track Embers features an absolutely phenomenal guest slot from Deftones front man Chino Moreno. It doesn’t come until late in the track, but the groove and riffs building towards the climax of the song when Chino’s vocals soar in tandem with Randy Blythe’s growls makes for an incredible listening experience. Genuinely within the top five Lamb Of God tracks ever written. Another first-rate guest slot on the album comes from Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato on the final track Torches. And if you were surprised to hear any kind of ‘clean’ vocals on a Lamb Of God record, then wait till you hear Overlord and Randy Blythe delivering his own brilliant performance. Emotionally this track is huge as Randy switches between soothing and savage with incredible ease. Again ‘cleaner’ vocals on a Lamb Of God track may have some of the more close minded screaming foul, but the band have compensated for that even on this track alone with the final two minutes or so containing some of the best riffs they've ever written. As a whole though Overlord is one of the finest moments in the evolution of Lamb Of God as a band.
Whilst they haven’t gone as far as Slipknot did with Volume 3: The Subliminal Verses you can draw similar comparisons with VII: Sturm Und Drang. Rather than standing still and writing the same sounding tracks over and over for the rest of their career, Lamb Of God have looked to explore new avenues of inspiration and creativity and for the most part it has paid off massively. A very clear album of the year contender, it will certainly be exciting to see a lot of these tracks performed live at the end of the year.