Year : 2015
Genre : Groove / Thrash metal crossover with tints of doom
Label : Epic Records
Origin : United States
Rating : 9.2 / 10
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Following 2012's "Revolution", - here is my review of it, IF - Lamb of God returns with a particularly mature disk that showcases clear commitment towards a set of carefully orchestrated evolutionary choices. While the group was renowned and notorious for putting rabid guitars on eloquently purged chili overdose in an attempt to successfully court Southern registers, the Lamb of God of today showcases an even more refined identity, now complimented and highlighted by a musical interest that dares and manages to successfully embrace newly implemented rhetorics of true creative value and mature musical variation.
In the context of Lamb of God, the riffing never was suspect of non-convincing levels of relentless punching power, and this circumstance is once again stressed by a particularly clever and adept command of throwing the mere dynamics of the riffing around with new and fresh approaches/themes that simultaneously come out of nowhere, yet consort with their adjacent elements via establishing true organic connections with them.
It is not that the band makes sure that no sequence will overstay its welcome, it's more like you are not even given sufficient amount of time to comfortably appreciate the pure awesomeness of a given pattern, because right away they will throw yet another one AND a bloody kitchen sink at you. This was intended as a compliment, mind us, because no matter how brief awesomeness is, its character of being "just it", necessarily remains faithful to itself, once you recognize it as such.
If, once the recognition is present in your soul, and you are invited-, even better: commanded by the music to undergo this process again just to arrive hastily to yet another instance of the same optimum realization, then, Pro Tip - > this is the clear sing that you are listening to a great fucking record. This Lamb of God release puts me on this train of much appreciated sonic massacre, then showcases the brakes of the train, only, they are no longer part of the apparatus, as they have been utterly and competely dismantled. Finally!
VII: Sturm und Drang utilizes its masterfully grasped concept of hyper-fluctuant riffing to facilitate more pronounced diversity of metal moods. While the disk remains faithful to the not so dainty sensibilities - hah. - of groove metal, the songcraft exhibits excessive levels of much appreciated willingness to venture into different tints of metal for a brief-, or, for a more prolonged visit, BUT!!
Do not assume that this is a result of an ambition to desperately appeal to any given set of fans devoted to the charms of the visited genres, because nothing could be further from the truth. These visitations and the way that they are presented, always showcase legit maturity and clear thought FIRST, and it just happenstance that a given sequence dresses into feelings and tastes that slowly but clearly become super-indicative of the characteristics of a given sub-genre of metal. Many have tried this technique consciously, and the results ended up being self-congratulatory fan service, and frightening enough that I did not even care to remember those occasions. I'm sure many of you can recall such acts at will.
In the case of this record, the different environmental moods are logical results of the authenticity of love and the mere consorting fascination that I personally think the members must have with the given genre - why observe how a song dresses into such sentiments otherwise? The metal registers and indicators of interest that I'm picking up on this disk, are numerous: thrash is a staple pretty much all throughout, as a trusty set of counter-points to the grooves that almost always reveal that bluesy feel you anticipate them to. Thrash is more evil, more relentlessly defined, and more intent at immediate psychotic satisfaction, and lacks the mere sense of impending doom that groove used to issue out, simply because thrash metal came not to boast, but to kill. Oh, what am I saying.
Thrash metal is killing everything already, if done properly.
The album showcases brilliant fluency at incorporating these avid dynamics in a way as to present organic connections between the respective elements, never once leaving you with the suspicion that you are the unfortunate victim of having to endure desperate fan service. Lamb of God is having a blast of a time building these organic connections between impending doom and their infallible results of optimum sonic devastation, now contained and optimally imprisoned as expressions of art, never having to truly harm, but always having the rampant capacity to immediately and thoroughly entertain.
To tell the truth as I feel it is, the formation is not reluctant to summon a particularly fervent type of doom-, even sludge on occasion, never spending time with the observation of tinkering decay, instead commanding any and all necromantic entities/constructs in the vicinity to get up and bang to the music.
As such, brief but "boomy" black-, and death metal sequences are proud invitees on this spin, never to be embarrassed to the point of having to endure their most cherished tricks be demanded on stage, instead, they are respected with love and care, their most optimum tendencies incorporated and showcased within the respective constraints of the given whole track, the constraints that are operated and guarded by the band with an iron fist.
Sure enough, on some occasions you might find yourself in the act of consciously identifying certain methodologies at songcraft being utilized one more time, as is the case in the context of the aptly titled notoriety, "Wine and Piss" - the song's mere character sounds to be quite reflective of tracks like "Desolation" or "Undertow", - both songs from their previous full length effort - but mind us that this song signifies the nearing of the conclusion of the release, so it is understandable that the group has chose to introduce the culmination with a stance that remained respectful to traditions - tradition: the tyranny of dead men -, so the most committed Lamb of God fans have a safe place to plant their feet on, especially considering the surprises and motion that they too had to digest throughout this intricately sculpted sonic assault.
No longer it is valid - and probably questionable if it ever was - to label this ensemble as "just another Pantera clone", something that I myself was relatively (?) guilty of doing when I had the idiotic dormant assumption that only Pantera should release groove metal, being the essential inventors of the genre. Now it is very clear to me that even Meshuggah is infected with/by Pantera, and they "just" take the original idea to a next evolutionary stage of efficiency, - pretty hard thing to do - particularly in the context of rhythm, and, in the context of handling sonic mass as a primordial medium to convey audible meaning and structural significance, instead of necessarily bowing down to the driving ideas observable in crafting melody.
Sidenote: the continuous efforts at perfecting the original music, does not take away from the timeless significance of said original music, if anything, it fortifies and enhances it. Still one would be in a very difficult position to find more of a mindfuck of a primordial metal anthem than the Pantera track "Fucking Hostile" is, for example. Listen how Anselmo does it acapella.
Rating : 9.2 / 10
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