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Lamb Of God: VII: Sturm Und Drang

Virginia metalcore extremists bounce back from tragedy.

Lamb Of God’s first album in three years is also the first since singer Randy Blythe was jailed, tried and acquitted over the manslaughter of 19-year-old Czech fan Daniel Nosek.

The temptation to scan for signs of remorse and psychic damage in Blythe’s lyrics is hard to resist. ‘Jesus Christ you make me sick,’ he screams over the pummelling machine-gun blast of Footprints, ‘how the fuck did you think this would end?’ Elsewhere, on the weapons-grade groove-metal carnage of Delusion Pandemic, he rants about personal responsibility: ‘Stop blaming your problems on anything and anyone else.’ Revealing? Maybe, but no great shift from the band’s default mode of nihilistic, self-lacerating anger.

Indeed, it’s LOG’s sheer, exhilarating, Games Of Thrones-level ferocity that remains their strongest selling point, but also arguably their biggest weakness, since it locks them into a stylistic straitjacket of brute physicality.

In fairness, there are noble attempts to vary the formula here with super-heavy brooding ballads like Overlord and Embers, the latter featuring guest vocals from Deftones singer Chino Moreno, and arguably the closest thing to a melodic pop chorus that these ear-exploding speedpunks have ever recorded./o:p