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Engage The Lamb Of God - 92%

Wacke, August 9th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Nuclear Blast (Digipak, Limited edition)

For the past three and a half years, Virginia's Lamb of God has gone through some really fucked up shit overseas in Europe. With Randy Blythe getting locked-up and accused for murdering a fan some years ago, most fans probably thought that was the end for Lamb of God in 2012. Now, three years after Randy's ultimately brief incarceration and freeing, Lamb of God are back with probably their most anticipated album ever. Everyone including myself waited a long time for this album to hit the shelves, just to hear the result of the band's recent struggles. On top of it, their last album Resolution was a bit mediocre, so this album also had to prove that Lamb still is in the game.

During this past spring, Lamb fans around the world have been fed with as much as five different tracks from the album before its release. Yes, that is half of the actual album. Personally I criticized whoever was responsible for that because that kind of took away a lot of the anticipation, not to mention the first-time-listening experience being a bit ruined. Anyway, these five tracks showed great progress for the band and were all of high quality. I was really strung-up on the eerie and emotional "512" (named after Randy's prison cell number) and the inventive "Overlord", which rocks an Alice in Chains-vibe with Randy doing real, clean vocals. The rest of album is a bit experimental at times as well, and I really get a feeling that Lamb is intentionally moving on towards a more "mature" sound. This is evident in most tracks which are more chugging-heavy rather than blast-heavy, like their previous album Wrath was for instance.

The production job is clean and heavy. The band's now long-time producer Josh Wilbur once again handled this album, and I'm really satisfied with his work on every Lamb album so far. To me, his work with Lamb is so essential that I'm ready to call him a sixth "ghost member" of the band, and this album is his best production work yet. This album is certainly not as over-produced as Ashes Of The Wake or Sacrament were (both of them were produced by Machine), but it's cleaner than Wrath and better mastered than Resolution, which had some annoying digital clipping.

In the end I am very satisfied with this album. The band really brings out the best of themselves this time around, both playing-wise and in writing/arrangements. The band apparently wrote the stuff together this time around instead of individually, which I welcome as a successful outcome. Chris Adler and Randy Blythe kind of feel like the shining stars of this album, however, with Chris taking his awesome drum work further, and Randy really pushing himself to become more than just a screamer. This album is ultimately a very strong effort that feels like an actual band product, rather than a cocktail with a bit of everyone here and there, like the last album.

To my ears, Lamb of God has really topped itself this time, and Sturm Und Drang really is one of their finest efforts. The only album I would possibly prefer over this one would be Wrath, but that one is much more one-dimensional on the other hand. I guess I'll let my mood decide whenever I feel for some Lamb of God. And be sure to get the digipak edition - the bonus tracks are worth it!

Check-outs: Erase This, 512, Embers, Overlord, Delusion Pandemic.