Sunday, January 23, 2022

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Sound Check


Lamb of GodLOG
“VII: Sturm und Drang”

Lamb of God has been a bit snake bitten of late. Most notably, there was vocalist Randy Blythe’s legal troubles in Prague, Czechoslovakia, after a fan died at a 2010 show. Through that, bassist John Campbell was sidelined for much of 2013 with family issues, and the Blythe’s legal troubles left the band short on cash. It would have been understandable if the band had packed it in by now. But Lamb of God hasn’t gone anywhere, and “VII: Sturm und Drang” is a powerhouse album. The tracks are full of the band’s very real anger and frustration, evidenced most clearly in “512,” a song whose title is pulled from Blythe’s Prague cell number. Lamb of God could have been excused for releasing a distracted, rusty effort after all this time and struggle. But, if anything, the hardship has made them better than ever. CV


Jason IsbellJason Isbell
“Something More Than Free”

Jason Isbell has traveled the rough road in his life. The one-time Drive-By Truckers guitarist has been through addiction and recovery, but through it all, Isbell’s guitar work and honest songwriting have conspired to make him one of the truest, most popular voices in Americana today. On his newest album, Isbell works once again with producer David Cobb, and the result is as beautiful as it is unexpected. Cobb takes Isbell’s raw gifts and reins them in as best as possible, creating a subdued, understated album that is more about the lyrics than the acoustic guitar backing them. And lyrically, “Something More…” is superb. Isbell is in a much better place personally than he was just a few short years ago, and songs like “Children of Children” explore feelings of pain and guilt in a way that feels refreshingly detached. The songs may come from Isbell’s past pain, but clearly this is a man no longer tortured. CV


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