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Lamb of God rocking again after recent real-life sturm und drang

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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"Sturm Und Drang" is usually translated as "storm and stress" -- which makes it an apt title for Lamb of God's newly released eighth studio album.

Since 2012's "Resolution," the Virginia headbangers faced a serious threat after frontman Randall Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic on charges of manslaughter after allegedly pushing a fan, who subsequently died, offstage during a 2010 concert in Prague. Blythe spent five weeks in jail but was ultimately acquitted, and the saga became the basis for a documentary, "As The Palaces Burn," as well as a book by Blythe, "Dark Days: A Memoir."

So getting to music was a relief for the quintet, according to bassist and co-founder John Campbell.

"There is absolutely a comfort to being in the position we are now," Campbell, 42, says by phone from his home near Richmond. "There was a psychological shock when everything happened -- 'Who knows what's happening? Has Lamb of God played its last show? Is this over?' Then Randy was released and we got out to play again and it was great to look around and see everybody there -- just waves of relief and intense feeling, you know?

"But that passed and we're back to doing what we're doing. It's still a lot of work, but it's great work and I'm really happy to be doing it."

Blythe's ordeal is chronicled on some of the songs on "VII: Sturm Und Drang" -- "How could it not be?" Campbell notes -- but the bassist says neither the subject matter nor the way the album, Lamb Of God's most impactful and accessible yet, sounds were a matter of much pre-determination.

"Our music and our records come together fairly organically," Campbell explains. "We don't sit down and draw X on a map and plot out a course to get there, musically. All of it comes along in this blur of putting a record together. It's not that it's, like, this disorganized mess; it's just a real kind of process of putting it together and determining what it is as we go along."

"Sturm Und Drang" brings Lamb of God back on the road as well, this time on a packaged headlined by fellow headbangers Slipknot. For many fans it will be a first time to see Lamb of God since the Blythe smoked cleared, and Campbell says that's provided plenty of motivation for the trek.

"Slipknot is a big band, but we're gonna go out there and try and steal the show, and to steal the show from Slipknot you better come with everything you've got," Campbell says. Does he really think Lamb can do it? "I'm a self-absorbed musician. Of course I do!" he says with a laugh.

Slipknot, Lamb Of God, Bullet For My Valentine and Motionless in White

6 p.m. Tuesday, July 28.

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

Tickets are $30-$60 pavilion, $30 lawn with a $90 lawn four-pack.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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