I write this review as a long time fan of Sturm’s music, both with Flyleaf and her solo releases. While I don’t identify myself as a Christian, that has never stopped me from finding solace in Sturm’s messages. Lacey’s voice has the power to heal spiritual and emotional wounds, and gives us all a reason to step beyond the pain that follows us daily and make ourselves.
Having parted ways with Flyleaf back in 2012, at the same time the band released their 3rd album, New Horizons, many of her fans were left wondering if Lacey Sturm had retired from the chaos that comes from extensive touring in support of releasing and album. Sturm’s self-imposed early retirement was thankfully brief. After releasing several solo tracks inspired by her deep spiritual faith, and touring as a solo artist, Sturm is finally ready to bring her evolved sound back to the masses.
What was Sturm’s reason for making releasing a full length album? “I was just listening to the radio one day and I said to myself, ‘If I hear one more song telling people to kill themselves and go to hell, I’m going to have to put a record out!’” exclaims Lacey.
Sturm’s voice in Flyleaf was missed sorely be her fans, and we longed for her return to her musical roots. “I just think it would be a good thing to have a voice in the mix of all the hopelessness that actually gives you a light at the end of the tunnel; a voice that’s still honest about the pain and struggle, but can also scream, ‘Hey, wake up and be alive because there’s hope!’”
Obviously in Life Screams there will be connections to Flyleaf’s sound, but beyond that, the music is a deeper meaning and continuation of where her story with her former band left off. Working with Skillet’s Korey Cooper, and former member of Evanescence David Hodges, Sturm has crafted music that gives a familiar feeling of her Flyleaf roots to the albums’ tracks. But Lacey isn’t just rehashing old music by using the same formulas she crafted over a decade ago. She’s creating music on her own terms, and that’s luxury few of today’s artists have.
Melodic. Bombastic. Sturm’s vocals are strong throughout each of the album’s 11 tracks. Sprinkled in for good measure are her trademark gutteral growls. Crunching guitar riffs. Thrashing drums. Sturm has returned to the style of music that first introduced us to her.
The messages throughout Life Screams are urgent and inspirational. Sturm vocalizes her faith in our abilities to better ourselves beyond what we feel we are capable of, and these tracks will serve as the soundtrack to the lives we are meant to live. This is apparent on the album’s title track. Life Screams is Sturm’s anthem to stand up, break the shackles holding us back, and live life to it’s fullest.
As she sings in You’re Not Alone, “Stronger than the pain that runs through us, you’re not alone.” Sturm’s voice will always be there for us as a guide through the darkness in our lives, all we have to do is quiet the noise and chaos that surrounds us, and allow the healing to begin.
Dissecting the album’s story as a whole, the most inspirational sequence on the release for me are the 3rd, 4th and 5th tracks. The seamless transitions between I’m Not Laughing, Vanity, and Rot create an initially harrowing story of loss, regret, and failure. Digging deeper though, these three cuts represent the power we have as individuals to overcome any hardship that is placed in front of us.
February 12th, 2016
2. The Soldier
3. I’m Not Laughing
6. You’re Not Alone
7. Feels Like Forever
8. Life Screams
10. Roxanne (Police cover)
11. Run To You