It came as a heavy blow to Flyleaf when it was announced that “New Horizons” was going to be the last album to feature Lacey Sturm as the lead singer of the band back in 2012. The pain was even more profound when Flyleaf released their first album with new lead singer Kristen May in 2014, the obvious change in musical direction and lack of “grit and edge” which Lacey brought to the table left old fans of the band wanting more.
Life Screams in many ways is Lacey’s answer to that longing and so much more, standing as a reminder of the things we have missed and a sign of things to come.
“Impossible” kicks the album off and it’s clear that Lacey isn’t holding back. A track complete with mellow echoes, moving distorted vocals and full screams, Lacey introduces us to this album with a bang. Lyrically she talks about her life and the miracle of living and breathing each day, a subject most people can definitely relate and connect to. “The Soldier” starts off equally mellow but builds up into a head-banging chorus and is an overall beautiful song.
“I’m Not Laughing,” one of my personal favorites in the album, is a hit. It’s just one of those classic hard hitting tunes that strikes the right chords from start to finish, be it vocally, lyrically or instrumentally. “Vanity” is a short spoken word piece about love, and features the rapper Propaganda as the antagonist with Lacey playing the protagonist. It’s a beautiful piece and for me personally it’s the best surprise of the album. “Rot” continues the emotional pace of Vanity with Lacey’s gutsy vocals and awesome guitar riffs from her husband Joshua Sturm, and it’s arguably one of the heaviest songs on the album. “You’re Not Alone,” a song that begins with the sound of an EKG beeping, is probably the song on the album that carries the most emotional depth, the lyrics resonate through your very core as Lacey reminds us that no matter what it is we are going through we are never alone. “Feels Like Forever” is an alternative metal anthem that can stand toe to toe with some of the greats that we’ve come to love from bands like Skillet, Red and Pillar.
“Life Screams,” the title track, follows the path of ‘You’re Not Alone,’ emotionally starting with a piano ballad that transcends into Lacey delivering one of her most powerful mid tempo songs ever (Flyleaf included). “Faith” brings the emotions carried by Life Screams (the track) to a climax with Lacey delivering heart felt and tear provoking vocals particularly towards the end when she sings ‘I was divided, my heart was so confused; My heart’s a liar and I used to know the truth; I have decided, I’m gonna follow through; I wanna gamble and fall in love with you…’
“Roxanne (Live),” the live cover of the song by The Police, is one the best covers I’ve heard in a while. Playing with the arrangement and delivery of the original song, Lacey delivers a powerful rendition of the song with hypnotic mellow vocals in the verses and gut ripping yells in the chorus, particularly when she screams “ROXANNE”. Personally though, the star of the show for this song is Joshua Sturm gracing us with a guitar solo that made this cover one to remember. “Run To You” brings this beautiful album to a close, an acoustic number that talks about the love that God has for mankind (the prodigal son being a central theme) even when we stray away from him sometimes.
Life Screams is a truly solid album and Lacey proves to us that she was the lyrical and emotional backbone of Flyleaf as a band. Although the album doesn’t explore or try to create something extravagant and the progressions aren’t anything new, Life Screams still establishes itself as one of the best hard rock albums of the year, setting a pace that will be hard to beat.
As for Lacey Sturm, it’s quite clear that this is the beginning of a new chapter for her and she has proven that with or without her friends at Flyleaf, she continues to be one of the most relevant female voices in Modern Rock today.