Lamb Of God are one band that certainly haven’t been wasting their time during the covid-19 lockdown. While their fans have eagerly been anticipating the release of the groove metal outfit’s brand new, self-titled album on May 8th the band themselves have used the opportunity to drop two singles.
Titled “Checkmate” and “Memento Mori” the singles have shown that this album may well be some of the band’s best work. That is also something that seems to shine through when lead guitarist Mark Morton sits down to chat about what fans can expect from Lamb Of God.
“”Checkmate” is one of the first singles that we are going to release off the new album,” he says. “I really love that song because musically I think it represents really everything that Lamb Of God does. It has that real trademark Lamb Of God sound with the groove and the acrobatic guitars in place. It has that in places but it also has the real groove in places and it has that swagger that I feel that a lot of our songs have.”
“But I think it also sounds very fresh… it sounds very modern,” he says after pausing to think about the track for a moment. “It does all those I said musically but it does them in a way that I think sounds really fresh… it is the only way I can explain it. And I think some of that comes from the energy of our new drummer, I think there is a new energy amongst the band. So I think that when there is a new energy among the members those members then make music with a new energy. I think it is really hard to put into words, but when people hear it they will really understand.”
As Morton continues to talk about “Checkmate” he also reveals that there is a deep meaning behind the song’s lyrics. “Lyrically it is one of those political songs,” he explains. “Randy and I wrote it together and it kind of just addresses the current state of affairs in the U.S of A.”
That new member that Morton talks about is Art Cruz who has previously played with Prong, Klogr and is also the current drummer for Winds Of Plague. “Art is our new drummer,” says Morton proudly. “He has probably been with us now for two years and he had been playing with us for about a year or maybe a year and a half before he was officially made a member. So in that sense he was already here and we had already known him for years. You know originally he came to fill-in for Chris (Adler – the band’s former drummer) who was unable to keep up with what we were doing – tour wise and with the obligations that we had. Things worked out the way that they did and Art was already there and doing a great job so he became an official member.”
“So the writing process was great,” he goes onto to say as he begins to talk about Art’s influence on the new album. “It reminded me just how exciting what we get to do as a band really is. To see Art have these experiences at this level for the first time and to see how enthusiastic and excited he is about it it kind of makes it new for me again as well. To see that excitement, his curiously and how mesmerised he is about the process… not that he is completely green… but at this level he was really excited about what we were doing so it was really fun to watch and to be part of. And of course he absolutely slayed it on the drums as well so that was a thrill for me to watch as well.”
With that much excitement around the band as they recorded their new material there is little wonder that the music has turned out as good as what tracks like “Memento Mori” have. “That is actually the first track on the album,” says Morton with a laugh. “And it is so dramatic. It kind of opens up with this really Gothic sounding intro with this really slow build. I had that piece of music laying around for a long time, I had that chord progression and that into specifically and I had tried a number of different things with it on my own. I’d been in my home studio doing demos and trying to make it work and we were towards the end of our writing sessions for this album and we were kind of at a point where we were like ‘is there anything else we should be looking at, is there anything missing, is there anything else we want to try and address?’ and then I was like ‘man, I have this piece of music that I have been toiling over for a couple of years now.’”
“I think I may have even played it for them before,” he goes to explain. “And they had been like ‘cool.’ But we had never really looked at it so this time I was like ‘I think we really need to look at this because I think it is really cool.’ Then when I brought it up they were like ‘wow this is cool’ and then kind of on the spot as soon as I played it for them I had an idea for the next riff and then Josh was like ‘what about that other really cool riff from that other song that we aren’t going to use.’ Then we started to put all the pieces together and then it wrote itself pretty quickly seeing that it had been laying around for a few years. Randy’s vocal performance on it is amazing, it is actually one of my favourites that he has ever done… it is really cool… it is really haunting.”
When a band is this excited about their new album you know that they have created something really special so don’t be surprised if Lamb Of God is one of the album’s of the year.
Lamb Of God is released on May 8th.