The New Guitar Gods: Lamb of God
“Our goal with Sacrament was to make a record that takes the listener different places,” says Morton. “We wanted to prove to everyone, and also to ourselves, that while we are a heavy metal band, there are no limits to what we’re capable of accomplishing.”
For the new album, Lamb of God were afforded a relaxed timetable in which to create. It was a far cry from the recording process for Ashes of the Wake, during which Epic, eager to capitalize on their new signing (or perhaps anxious to determine if the pairing of major label and extreme metal would result in disaster), pressured the band to rush out a product. Sacrament’s unhurried schedule gave the band members, all of whom contribute to the writing process, liberty to explore ideas to a greater degree. “On the last record we were really under the gun, so we probably wouldn’t have even bothered with songs like ‘Redneck’ or ‘Descending,’ ” says Morton. “But this time we felt we could take some chances, because we knew that if something didn’t suit the band we simply wouldn’t use it. In the end, we were able to incorporate a lot of different sounds into the songs.”
And some of those sounds are indeed different. The guitarists appear ill at ease with discussing the, albeit sparingly employed, keyboards and orchestration on Sacrament, but in the few instances where these sounds are audible, the effect is dramatic. On the leadoff track, “Walk with Me in Hell,” a snaking single-note guitar line weaves in and out of an ominous drone to create a beautifully ethereal sound, while on “Again We Rise,” a blastbeat-style drum pattern and Blythe’s caustic vocal come together with an atmospheric keyboard pad in a chorus that sounds channeled straight from Scandinavia.
“I’ll admit that at first I was like, ‘We cannot have fucking keyboards on our record!’ ” says Adler. “It was a touchy subject. But the few moments where they are there only serve to add depth to the sound. It didn’t bum me out when I heard the final mix.”
“There are a lot of little subsonic touches going on that function to add mass to the songs,” adds Morton. “As a result, the record has a more dynamic sound, but without sacrificing any of the aggression. I think it really adds to the whole thing.”
Morton and Adler were equally open minded when it came to their guitar parts. The two composed some of their most hardhitting and inventive riffs for Sacrament, while also being conscious of playing in the service of the song, something that they had not always done in the past. “There have been a number of times where Willie and I have had to stop what we’re doing and say, ‘Is this a song we’re writing, or is it a guitar clinic?’ ” says Morton. “You start going off on these tangents, stringing all these crazy riffs together, and you lose sight of your goal. We have to remember that 98 percent of our audience does not play guitar or drums. It’s important for us to push the limits of our abilities as players, but we also have to keep in mind that the song is what’s most important.”
Artists:Lamb of God
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