The New Guitar Gods: Lamb of God
The two guitarists recorded their parts at Sound of Music studios in Richmond; the drums had been tracked previously in New York, while Blythe added his vocals last, working with Machine at the producer’s studio, the Machine Shop, in New Jersey. Morton employed a variety of guitars at the sessions, including his “worn-out” 1975 Les Paul Goldtop, a Jackson Swee-tone and his new Jackson signature guitar, a short-scale model based on the Swee-tone body design. Adler, who has for much of his career been associated with Framus guitars, recently began a relationship with ESP and used the company’s Eclipse Custom model to track his parts on Sacrament. The two guitarists recorded their parts direct, using Line 6’s Amp Farm plug-in, and then “reamped” the tracks with a variety of amplifiers, including a Mesa/Boogie Mark IV, a Mesa/Boogie Stiletto and an Orange, as well as a SansAmp. Two basic rhythm tracks were recorded for each song, panned to the left and right, with the guitarist who wrote the riffs playing both passes. “It’s easier that way,” says Adler. “So on ‘Redneck,’ which Mark brought in, he recorded all the riffs, while everything on, say, ‘Again We Rise,’ is my guitar.”
“It’s not really necessary to do more than a few rhythm tracks per song,” adds Morton. “Sometimes too many guitars can have the effect of taking away from the mass. They muddy up the clarity, or cancel each other out.”
Both guitarists added various fills and overdubs to the tracks, with the majority of the traditional solos being handled by Morton. “Willie takes the lead of ‘Forgotten,’ but I think I did all the others,” he says. “We very deliberately tried to include more solos on this one. Rather than come up with some little riff or arrangement, we were just like, ‘Fuck it, let’s put a solo here.’ We didn’t want to be timid about it.”
“We didn’t hold anything back on this record,” sums up Adler. “Maybe sometimes we had to keep ourselves in check and not step too far out, but the bottom line is that we’re always growing as individual musicians and also as a band. The dynamics within the group are constantly changing, and this record is a snapshot of where we’re at right now. It really is a statement of who we are.” Sacrament is quite a statement, one that Adler confidently calls the band’s “best work.” And while the guitarists recognize that, major labels and arena tours aside, playing extreme metal for a living is not exactly the best path to mainstream success—“We ain’t Linkin Park, that’s for sure,” says Morton— Sacrament may very well be the album that transforms Lamb of God from “big metal band” to just plain big.
Which is all well and good, but not, says Morton, the ultimate goal. “We appreciate everything that has happened to us, but first and foremost we’re in this to be musicians and to be creative. Hearing thousands of people scream your songs back at you in an arena is not something we take for granted, but we talk about our earliest gigs the same way we talk about playing Ozzfest. It’s all equally significant. Just the fact that the five of us get to play music together for a living is enough.”
“It’s the best job in the world,” adds Adler. “It’s not exactly glamorous, and it’s not always easy, but it sure as hell beats any other job I’ve ever had.”
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Artists:Lamb of God
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