Lamb of God: Year of the Thrash

Originally published in Guitar World, Holiday 2008

Guitar World talks with Lamb of God's Mark Morton.

In the final months of 2008, the talk of the heavy metal world has been the return of Metallica. But from the looks of it, 2009 will belong to Lamb of God. The Richmond, Virginia–based neo-thrash masters are currently in the studio laying down tracks for their fifth studio album, scheduled for release on Epic in February. The follow-up to 2006’s Grammy-nominated Sacrament, the as-yet-untitled album is hotly anticipated, and not only by the band’s fans.

“We’re champing at the bit to record the new stuff,” says guitarist Mark Morton. “It’s exciting to put the mics up in front of the cabinets, get some nice guitar tones and lay it all down. We can’t wait.”

Lamb of God—which also includes guitarist Willie Adler, singer Randy Blythe, bassist John Campbell and drummer Chris Adler—have been tracking the disc with producer Josh Wilbur (Limp Bizkit, Steve Earle) at various studios in New York City, Virginia Beach, New Hampshire and their hometown of Richmond. And while Morton says it’s too early in the process to reveal album or song titles, he’s more than happy to discuss the overall sound of the new material.

“Sonically, we go to a lot of interesting places on this record,” he says. “But the word that keeps coming to my mind is ‘thrash.’ There are a lot of thrash-inspired riffs in these songs. And while that’s always been a big part of our sound, so has the modern stuff. But this time there’s a real big Bay Area thrash influence that’s pretty undeniable to me, and that’s cool, because that music was the catalyst for me ever wanting to play heavy metal guitar in the first place.”

That said, it stands to reason that Morton is particularly excited for Lamb of God’s upcoming tour with the biggest of the Bay Area thrashers. After finishing up in the studio, the band will spend the month of December supporting Metallica on a portion of their U.S. jaunt.

“We’ve performed shows with nearly every band that influenced us,” Morton says. “Metallica is one of the few we haven’t played with. This is some dream-come-true kinda shit.”

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