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LAMB OF GOD-1


LAMB OF GOD - Wake Up and Smell the Ashes

By Dr. Abner Mality




It looks the torch is being passed in the American metal scene. The great bands of the 80's such as Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament and the like, while far from throwing in the towel, are definitely looking at a new generation of hungry metal bands inspired by their exploits and looking to carve their own names into metal's hall of fame.

Judging by their performance at Ozzfest 2004 and the huge street buzz surrounding their latest record "Ashes of the Wake", I'd say Lamb of God has not only grabbed the torch, they've fanned it into a raging inferno!

No less than Epic Records has issued "Ashes" and apparently the label believes truly heavy music is a viable commodity...this record hasn't been watered down one bit. It's a brutal excursion into a bitter lyrical landscape, lorded over by the howling voice of singer Randall Blythe and the surgically precise guitar work of Willie Adler and Mark Morton.

Speaking of Mr. Willie Adler, the fret-killer was kind enough to answer a few questions about the phenomenal year Lamb of God is having...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Now that Ozzfest 2004 is history, what's your assessment of how it went? Was this the break-out event for Lamb of God?

WILLIE ADLER: It was an amazing experience, to be surrounded by a lot of the bands that I grew up listening to and to
share the stage with a lot of the bands that are our contemporaries was great. There was an incredible family vibe that permeated throughout the entire summer.


WC: Do you have any stories to relate about hanging with giants like Slayer, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath?

WA: Just the sheer fact, that it was very almost mind boggling that we got to be at "camp" so to speak with our idols for the whole summer. And it turned out that Bill Ward is a fan, and asked to hang with us, which was an amazing experience..

WC: I've just checked out "Ashes of the Wake" and this record to me does a great job of showing your roots but also making something original out of them. What was the gameplan for this record as compared to your other records?

WA: This record was the first record in which we were on a strict deadline to write and record, whereas the other records were not. This at first was a little daunting, but it put us in the mindset, and Epic afforded us the time in which all we did for 4 months was write and play music. We approached this record with a lot more trust in ourselves as artists and musicians, because we had no choice otherwise. The record once it started to flow, came together incredibly, and there is no other record that we could have made at this time in our careers.

WC: The phrase "ashes of the wake" appears several times in the lyrics of the album. What exactly does this phrase refer to?

WA: Ashes of the Wake refers to the fact that we went to war writing this record, non-stop writing and trying to outdo everything that we've done in the past, and when we were done, we were left with the ashes. It also is relative to our previous record. Once the palaces burn, you're left in the ashes of the wake.

WC: The album seems not only angry but really bleak as well. The song "The Faded Line" constantly repeats the word "hopeless". Does the band really feel things are hopeless? Does it do any good to vote or strive against the powers that be?

WA: You always have to fight the powers that be, and each song is a moment in time for us. The Faded Line is a snapshot, of a particular feeling when you just feel that you are absolutely powerless to control anything thats going on around you, similar to the feeling, I would imagine, of being stuck on the front lines of a raging war.

WC: "Now You've Got Something to Die For" is a brutal anti-war song. Do you feel there is any good way out of the mess in Iraq or that there is any good at all that can come out of this situation?

WA: War in the past has at times been a necessary evil with some exceptions, including Iraq. I don't believe there is a good way out of the mess that is Iraq. There are too many hot-headed people that feel that we have something to prove at this point, and I think that we are in far too deep.

WC: Are all the band members pretty united in their political and social opinions or is there some dissent in there? Have you gotten any flak for your lyrics from "up above"?


WA: There are some more than others that are more politically savvy in their opinions. I, myself, could really care less about politics. So there isn't really any dissent in the ranks, just stronger opinions than others. Flak from above? Not that I'm aware of.

WC: Alex Skolnick and Chris Poland do some guest work on the title track. How did you sign these guys up and what was it like jamming with them?

WA: Poland had worked with us on Palaces, so we just got back in touch with him to see if he was interested in working on the new record, and being a fan and a genuinely nice guy he obliged. Skolnick was kind of a shot in the dark. We got in touch with him and he loved what we were doing and gladly wanted to be a part of it. Poland never actually came to the studio, he sent his tracks via computer, but Skolnick came into the studio in Jersey where we were recording the drums. That was amazing, there were probably 9 of us crowded into this tiny control room no bigger than a gas station restroom watching him totally shred for like an hour. Definitely a highlight of my career and life.

WC: What's the songwriting process like for Lamb of God? Is it pretty intuitive and spontaneous or do you hash it out in painstaking detail?

WA: The songwriting is a little bit of both. We will definitely push ourselves to where there is no doubt in our minds about certain aspects of our material, and then there are a lot of times where songs will just flow out and we'll all know that its a keeper. Mainly myself and Mark will work on stuff while we're at home and bring it into practice to bounce back and forth between all of us.

WC: Randall's voice is so vicious and raw. How does he keep up that level of brutality on the road night after night?

WA: A lot of cheap beer, and three packs of cigarettes a day.

WC: "Omerta" is the Mafia's code of silence and you wrote a song with that title. What led you to write a song about this subject and are there several meanings you can take from the track?

WA: As far as several meanings, not necessarily, and Randy wrote the lyrics for this song first, so that is something that Randy felt he wanted to write a song about, but the music always comes before the lyrics, we don't write certain songs with the thought of lyrics in mind.

WC: What's been the highpoint so far for you in Lamb of God?


WA: The highpoint for us is the fact that we're all still here enjoying what we're doing, and we were able to make albums that we are all very proud of without any compromise.

WC: And the low point?

WA: The low point, I would have to say would be, as with anyone I'm sure, is the bigger you get the more stress that you have to deal with, which sometimes can intertwine itself into the inter-relationships of the band.

WC: What's the last record you got just for your own enjoyment?

WA: The most recent Outkast.

WC: What's the last show you saw just for your own enjoyment?

WA:Judas Priest, while we were at Ozzfest.

WC: Any Spinal Tap moments you'd like to share with us?

WA: Ridiculous events while we were in the van, such as going through a parking deck the wrong way and getting stuck on the mobile arm barrier.

WC: Any final messages for all the LOG-heads out there?

WA: Keep on LOG jammin'!!!!

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