Following on from the release of last year’s excellent Resolution, and a crushing run at Soundwave Festival, Virginian metal titans Lamb Of God endured what turned out to be the band’s most eventful year of existence. The album’s touring cycle was fractured by the arrest of frontman Randy Blythe (the details of which have been covered to the point of exhaustion), but is now back in full swing following his subsequent acquittal. As such, Lamb Of God are returning to Australia this September along with contemporaries Meshuggah. Long-serving guitarist Mark Morton runs us through the band’s upcoming filmic vision (named As The Palaces Burn, after the band’s 2003 album), Lamb Of God’s legacy, and the global resonance of metal in general.
“[The film] really just follows us along what wound up being a very, very eventful tour cycle for Resolution,” explains Morton. “It picks up with the idea that the band is going to some pretty exotic places in different parts of the world that not a lot of bands go to, and doing character studies on a series of people and the impact that heavy metal in general has on their lives. The film evolves into a more candid look into some of the things going on with the band.”
As well as featuring selections from the band’s canon, the documentary will showcase original score compositions from Morton. “There’s certainly some Lamb Of God music in there, because of the fact it shows us on tour. I would say I composed and performed most, not quite all, of the original music for the score. It was different, which is why it was such an exciting project for me. You’re not writing a heavy metal song, you’re really setting the mood for a scene … It’s really a different approach than anything I’ve done before, which is why I got so much out of it.”
The film articulates how Lamb Of God’s music, and metal in general, has resonated with fans from all reaches of the globe. “There’s a scene in the film where they’re talking to fans outside and around the show in India. And you see parents with their children, young people in their late teens and early 20s, who have travelled 24 hours, 36 hours on trains to get to this show. I’ve watched it a couple of times and honestly tears well up in my eyes, because it’s just so incredibly overwhelming to think that someone so far away, that I would have never otherwise come into contact with, are such big fans and are so connected”.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the album As The Palaces Burn. While the band is at the stage of the career where they can contextualise their body of work with such milestones, Morton doesn’t feel the need to dwell. “A few years ago was the tenth [anniversary] of New American Gospel, and then we’ll have the tenth anniversary of Ashes Of The Wake. But we’re still making records, goddammit. It’s cool to recognise and acknowledge those records, but at the same time, I think our best record is Resolution. And that just came out, what, a year and a half ago? But I’m still proud of the work that we did ten years ago … I’m proud that we continue to evolve and just get better as a band. How long can that go on? I dunno. Most of us are in our 40s now. I don’t know what the future holds for us.”
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK