What’s with all the religious references? The name, the album titles…everything has some sort of religious connector!
It’s cliché for heavy metal to be evil and dark, and when we flipped the coin, the whole ‘Lamb Of God’ thing was our way of doing something a little less cliché. As time rolled on, we put so much into this. When we’re not on tour and when we’re at home, not writing a record, we practice five days a week, and this has become a religious act for us, this band. It’s a religious experience for us to be around each other writing music. A ‘sacrament’ is a rite of passage in a religion, and so is this record, for Lamb Of God.
Do you think metal fans will be turned off by the title, Sacrament, which has a religious connotation? Same goes for ‘Redneck.’ Will Southerners be pissed or do all Southerners embrace the term and what it means?
Heavy metal has always had the clichéd relationship with evil and religion. We did it the opposite way, not being evil as possible. We took an innocent symbolic name and set it to this type of growling, heavy music. It’s a religion of its own for us. We’ve gotten protests at shows, and we just do what we do because we love it. Someone is always going to walk around outside with their placard protesting us, and they can go to extremes to protest us, but nothing we’ve ever written has ever been meant to be pro or con about religion. We’re more political than religious. The redneck thing is hip today and that’s weird.
When D. Randall Blythe screams, ‘This is a mother fucking invitation,’ I feel glad to have received said invite. Are Lamb Of God inviting metalheads to stand up and be counted?
I see it coming across that way. For Randy, it was more of an awakening, for him, for himself, for the progress he has made in the past few years, waking up and understanding what he has in front of him and doing his best with it.
On As The Palaces Burn and Ashes Of The Wake, there was a political bent to the lyrics. You’ve stepped back from that on Sacrament. Was there some heat about those Bush-bashing type stances that Randy took while on-stage?
The last two records were politically driven records, lyrically speaking. We’ve already said that stuff. How many ways can you beat a dead horse? It wasn’t about heat we got for our opinions. We did get the backlash, which was fine with us. But with us, it’s the equivalent of putting a bumper sticker on your car. It’s an opinion.
Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and Lamb Of God all toured together on the first Headbangers Ball tour back in 2003. Now you’re the unholy trinity of metal. None of you sound alike, yet you’ve all broken out. What do you think that says about metal?
It’s great. When metal came back, it started to eat itself, because so many people cannot appreciate the growth of metal, and they want to pick on what’s not perfect to them. Some one might be in love with Suffocation and Deicide, and they think Lamb Of God and Shadows Fall are poufy bands and they hate us and think we’re not heavy enough. As metal comes back and people break out, it’s easy to hate. You become more of a target, not an underdog everyone roots for.
Everyone wants to overtake the guy on top and that’s unfortunate. Metal is coming back and it’s in a good space, and where it should be.
Your label is going for commercial radio airplay on ‘Redneck.’ It’s a ballsy move, because the track is so heavy.
They came to us early on and said we think we have a shot with ‘Redneck’ and we laughed. That’s your job, guys! If you think you can figure it out, great, but we’re not a radio band and as far as we’re concerned, it’ll flop. But if they make headway, I’m surprised, but happy.
Gigantour is next on your agenda—why did you choose to do that tour?
The album is just coming out and, when we started talking to Megadeth, we realized we could’ve gone out on our own as headliners, but we then thought it would be fun to team up with Megadeth and play with killer bands we all like on the main stage. Megadeth is a band that we’ve never played with over the last 12 years of Lamb Of God’s existence, surprisingly, and they influenced us growing up and it’ll be a blast to share the stage with those guys and get in front of new people to introduce the record and the band to them.
Lamb Of God have been the main support to Slayer, and now to Megadeth. Who is next?
We’re going to head overseas and then come home for the holidays and look at next year. We might head out on our own or do something really crazy. It’ll definitely be interesting.
Sacrament is available in stores now. Lamb of God will be appearing with Megadeth on Gigantour at PNC Bank Arts Center on Sept. 30. For more on the band, visit lamb-of-god.com