The blistering new self-title album from Lamb of God comes as a welcome respite in a year of pestilence and strife. Bassist John Campbell was kind enough to share a few minutes with us to talk about the new album and what it means to Lamb of God.
The new self-titled album is the first full album of new music in 5 years for Lamb of God. It also marks 20 years since Lamb of God’s first album entitled New American Gospel (technically their second album, but the first under the Lamb of God name).
I asked John if this new album felt like a defining moment in the history of the band. “I think it is for a number of reasons” replied John. “I think the timing of it is somewhat helpful in that you know a lot of people are very starved for content right now and I think we have put together an amazing record start to finish. This is honestly the strongest record that we have for me. We are at our best in songwriting, lyric writing, arranging, and production. We’ve put out a record of ten amazing songs; that alone is going to be a historic record for us. But it will also be a record that people look back to remembering the pandemic in the rearview mirror.”
As John mentioned, this is an album that is strong from start to finish. It can be hard to pick out a single song, but I figured it would not hurt to try and find out which song on the new album speaks to John Campbell. “I don’t have anyone song, there are just moments throughout. I can say to give you a good answer (laughs), the beginning of “Reality Bath” that riff…It’s my favorite riff on the record…on a record full of riffs”
As on other Lamb of God albums, the new album is packed with relevant social and political commentary. This comes through loud and clear on “Checkmate” and “Reality Bath”. I asked John if everyone is on the same page with the lyrical content of the music. John replied “I think we all lean the same way that in that we are compassionate, friendly people. We are not all identical in our thoughts, but in general, we lean the same way.”
The new Lamb of God album is the first with drummer Art Cruz. The band has known Art for some time and spent a good deal of time on the road together touring with Slayer. That said, I asked John if there was anything new that he learned about Art while recording the album. “I’m going to say there were no huge surprises. But what Art brings to the table in the studio and the record writing process is he is rock solid and he’s got hands, man. He’s got a technique in ways that we haven’t had access to before.”
The pandemic has been particularly hard on artists/musicians, road crews, venue staff, and sound crews from an economic perspective. Loss of ticket sales and merchandise have hit hard and there is a long road to travel. While there are organizations such as NIVA (National Independent Venue Association) and MusiCares trying to help those in the music industry, the short-term outlook is challenging to say the least. I asked John if the band is concerned with this severe economic downturn? “Yeah absolutely” replied John. He continues “It’s rough out there for a lot of people. And it’s a lot rougher some people than it is for me. There’s always a breaking point for everybody right? In the history of the band, we’ve had dark moments where who knew what was going happen. I don’t want to say that it is quite that desperate, but its creeping into familiar territory. At least having to look at things in a massive life-altering change sort of way. But I think everyone is looking down that barrel as this uncertain time that we’re in. It’s really unnerving and very frustrating to look at how the situation is going in our country versus the rest of the world.”
While touring is out of the picture for the near future, John mentioned that the band is currently focusing on promoting the new album. They also have some ideas in the works to provide new ways of presenting the music to the fans. As fans, we are grateful for the new Lamb of God music and look forward to the days ahead when we can once again rage in the pit with them.