It’s been yet another productive year for hard working Virginia group Lamb of God. After spending most of 2011 in the studio the hard work is all about to pay off. They have recently finished writing and recording their sixth studio album Resolution set for release in Australia on the 20th of January, and after a break in touring they’re about to hit the road again early next year. Their brand of groove metal has turned heads around the globe and over the last 10 years they have built a reputation as prolific songwriters evolving with every new release.
Bassist John Campbell is enjoying the last few weeks of 2011 spending time with his family, riding his beloved motorbike and steadily rehearsing for their forthcoming mammoth 2 year world tour. It’s an interesting time for the band, the anticipation of playing new material in front of thousands of fans is building and John is excited to finally get the music out there.
“It’s an odd time because we’re finishing a year off of the road. We finished in November 2010 then started to get together to rehearse and write the next album and now finally everything is done, record’s in the can. I really feel that we’ve got a great record to go out there and support. We do pretty well when we go out there and play so it’s gonna be an exciting run. This time it’s really cool because we really don’t know how our records going to be received. I know how I feel about the record and if the general public agrees with how I feel then I think we’re gonna do really well. Right now we’re kind of in limbo, we’re aiming at the target and getting closer to the point where we see some return on all this hard work we’ve been doing over the past year.”
It’s been 2 years since their last album Wrath hit the shelves and John feels that they are growing ever stronger as a group and the band couldn’t feel any more positive.
“I’m incredibly stoked on this record,” he says in a tone that travels across the airwaves with certainty. “I honestly feel that this is our best record. The songs are incredibly strong and we’re in a great place right now. We’ve proven ourselves up to this point and I really feel like this new record is as rockin’ and raw as Wrath would’ve been relative to Sacrament.
“I really feel like our song writing has stepped up and our playing has also stepped up. I feel like the person who has really stepped up on this record is Randy [Blythe] and that is going to be one of the biggest differences and one of the things that people really notice on this record.”
The inspiration for what they do so well stems from a love of music and in particular fast heavy music. John explains how the philosophies of their song writing came about, and their reasons for producing the kind of music they do.
“We’ve never got into this to be a commercial success, that was just a pleasant surprise that came along the way…Basically where we’ve come from as a band is that for the most part we grew up listening to heavy metal with Randy and myself being the exceptions. We both became converts shortly after reaching adulthood. I was into punk rock. I grew up in the D.C suburbs and there was a scene there called the D.C Hardcore scene. Bands like Minor Threat that later became Fugazi and a band called Kingface who are actually playing a reunion show in January. I actually never saw play when I was a kid but fucking loved all the records.”
It was a fast conversion for John into the world of heavy metal and a new love that quickly sought to fill a void. “It’s really about the fact that metal really used to fucking kill! Then Kurt Cobain came out and metal was sucking. Kurt Cobain basically wrung the neck of how fucking terrible metal had gotten as a whole. There were still bands that were kicking ass and putting out good music but it was not many people and that was kinda when we started. We thought, ‘Hey there’s very few good metal bands, lets do a fucking metal band that just fucking destroys.’ Heavy metal was a bad word back in the day and we had difficulties booking tours until we started calling ourselves punk metal and we’d call people up and say, ‘Hey, can we play your basement?’”
It’s been a long road from basement gigs to playing the biggest metal festivals all over the planet. With an intense touring schedule over the next 24 months John provided an insight into how the band prepares for being away from home for such long periods.
“When I rehearse at this point it’s all rehearsing on our own. We haven’t put together a set yet and we haven’t come together as a band to start rehearsing for the tour yet. We’ll be spending a lot of time with each other come January so we’re not rushing to go cram into a little room and make loud noise,” he says humorously.
“As I’m rehearsing now I’ll go in and play through the record a couple of times and hit the parts that are a little more difficult. I’ll make sure I have everything down and that’s basically my rehearsal routine at this point. Come January we’ll start getting together and make sure we all agree on how these songs are going and that nobody’s forgotten our favourite parts or anything.”
An avid gamer, John has had to tone down the rampaging and destruction of his younger days. “I have children now so the time available for gaming has gone way down, and I actually even got rid of my X-Box because my son was hanging out with me when I was playing. I was blowing up people and limbs were flying, so I had to stop playing those kind of games with him around. We do have a Wii now.” He stops to laugh. “I’m a great Wii bowler now! That said; I have gone over to friends houses who still have gaming systems and I can still pick up a joystick and hold my own at first person shooters, so don’t think I’m going soft on you.”
It’s at this point I asked John if there would ever be a Lamb of God game. He barely hesitated before answering. “Well years ago when we were Burn the Priest and the internet was in it’s absolute infancy we had a website on geocities. Someone had made a game completely unrelated called Burno the Priest. If I remember right you would shoot flaming pentagrams at priests as they came down the screen and you lit all these priests on fire…. Shit, if I could sit down with a game developer and start putting together a Lamb of God game that would be amazing. It would be a first person shooter with tonnes of explosions and cool shit to blow people up with!”
Lamb Of God release Resolution in Australia on January 20, through Roadrunner Records. They appear as part of the epic 2012 Soundwave Festival lineup and have scheduled a couple of headline sidewaves too. Tone Deaf recently gave fans a sneak peak at the new album with a clip for lead track “Ghost Walking.”