A reinvigorated Lamb of God delivers new vibe on latest release

“Omens” follows the band’s wildly successful 2020 self-titled album that produced the mega-hit “Memento Mori” and ushered in a resurgence for the Richmond, Virginia, act.

SHARE A reinvigorated Lamb of God delivers new vibe on latest release
Lamb of God features Art Cruz (from left), Mark Morton, Randy Blythe, Willie Adler and John Campbell.

Lamb of God features Art Cruz (from left), Mark Morton, Randy Blythe, Willie Adler and John Campbell.

Travis Shinn

In the evolving journey of metal outliers Lamb of God, there has been one constant — they really don’t know how to put out a bad album. Their ninth, “Omens” (out Oct. 7), stays the course.

Full of beautifully brutal riffs, dynamically plush layers, aggressive backlines and the eloquent fury of frontman Randy Blythe on tracks like “Nevermore,” the album is already edging a spot on many projected “best of the year” lists.

“Omens” follows the band’s wildly successful 2020 self-titled album that produced the mega-hit “Memento Mori” and ushered in a resurgence for the Richmond, Virginia, act after a five-year lapse in between albums. The five-piece group, which also includes guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, bassist John Campbell and drummer Art Cruz, have continued that momentum on the latest work.

Lamb of God

LAMB OF GOD

When: 5:30 p.m. Sept. 24

Where: Aragon, 1106 W. Lawrence

Tickets: Sold out

Info: livenation.com

“There’s a more present, a more compassionate, a more engaged group of dudes that are really happy to be where we’re at. We’ve been through a lot individually and as a band. So we are able to kind of breathe now and just enjoy making music together,” said Morton in a recent conversation from his home in Richmond, where the band historically has gathered to rehearse. .

Since forming as a college project in the early ’90s originally named Burn the Priest, Lamb of God has been a true blood, sweat, and tears DIY affair that broke through barriers on the road to becoming one of the most important and elemental metal acts of the new age.

Though they’ve been banned by some venues after pressure from religious groups (a name like Lamb of God isn’t getting off unscathed), endured Blythe’s crushing international trial after an incident at a Prague concert resulted in a fan’s accidental death (Blythe was acquitted on manslaughter charges) , and survived hiatuses and band-member swaps, Lamb of God has emerged even more influential and revered. They’ve topped Billboard charts and critics’ lists, received RIAA gold certifications and Grammy nominations, and even have an exclusive cassette release at Urban Outfitters, a pinnacle moment, joked Morton, especially for an extreme act.

On “Omens” they have branched out yet again, this time opting to track the album live together in L.A.’s Henson Recording Studios (the once-famed A&M Studios).

”What it did was gave us a very energized performance on the record … there’s a certain magic that happens when you really all vibe,” Morton shared. Sure, there are little mistakes and idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies, “but that’s kind of character stuff and I think it gives the whole record its own kind of identity that I really appreciate.”

Though he doesn’t necessarily agree with Blythe’s take that “Omens” is an “extremely pissed-off record,” as the singer has called it. “I don’t share that feeling about the record, and that’s not to take anything away from Randy’s perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed making this record, and while I can very easily be upset or unsettled about plenty of things going on in the world that we all see, I can also turn those things off,” said Morton. “But I think Randy felt like this was a time to really dig into some of the things he was seeing around him, and I like that he is paying attention to what he’s doing.”

Morton has also been very open about his battles with addiction and the recovery process; on Sundays his Twitter account is a place for gratitude messages — always among them, thanks for another day of sobriety.

When Lamb of God returns to Chicago this week for one of its legendary live shows at the Aragon, it’ll be a homecoming of sorts for Morton.. For a brief period, he was enrolled in graduate studies in international relations at Roosevelt University while working as a line cook at The Chicago Diner and spending downtime at Lounge Ax or Big Horse in Wicker Park.

“I dropped out of graduate school. My grades were good, I’m happy to point out, but my heart was in music. I had quit Burn the Priest back home to go to school, and they were still doing their thing. When I’d come back for a visit, I’d see that they were doing so much and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I figured I can always go to school. But I want to be in a band … and it worked out for me.”

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