Lamb of God need no introduction really. They are a very popular band that have been releasing metal of a very high quality since 1994 when they originally formed as Burn the Priest. They have released 8 studio albums since then along with a plethora of other releases like live albums and DVDs and toured the world relentlessly as headliners and even supporting bands like Metallica on their World Magnetic Tour.
This song, though, is very different to what you would expect from Lamb of God and for very good reason too. Lead singer Randy Blythe explained the reasoning behind the track in the following statement – “A little while ago I became friends with a fan named Wayne Ford – he was terminal – leukemia. I talked with him often, even video chatted him into the studio. He was very calm about his impending death, and we discussed it very openly. I learned a lot from him. This song is for him.”
So while it is a step change for Lamb of God in that it is nearly completely sung with clean vocals and at a more sombre, and slower, tone then you would expect, you should be able to understand why and appreciate that this is not necessarily a Lamb of God track per se and is more of a one off, tribute to someone who meant an awful lot to the band.
The song itself is around 4 and a half minutes long and starts with a soft melody being played on guitar before kicking in with a really catchy riff and some fantastic drum work from Chris Adler. The verses start with some great shredding sounding guitars before cutting to a slow, and low toned, bass line over Randy’s soft singing. It is different for them, but I like it. It sounds good and the lyrical content is clear to hear and clearly very emotional. The bridge is screamed in rage, and perhaps more typical of the band but suits the building verses perfectly before returning to clean vocals for the chorus. The music pace and volume picks up in the chorus, as does the octave of the vocals and it is quite catchy though not really inspirational, other than in lyrical meaning. The second verse follows the same pattern as the first, as does the bridge and the chorus. It isn’t setting the world alight for creativity but it really is a good song and Adler’s drumming is really standing out with some exceptional fills and rhythms. As the second chorus ends to a drawn out guitar note, Randy comes in with screams over more shredding before it breaks down into a really cool, high pitched guitar solo over more exceptional drumming. The solo leads back into the chorus again with that cool little riff and that is played through to the end.
So, it is difficult to judge a piece of music purely on the music when it is created for such a heart wrenching reason. The last thing you want is to not enjoy it and to have to review it negatively. Thankfully, that is not the case here. Yes, it is different but how could it not be with the reasons behind the track? I liked it a lot. There are moments where the music feels a little uninspiring but in each of these places, and throughout, there was something exceptional happening whether it was a little shredding, some amazing drumming, a solo or just the lyrical content. I imagine this to be a very welcome tribute to someone that meant a lot to the band and you can’t help but feel that Randy needed this track more than anybody else in the world.
One of the things I have always loved about metal, more than anything, is the emotional content of the lyrics written by many bands and this is more poignant than many. It is a very good song, all round.
The Duke, the track, will also feature on a new EP also called The Duke which is to be released through Nuclear Blast on November the 18th and can be pre ordered from here – Pre order The Duke
In conjunction with The Duke EP release, Lamb of God will be auctioning items with all proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (WWW.LLS.ORG). Keep an eye on their Facebook for details but check out the website above, they will always appreciate publicity and donations.
Check out the track yourself here on their official YouTube channel – The Duke by Lamb of God
Give Lamb of God a Like or Follow over on Facebook for more info on the new EP here – Lamb of God on Facebook
Remember, support your metal or risk losing it!
The Duke by Lamb of God (The Duke EP)
The Final Score - 8/10
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