Album review: Lamb of God – The Duke
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Even though it’s not exactly a desirable task, it would be impossible to talk about Lamb of God’s new EP, The Duke, without exploring its tragic backstory. Exactly a month before the mini-album is due to be released, lead singer Randy Blythe posted a video onto his band’s YouTube page, entitled “The Story of ‘The Duke’”. In it, he details his experiences with a fan-turned-friend called Wayne Ford. A sufferer of leukaemia, Ford first met Blythe in 2012 at a Lamb of God show. The two re-established contact in January 2015, speaking regularly and establishing a short but clearly genuine friendship before Wayne would go on to sadly lose his battle with cancer the month after. And so, nearly two years after Ford’s passing, Lamb of God will release their loving tribute to a fallen comrade. Comprised of two new songs with three live tracks, The Duke EP is a short but doubtlessly heart-warming love letter, peaking early with its opener and title track. The emotive song is a solemn lamentation upon mortality, possessing lyrics clearly inspired by the life and struggle of Ford. Despite the cut’s macabre tone, it is also bizarrely enjoyable hearing Lamb of God – a band infamous for embodying the intense, angry, “fuck you” punk rock ideology – take the more sombre route. For the first time in his career, the usually roaring Blythe utilises more clean vocals than he does abrasive shouts and the underlying, undistorted guitar adds an atmospheric edge to the verses, even when heavy, electric chugging is heard coming from the axe as well.
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