Lamb of God dedicates new EP to fan who waged courageous battle with cancer

Since debuting in 1999 as Burn the Priest, the Richmond, Va.-based metal band Lamb of God has upheld metal’s “intrinsic values of honesty, intensity and creativity while also daring to push boundaries and think outside the heavy box,” according to an official band bio. The group’s eight studio albums, one live LP, and one compilation album have amassed cumulative sales equal of nearly two million units. The five-piece of Randy Blythe (vocals), Mark Morton (guitar), Will Adler(guitar), John Campbell (bass), and Chris Adler (drums) has also earned five Grammy nominations and picked up five Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in the categories of Best Live Band, Best Album, and Best International Band.

Lamb of God was plagued by a period of inactivity following the release of 2012’s No. 1 LP Resolution. The disruption in production stemmed from Blythe being arrested in the Czech Republic on charges involving an incident at a 2010 show in Prague. A 19-year-old fan attempted to climb on-stage and hit his head after being pushed by the lead singer. The man died of complications from the injury and Blythe spent more than a month in jail before being found not criminally liable.

The resulting downtime inflicted psychological and financial difficulties on the band, which Blythe chronicles in his memoir, “Dark Days.” It also served as the inspiration behind Lamb of God’s 2015 LP, VII: Sturm und Drang, which is a German phrase meaning “Storm and Stress.” Ironically, it was another fan-related incident that prompted Blythe and Lamb of God to regroup and issue a follow up project titled, The Duke—a five-track EP via Nuclear Blast/Epic Records.

The title track was written in honor of a late friend and fan of Lamb of God named Wayne Ford, who was named after Western movie icon John “The Duke” Wayne. “A little while ago I became friends with a fan named Wayne Ford—he was terminal—[with] leukemia,” writes Blythe in a message to fans posted on “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,” states the singer about the track that’s currently No. 43 on the Mediabase Active Rock airplay chart, and No. 40 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart.

When Blythe learned Ford had succumbed to the disease in February 2015, he began to write the lyrics to ‘The Duke.’ “Some of the lyrics for ‘The Duke’ arose from things Wayne had said to me, others from a conversation I had with his wife, and some just from my own head,” he says. The other tracks from the EP include ‘Culling,’ which was previously unreleased on Lamb of God’s 2009 album, Wrath. The three live cuts are from VII: Sturm Und Drang and were recorded at Bonnaroo (‘512,’ ‘Engage The Fear Machine’) and Germany's Rock am Ring Festival (‘Still Echoes’).

Lamb of God is preparing to appear at upcoming summer festivals including Rock Fest in Cadott, Wis. (July 15); Rock USA in Oshkosh, Wis., with Korn, Avenged Sevenfold, Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Stone Sour, Slayer, The Pretty Reckless, and others (July 13-15); and at Chicago Open Air in Bridgeview, Ill., with Korn, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Seether, Megadeth, Rob Zombie, Godsmack, Stone Sour, Slayer, and others (July 14-16).

Listen to the official audio for the title track from the Lamb of God EP, The Duke.

As A Matter of Fact…

* Lamb of God initially came out of Richmond, Va., as the band Burn the Priest, but decided on a name change following the 1999 release of a self-titled debut. Lead vocalist Randy Blythe, guitarists Mark Morton and Will Adler, bassist John Campbell, and drummer Chris Adler formally launched Lamb of God in 2000 with the album, New American Gospel.

* The group embarked on a movement as the “New Wave of American Heavy Metal” that included the “raw savagery” of 2003’s As The Palaces Burn, the “immaculate” 2004 follow-up, Ashes Of The Wake, and the “widescreen pomp and melodic intricacy” of 2006’s Top 10 Billboard 200 entry, Sacrament.

* By 2009, Lamb of God was one of the biggest metal bands on the planet, establishing a juggernaut of festival appearances and a series of Top 5 albums that included Wrath (2009), Resolution (2012), and VII: Sturm und Drang (2015).

* A three-disc retrospective titled Hourglass appeared in June 2010 before Lamb of God settled down to record new material with producer Josh Wilbur for Resolution. The album went to No. 1 on the Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums, Top Rock Albums, and Top Tastemaker Albums charts. It also peaked in the Top 5 of the Billboard 200.

* Lamb of God has released eight studio albums, one live album, one compilation album and three DVDs. The band's cumulative sales equal nearly two million in the U.S. alone and includes the gold-selling Ashes of the Wake.

* The band has earned five Grammy nominations and picked up five Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in the categories of Best Live Band, Best Album, and Best International Band.

* Lamb of God has toured extensively including twice with Ozzfest and appearances at Bonnaroo, Download, Sonisphere, Soundwave, Mayhem, Gigantour, and as part of Metallica's World Magnetic Tour.

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