Cancer is a scary and dominant disease. I know this on a personal level just based on the family I have lost due to it, but also for the family that has survived it. So when given the chance to review Lamb Of God’s new EP “The Duke”, with the title track’s subject matter being about a fan of the band with terminally ill leukemia , I found the subject matter compelling.
Wayne Ford is the man that the song is dedicated to. Vocalist Randy Blythe first encountered the man while he was receiving treatments for the disease and paid tribute to him on stage at the particular show he attended. After a few years, Blythe was put back in contact with the man to lift his spirits after he was informed that Ford had become terminal with the disease. After striking up a friendship and being in contact with each other in his final days, Blythe decided to write “The Duke” as not only a tribute to his fallen friend, but as a reminder that cancer is a fierce animal, and more awareness needs to be given to bone marrow donations so that patients are given a better chance for survival.
And with that, the song was born out of this unfortunate story, but with this new material comes a chance to tell a new story about how we can all increase awareness. As far as the musical component of the song goes, Blythe’s clean vocals are showcased, making me think he should incorporate this style into much more of the band’s future music as it’s a very nice contrast to his hellish sounding growls. The song has more of a straight-ahead groove than the more technical aspect that the band incorporate usually. It’s a great song.
The other original song included on the EP is “Culling”, which is a more technical song than the first; a great pummeling and fist-pounding track that would sound perfect inserted into one of their live sets. And speaking of live, the final three tracks are comprised of live material. “Still Echoes” is performed from the “Rock Am Ring” festival, and “512” and “Engage The Fear Machine” are performed from “Bonnaroo”. All three songs are played with the usual high intensity that the band is known for, and shows further proof about why they’re one of the more rousing live acts going these days.
So with the knowledge that we just received some new music from the group to be excited about, let’s not forget the reason we were treated to them, and that’s because of the impact that Mr. Wayne Ford had on Blythe. R.I.P Wayne, I’m sure you’d be incredibly happy with this tribute to your life and fight if you were still here with us.
01. The Duke
03. Still Echoes (Live from Rock am Ring)
04. 512 (Live from Bonnaroo)
05. Engage The Fear Machine (Live from Bonnaroo)
Playing time: 22:14
Release date: 18 November, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast
Website: Official Lamb Of God Website