Under The Influence #72: Chapfallen on “Sacrament” by Lamb of God!

By the time 2006’s fifth studio record “Sacrament” arrived from Lamb Of God, the Richmond Virginia quintet were on the crest of a wave. Their growing reputation had been cemented by their highly critically acclaimed first major label release “Ashes of the Wake“, which to this day has their best sales figures, going gold in the US and Canada, so when it came to hit the studio two years on front that there was a certain amount of pressure. No doubt that when the label chiefs heard single “Redneck” and the igniting of some inner Pantera in Lamb Of God, they knew they had been right to back them. After all, it was nominated in the Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance in 2007.

Chapfallen comment: ““Sacrament” is one of those albums that finds regular rotation on our collective playlists, and for good reason. To us, it is the quintessential Lamb of God album and contains much of what inspires us as songwriters: catchy hooks, heavy grooves, and sweeping melodic passages. Take “Walk With Me in Hell” as an example – the intro, and indeed the track in general, is deceptively simple, but serves to highlight the balance between the playing styles of Willie Adler and Mark Morton, and sets up the listener for the signature Lamb of God groove that arrives immediately after – it goes to show that you don’t need to be super flashy to prove a point. This is something that we were keen to explore on our EP “The Art of War”. By their own admission, Mark and Willie had to work hard to develop what they call ‘a good guitar relationship’ where neither is trying to overpower the other, but working together, bending to each other, to give the songs what they need. Much of “Sacrament” is a sensory beating that refuses to let you go, and that’s helped by the incredible vocal talents of Randy Blythe, who for “Sacrament” had learned to pitch his screams properly to add a musical layer, rather than just be another percussive instrument. If you’ve listened to us already, you probably know we’ve got two vocalists – the aim being to bounce off each other in an interesting and musical way – and Max would be the first to tell you that Randy is one of his main influences in that regard. There’s also no denying that some of the songs on “Sacrament” are deeply personal; the lyrics are just as dark if you start to dig in to the metaphors, and the album sounds much more mature as a result. Personal songs provide something that the audience can relate to and add a certain level of realism. We took notice of that. Three of five songs on the EP deal with Tom’s own battles with depression because our ultimate aim is to help raise awareness of that silent killer. Granted, “Sturm und Drang” is a better representation of writing songs about horrific experiences, but Randy is an extremely talented writer who deserves all the credit he gets (seriously, check out his book “Dark Days” if you want to see what we mean). All in all, “Sacrament”, is a big album for us, for different reasons, but it is easy to see the clear influence that it has had on our writing so far, and will continue to do so for years to come.

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