MARK MORTON Says In-Progress LAMB OF GOD Music Is 'Exciting' and 'Fresh': 'It's Got An Awesome Energy To It'

March 2, 2019

LAMB OF GOD guitarist Mark Morton recently spoke with Carl O'Rourke of Metal Wani about his debut solo album, "Anesthetic". The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by Metal Wani and BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the fact that "Anesthetic" showcases different sides of his musical personality than his work with LAMB OF GOD:

Mark: "It was actually the point. That was the catalyst that kind of motivated [us], that we used behind the whole thing. It sort of grew organically. I write songs just because I write songs. A lot of those wind up being thrash metal songs, and some of those songs you hear in LAMB OF GOD, but then there's rock songs and '90s kind of grungy songs and more bluesy songs that I write that I don't really have a destination for. Those things started coming together and piling up a little bit, and I played a bunch of them for Josh Wilbur, my longtime producer, and that was kind of the beginning of the process. 'Anesthetic' was really just the destination... When I write, I hear something in my head, so I just kind of teach myself to play what I'm already hearing. Being a fan of lots of different styles of music and having a diverse set of influences, these are just representations of songs that I hear clanking around in my head, and types of music that I work on outside of what most people know me for."

On how the idea to write and record "Anesthetic" evolved over time:

Mark: "I didn't even know if this would end up seeing the light of day, honestly. The process [started with] developing the songs with Josh to see what they could turn into, and that became, 'Who could sing the song well?, and then reaching out to those people, and getting involved with Jake Oni, who got involved a little bit creatively as well. [We decided], 'Let's make this an official project. It's an album, but we'll have a bunch of different guests on it.' The monstrosity of organizing all that, that was the next two years."

On the process of choosing guest vocalists:

Mark: "It was really apparent from the start. It sounds like an easy way out to answer like that, but it really was. I couldn't hear anybody but Josh Todd singing 'Back From The Dead'. It was just such a sleazy kind of rock song — a real unapologetic rock song that needed a rock star singing it. He was the guy. 'Save Defiance' with Myles [Kennedy], to me, it sounds like it was written for him. It wasn't per se, but he's the only person we ever asked to sing that song. It was just tailor-made for his voice... In terms of the process, it was pretty much the same for all of them — Josh [Wilbur] and I would listen to the song and imagine who would sound best on that track, and then making the phone call."

On "Cross Off", which features late LINKIN PARK vocalist Chester Bennington:

Mark: "I guess it was delicate in some ways in terms of the process of bringing it to light given what happened. But in terms of my relationship to the song, when I hear 'Cross Off' I think of the experience we had making it. Although the subject matter is dark in places and pretty heavy duty, the process of us writing that and that sort of creative dialogue we had, and the vibe in the studio we had when we were writing it when we were trying ideas, when we were cutting it, was really, really positive and energized and super-motivated, and very genuine and trusting. It was a really cool experience, is what I'm trying to say. So, to me, it still holds that kind of light. I think of what an awesome experience it was to have the opportunity to work with Chester on that song and to write that song with him."

On the direction of the music that's in the works for the next LAMB OF GOD album:

Mark: "There's not much to say at this point. It's just a lot of song ideas. It's a lot of music that we've put together. I wouldn't call them songs yet — they're just pieces of music. It's a lot of what I call raw material, resource material. It feels really good. It's got an awesome energy to it. Some of it's really technical; some of it's grooving, like you would expect; but it's exciting. It sounds like LAMB OF GOD. It's exciting; it's fresh. It feels good."

"Anesthetic" was released on March 1 via Spinefarm. In addition to Bennington, Kennedy, Oni and Todd, the album features guest vocals by Randy Blythe (LAMB OF GOD),Alissa White-Gluz (ARCH ENEMY),Jacoby Shaddix (PAPA ROACH),Mark Lanegan, Chuck Billy (TESTAMENT),Mark Morales (SONS OF TEXAS),and Naeemah Maddox. Musically, Morton performs all guitars, with Roy Mayorga (STONE SOUR),David Ellefson (MEGADETH),Ray Luzier (KORN),Paolo Gregoletto (TRIVIUM),Alex Bent (TRIVIUM),Mike Inez (ALICE IN CHAINS),Jean-Paul Gaster (CLUTCH),Steve Gorman and Marc Paul rounding out the band.

For his upcoming tour in support of "Anesthetic", Morton recruited Morales, guitarist Doc Coyle (BAD WOLVES, ex-GOD FORBID),bassist Nick Villarreal (SONS OF TEXAS) and drummer Art Cruz (PRONG, WINDS OF PLAGUE, LAMB OF GOD). The 10-date trek, which kicks off March 13 in Richmond, Virginia, will be co-headlined by LIGHT THE TORCH and also feature openers MOON TOOTH.

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