Mark Morton

Live Review: Lamb of God & Killswitch Engage at YouTube Theater

Over the years as an avid concert goer I’ve seen so many bands and shows. My very first concert was in 1989. I was almost 5 years old when I went to that show (my birthday was only a couple weeks after I attended the show) and from that point I was hooked. 30 plus years later and I’ve seen some of the best bands in the world put on some of the best shows I’ve ever seen. One day I will actually sit down and try to put together a list of my absolute top ten shows I’ve ever been to. Through the years as my tastes have changed, I’ve not gone to see certain bands for many different reasons. Most of the time it’s because I don’t really like all the bands on the bill and don’t want to sit through things I won’t enjoy. I’ve already done and sat through enough opening bands in my life. During the whole world shut down, I started to go back and listen to a few bands that I haven’t listened to in a while and things started to shift for me. One of the bands I went back to was Lamb Of God. It was right around the time that they released their self titled album that I went back and delved into their catalog again. By doing so it revitalized me into a fan again. I’ll admit they had lost me a bit for a couple albums. Anyways, their self titled brought me back into the fold but, when I heard the first few songs released off their latest album, I knew what I had to do and that was go see Lamb Of God live again for the first time since 2008.

Lamb Of God are without a doubt one of the best live bands around today. Their most recent tour and stop in Los Angeles proved that. Riding high on the release of their savage and wicked album, Omens, Lamb Of God delivered one hell of a show. When the black curtain rose to cover the stage with just the band name on it and the beginning of “Memento Mori” starting, the excitement from everyone in the venue hit a level of anticipation that was about to explode, and as soon as that curtain dropped and the song kicked in, IT WAS ON! “Walk With Me In Hell” followed by “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For” absolutely kicked the audience into high gear. What a way to start the show. Through the course of the night, new songs like “Nevermore” and “Omens” were stunning to hear and live they are a whole other beast. The older songs played like “11th Hour,” “Vigil,” and “Ruin” were played with such precision and intensity that you’d think they were new songs. Other classics like “Laid To Rest” and “Omerta” were more than welcomed by the audience who seemed to get louder with each song that was played. Through the 80 minutes that Lamb Of God was on stage, they not only put it all out there, there was a definitely a renewed sense of being. The addition of Art Cruz on drums is the spark that they needed. His energy is contagious and it was found in each and every member of the band. As I mentioned before, it had been a while since I had seen Lamb live, and I’m sure glad I came back to it. Randy Blythe is one of the best frontmen. The way he takes over a crowd and has them in the palm of his hand is uncanny. His vocals have gotten better and better! Mark Morton and Willie Adler are one of the best guitar duos in the game. Both have their own style and together it makes for something quite intriguing. John Campbell is an underrated gem. His thunderous tone matches with the hard hitting and super energetic playing of Art Cruz. The five of them together have found their groove and I can’t wait for what they do next.

Joining Lamb Of God on this tour was Killswitch Engage. It’s been about ten years since I’ve seen them live and they were just as good as the last time. One of the best things about Killswitch live is that they always seem to have a good time and that filters out to the audience as well. Their set list was full of sing along songs that had the crowd singing louder than the band at times. Especially with “The End Of Heartache,” “My Curse,” “Rose Of Sharyn,” and “In Due Time.” I did hope for some more songs off of Alive Or Just Breathing but, that’s ok. We did get Howard Jones to come out at the end to join the band for “The Signal Fire” off of the bands most recent album, Atonement. Killswitch was a great band to have before Lamb destroyed.

This tour with both Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage was a really fun throwback to when they both started to come up in the early 2000’s. I remember seeing both bands back in 2003/2004 and was totally into it. Now here we are quite a few years later and both bands are still alive and kicking ass. I’m interested to hear what Killswitch does next. I’d love to hear them branch out a bit and explore some new ideas. Lamb Of God’s new album, Omens, is their best in years. It feels like a new band again. Plus I have to say it again, Art Cruz brought new life into this band that was in need of it. I would gladly go see Lamb Of God again.

Review By: Brian Lacy

Photos (except the LOG Banner) By: Gregory Flack

Lamb Of God Photos:

Lamb Of God Set List:

01) Memento Mori
02) Walk With Me In Hell
03) Now You’ve Got Something To Die For
04) Resurrection Man
05) Nevermore
06) Ruin
07) 11th Hour
08) Omerta
09) Omens
10) Contractor
11) 512
12) Ghost Walking
13) Vigil
14) Laid To Rest
15) Redneck

Killswitch Engage Set List:

01) Strength Of The Mind
02) This Is Absolution
03) Rose Of Sharyn
04) To The Sons Of Man
05) Unleashed
06) The Crownless King
07) Hate By Design
08) Know Your Enemy
09) My Curse
10) This Fire
11) The End Of Heartache
12) In Due Time
13) Holy Diver (Dio Cover)
14) The Signal Fire (with Howard Jones)

Album Review: Lamb Of God- Omens

Lamb Of God are one of those bands that when you hear them, you know it’s them. There is such a distinctive sound to them that it is quite recognizable. Throughout their career they’ve found what works for them and doesn’t. Their 2020 self titled album saw a member change and the resulting album while good was a very safe introduction to Art Cruz becoming a full time member. Now, in 2022, Lamb Of God has thrown that safeguard away and taken steps to make an album that is urgent and representative of where the band is headed. Now, I’m not saying Lamb reinvented the wheel, this is still Lamb doing Lamb but, this time, it’s different and it feels fresh and evolving.

Omens was recorded live as a band (you know the way records used to be made) and that vibe is felt through all 10 songs and 41 minutes of this pure, unapologetic and vicious album. This album definitely feels like it’s the record that they wanted to make but also had to make. The varying styles and influences heard on Omens stretches further than they have gone before. It’s more impactful and immediate than previous albums. There is a sense that everyone in the band has a say in these songs and that energy radiates through the entire album.

There are plenty of songs on Omens worth mentioning so, I will pick a few of my favorites to entice you a bit. Kicking off the album is “Nevermore” a song that is the epitome of what a Lamb Of God song is. It has everything a fan of this band loves and then some. “Vanishing” is one of those songs that shows a bit of the bands evolution sonically as the tones on this track are ripping. Not to mention that Randy’s vocals on this are damn near punishing. Track number 4 “Ditch” is my favorite on the album (as of this writing). This song is a banger through and through. It’s got this huge anthemic feel to the way the vocals are, then you add in the music which grooves but also decimates as it goes. I have a feeling that if/when this song is added to the bands set list in the future, the pits will erupt. “Gommorah” is epic and heavy. Personally, I’d have loved to hear this one go on a little longer as it shows more of the band evolving and getting more intricate in how they craft a song. This is another that needs to be added to the set list. “Grayscale” is a straight up barn burner. It’s got a total punk rock vibe to it while still being a classic Lamb song. Ending the album is “September Song” a track that is possibly one of the best the band has ever written. It’s song that is the perfect culmination of what Omens is all about. I love the dynamic shifts on this song.

Omens is Lamb Of God spreading their wings a bit more and in a very welcome way. There are always going to be the songs on the album that hark back to the “classic” sound but, now there is a better feel to the band. Art Cruz is finally able to show why he was picked to replace Chris Adler. His energy is found constantly on these songs and it’s very welcomed. Randy Blythe has not just grown as a vocalist, his screams sound great and his lyrics have reached new heights of being introspective whether personal or taking on topical subject matter. John Campbell continues to be a thunderous secret weapon of the band. His tone and style really ties it all together. Mark Morton and Willie Adler continue to be one of the best guitar duos in rock/metal. Mark seems to be even more motivated than ever to push himself to add different flairs to the songs making them memorable and crushing. All in all, Omens is a record new and old Lamb Of God fans will enjoy. The future is bright for Lamb as they continue to be torch bearers for the metal community.

Overall Rating: 9/10

Lamb Of God- Omens:

On Spotify:

2020 End Of The Year List: Best Guitarist

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Next up on Audioeclectica.com’s 2020 End Of The Year Lists, the Top 10 Guitarists. The stipulation is that, an album/EP had to have been released this year.

Vote for your favorite in the comments section. At the end of the month, I will release the results of the readers poll.

This list is also in NO PARTICULAR ORDER!!!

01) Greg Puciato- Greg Puciato
02) Stephen Carpenter- Deftones
03) Chris Traynor- Bush
04) Shooter Jennings- Marilyn Manson
05) Ken Andrews- Ken Andrews
06) Clint Lowery- Clint Lowery
07) Mark Morton- Mark Morton
08) Aaron Turner- Sumac
09) Stephen Taylor- En Minor
10) Andrew Watt- Ozzy Osbourne

Album Review: Lamb Of God- Lamb Of God

Lamb Of God - Official Site

Lamb Of God have been at this for over two decades now and have solidified their place in the heavy music community. Throughout their time, they’ve released two albums that have become classics in the metal world (As The Palaces Burn and Ashes Of The Wake). Now, in 2020, Lamb Of God have released a new album with a renewed sense of energy that hasn’t been heard from them in a long while. That’s not to say that this sounds like a different band, it’s still Lamb through and through. Longtime drummer Chris Adler is no longer in the fold and has been replaced with the very accomplished Art Cruz (formerly of Winds Of Plague and Prong).

This album definitely seems to pick up where their previous one, VII Sturm Und Drang left off. There’s plenty of intricate parts, thrashy elements and metal to go around as well as a new groove that seems to have energized all the members to pick it up a bit more. Album opener “Memento Mori” has some very cool vibes that show that this is more than just a run of the mill song. The clean vocals from Randy Blythe actually fit in really well on this track. “Checkmate” lyrically is hard charging but, musically it does sound a bit familiar. “Gears” offers a bit more of that new groove I mentioned. I have a feeling this song live would be crowd favorite. My favorite song on the new album is “Reality Bath.” This one shows off a lot of diversity in what this band can do. The arrangement on this song along with “that groove” makes this one a stand out. “New Colossal Hate” is straight up Lamb Of God. This song needs to be added to their set list. It definitely has a bit of an Ashes vibe to it as well. “Resurrection Man” is a pretty fun song in that it has a bit of a Pantera-ish vibe mixed with a bit a sort of prog element too. This would be an interesting one to hear live. “Poison Dream” features Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta. This song is another very Lamb sounding song. Jamey’s vocals do tend to get lost in the shuffle on this track. It would have been cooler if there was a badass breakdown and he was unleashed. “Routes” is a very introspective song lyrically about Randy’s time spent protesting at the Dakota Access Pipeline. Testament’s Chuck Billy guests on this track in a passionate way. “Bloodshot Eyes” is a song that musically could have fit very easily on guitarist Mark Morton’s solo album. The inclusion of mostly clean vocals on this one is sure to separate some fans but, it’s definitely a welcome change. “Off The Hook” closes out the album and this one is pretty hard charging.

This album is Lamb Of God doing what they do. It’s not reinventing the wheel. It does have a bit of a different vibe since Chris Adler is no longer involved but, it was needed change. Art Cruz, like I mentioned before, has brought a new energy and groove to the band. That groove he learned from playing in Prong, definitely shows through. Mark Morton and Willie Adler have really become quite the guitar duo over the years and on this album it really comes to light a bit more. John Campbell is a seriously underrated bass player. His style along with Art’s are super in sync and it allows for the right amount of breath to be let out on these songs. Randy Blythe’s vocals have really taken shape in interesting ways. He’s still ferocious and gritty but, being able to expand upon the dynamics of the songs with clean parts give these songs something more than just a run of the mill vibe. Overall, this album is solid and a great place to start anew. I can definitely see a few of these songs becoming live staples for a good amount of time. Also, I can really see Art Cruz finding his own place in this band and helping to push the boundaries of what this band can do.

Rating: 8/10

Lamb Of God- Lamb Of God:

 

 

 

 

Live Review: Mark Morton, Light The Torch & Moon Tooth at The Roxy

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On a clear Monday night in Los Angeles, at the legendary Roxy on Sunset, three bands, each with their own style, left an imprint on this fabled street and venue. Those in attendance (and there were quite a few, especially on a Monday), were witness to one hell of an energetic evening of heavy music. Led by headliner Mark Morton along with Light The Torch and up and comers Moon Tooth, there was no stopping the train of heavy from decimating the Roxy.

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Opening up the evening was Moon Tooth. Ever since I heard of them a few months back, I’ve been highly intrigued by them. Their blend of heavy and psychedelia mixed with bits of prog and jazz makes them one of the most exciting new bands to come along in a while. Their second album Crux (which comes out Friday March 29), is one hell of a record and it most definitely will be at top ten album of the year. Every minute of their set was absolutely on fire. As they ripped through new songs like “Trust,” “Omega Days,” and “Awe At All Angles,” there was no question that these four gents are primed for something great. Each member from Nick Lee (Guitar/Vocals), John Carbone (Vocals), Ray Marte (Drums/Vocals), and Vin Romanelli (Bass), really gave it everything for each song. Personally I was kind of bummed their set ended. I really wanted more. Moon Tooth really got the crowd going and delivered a performance that when they are headlining their own shows, will be talked about for some time.

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The middle slot of the night belonged to Light The Torch (formerly Devil You Know) and they brought the thunder with them. As the lights dimmed down, the frenzied crowd lost their shit when singer Howard Jones took the stage. For the next hour, Light The Torch, riding high off their new album, Revival, Howard Jones along with Francisco Artusato (Guitar), Ryan Wombacher (Bass/Vocals) and Mike Sciulara (Drums) delivered a set that was inspiring and crushing. Playing songs like “Die Alone,” “Calm Before The Storm,” “The Bitter End,” “The God I Deserve,” and “The Safety Of Disbelief,” there was no doubt on anyone’s mind that Light The Torch are here to stay. One of the best parts of their performance was the interaction between Howard and the crowd. It’s clear that Howard is a favorite among many people. His time in Killswitch Engage was something special and getting Howard back doing what he is meant to do is just great. Light The Torch are primed for a take over and rightfully so.

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The main event of the evening belonged to Mark Morton of Lamb Of God. His debut solo album, Anesthetic, is a departure from what most fans of Lamb Of God are used to. This evening though showcased what a talented songwriter Mark is as well as solidifying his status as a modern day guitar hero. For this tour Mark recruited drummer Art Cruz (Prong, Winds Of Plague and Chris Adler’s fill in for Lamb Of God), guitarist Doc Coyle (God Forbid, Bad Wolves) and Sons Of Texas members Mark Morales on vocals (who also sang the song “Blur” on the record) and Nick Villarreal on bass. This lineup along with Mark on lead guitar stormed through their set with vigor and passion. The songs on the album feature a diverse style of songs ranging from super heavy like “The Truth Is Dead” and “The Never” to more rock styles like “Cross Off,” “Sworn Apart,” “Save Defiance,” “Blur,” and “Imaginary Days.” The best songs though are the total curve balls like “Axis” and “Reveal” which truly show how good Mark Morton really is. The performances of these songs were right on target. Mark Morales did a stellar job handling the vocal duties for all these songs. The tandem guitars of Morton and Coyle were spot on and the pounding and thunderous rhythm of Cruz and Villarreal was right in the pocket. They even had a couple special guests joining them on stage. Naeemah Maddox was brought up to sing her song “Reveal” as well as staying on stage to perform “The Truth Is Dead” with Roy Mayorga (Stone Sour, Soulfly, Abloom, etc) pounding the drums.

 
What a great night for every band on the bill. Each band was different and brought an energy that carried on to the next. It’s shows and tours like this that get people excited and want to go see live music. Not only was that a great show but, it was a great way to start the week. I know I’ll be replaying the show in my head for sometime, especially Moon Tooth. I can’t wait for them to come through town again. And a special shout out to Heavy Grass for making it happen for me to attend this great show!

 

Review and Shots By: Brian Lacy

(I was too into the show to take many pictures).

Band Of The Week: Moon Tooth

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The band I’m presenting to you this week is going to rock your world. They are heavy, aggressive, progressive and absolutely badass. I’d like to introduce you all to your new favorite band, Moon Tooth. Straight up, these guys are awesome. The four members of Moon Tooth, John Carbone (vocals), Nick Lee (guitars), Vincent Romanelli (bass) and Ray Marte (drums) are not only are they masters of their instruments and rip and shred but, their ability to write great songs makes them truly standout. They remind me a bit of Mastodon meets The Dillinger Escape Plan with a ton of melody and 70’s prog. Their 2016 debut album, Chromaparagon is pretty damn great from start to finish. I could use many adjectives to describe how good it is but, you should just listen and you’ll understand why Moon Tooth is great. Now in 2019, Moon Tooth is gearing up to unleash a new album entitled Crux (out March 29th). The first single released, “Trust” is the logical next step for the band and it crushes. The band worked with Lamb of God’s Mark Morton and producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die, King Crimson, etc) on Crux. Speaking on the new album singer John Carbone said “This album is about not giving up. It’s about the furious hope that brings fighters back to their feet again and again. Having answered the call to adventure, having grappled with what will surely be only the first set of trials, having sacrificed and lost so much, ‘Crux’ finds the band at a tipping point. There is nothing left but for the old life to die and the new, true life to begin.” A description like that shows that Moon Tooth are creating lasting music and albums with depth and true artistic expression. Personally, I’m stoked on Moon Tooth and can’t wait for this album and them to tour.

 
Moon Tooth- Trust:

 

 
Moon Tooth- Chromaparagon:

 

Tour Dates with Mark Morton and Light The Torch:

3/13 — Richmond, VA — Broadberry
3/14 — Philadelphia, PA — Underground Arts
3/15 — Toronto, ON — Lees Palace
3/16 — Montreal, QC — Astral
3/18 — Boston, MA — Brighton Music Hall
3/19 — New York, NY — Gramercy Theater
3/21 — Chicago, IL — Bottom Lounge
3/23 — Colorado Springs, CO — Black Sheep
3/25 — Los Angeles, CA — Roxy
3/26 — Phoenix, AZ — Club Red

Anticipated Albums: Mark Morton- Anesthetic

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Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton is preparing to release his debut solo album March 1, 2019. This is an album that Mark has been working on for a while. In a recent interview Mark went on to say “This album wasn’t a concerted effort to start something outside Lamb of God,” he explains. “Music is always in my head, and until I write and record it, it’s stuck there. But once I record it, it’s out. It’s a catharsis, more for my own sanity.” So needless to say, this album is full of variety and riffs galore. The album features Mark playing all the guitars with guest accompaniment from the likes of Roy Mayorga, David Ellefson, Ray Luzier, Paolo Gregoletto, Alex Bent, Mike Inez, Jean-Paul Gaster, Steve Gorman, Marc Ford, Yanni Papadopoulos, and Chris Brooks rounding out the band. Anesthetic sure seems like a beast of an album. Two songs have been released already “The Truth Is Dead” featuring Arch Enemy’s Alissa White- Gluz and Mark’s Lamb of God mate Randy Blyth, and “Cross Off” which features the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park.

 

The Truth Is Dead w/ Randy Blyth and Alissa White- Gluz:

 

 

Cross Off w/ Chester Bennington:

 

 

 

ANESTHETIC TRACK LISTING:
1. “Cross Off” (feat. Chester Bennington)
2. “Sworn Apart” (feat. Jacoby Shaddix)
3. “Axis”  (feat. Mark Lanegan)
4. “The Never” (feat. Chuck Billy + Jake Oni)
5. “Save Defiance” (feat. Myles Kennedy)
6. “Blur” (feat. Mark Morales)
7. “Back From The Dead” (feat. Josh Todd)
8. “Reveal” (feat. Naeemah Maddox)
9. “Imaginary Days”
10. “The Truth Is Dead” (feat. Randy Blythe + Alissa White-Gluz)

End Of The Year List: Best Guitar Duo

The second annual Audioeclectica Awards are here. The first category is guitar duos. Here are the requirements to be in this category. Must have released an album/EP this year. Must be 2 guitar players in the band. And it doesn’t matter if the band is signed or not! With that in mind here are the nominees! Vote in the comments!!

Mark Morton and Willie Adler- Lamb Of God
Pete Adams and John Baizley- Baroness
Clint Lowery and John Connelly- Sevendust
Michael Grgas and Dave Ruiz- Hidden Amongst Us
Phil Golyshko and Bill Collins- Sidewave