Lamb of God have released “Routes,” the fourth single off their upcoming self-titled album. Lamb of God will be available on June 19 on Epic Records. Previous singles from the album include songs “New Colossal Hate,” “Memento Mori” and “Checkmate.”
Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe was inspired to write the track after standing alongside Native Americans at the Standing Rock protest. The protest began when a few Native women and children were camping at the site to protest a pipeline which would disrupt their water supply from being built on treaty land, eventually growing to include thousands of protestors and receiving global attention.
“I went to Standing Rock because I had heard reports of violence committed on the peaceful protestors there by both state law enforcement and private security contractors, and this violence was not reported in mainstream media for the most part,” Blythe said in a statement. “I went to bring supplies and support these people, who were trying to protect their water, and thereby protect everyone, as everything in the natural world is protected. I was there a week, made some great friends and learned a lot. It was a very profound experience in my life, and I knew one day I would write a song about it.”
“Routes” leans in with thrashing guitars and Blythe’s throated screams. He describes his experience at Standing Rock, detailing the movement and what was seen. The video includes imagery of oil fields, reflective of the events at Standing Rock. Crowds of women and children wearing gas masks amid a burning Earth are displayed on the screen.
Blythe included a friend he met at Standing Rock in the song. Chuck Billy, frontman of Bay Area thrash band Testament, is of Pomo Native American heritage, and lent Blythe creative guidance and a deeper authenticity to the narrative. Billy leads the call and response near the end of the song, Blythe stating it to be symbolic of his time at Standing Rock, where he followed the call of the Sioux Reservation.
“It was a great honor as a proud Pomo Native American to be asked by Lamb of God to do some guest vocals on this song,” Billy said in a statement. “The No DAPL movement by the indigenous people of this country was a historic event. Being able to lend my voice to represent the Native American people, complementing Randy’s storytelling and lyrics, is something really special to me. I’m glad this movement was put in a musical message, and I am extremely happy to have been a part of it.”
Lamb of God’s new album will be the follow-up to 2015’s VII: Sturm und Drang. Josh Wilbur will be producing the album, as he had done for their last. This will be the band’s first record with Art Cruz, who joined the band in 2019.
Lamb of God’s original release date was moved to June due to COVID-19. The band was meant to tour with Megadeth, Trivium and In Flames, however dates have been postponed due to the coronavirus. Billy previously tested positive for the coronavirus, but has recovered.
Photo credit: Owen Ela