Tag Archives: Lamb of God

Coffee, Comics, and Wine Coming from Musicians – Is This A New Fad?

co-written by Katherine Amy Vega & Nate Wert

March, 2020 – in just a few short months, the world went from whispers about a mysterious new virus overseas to a growing buzz around the virus and some signs of concerns. In mid-March, the unthinkable happened: the bars, concert halls, stadiums, and every other live music venue went dark as the virus took root and started to spread quickly worldwide. 

As the music world reeled from the sudden and shocking shutdown – and as it became painfully apparent that we would likely be throwing a birthday party for the “two weeks to flatten the curve” promise – bands started looking into different ways to stay relevant during the shutdown. 

During the past year, we have seen releases of coffee, graphic novels, and wine from the likes of Lamb of God, Jimmy Eat World, and Incubus.

In August of 2020, Lamb of God announced their Memento Mori medium roast coffee, in collaboration with Nightflyer Roastworks, owned by the guitarist of Between The Buried and Me.

Jimmy Eat World recently made their 555 graphic novel with z2 Comics, conceptualized from the uncharacteristically sci-fi music video for “555”, available for pre-orders with an expected release date of May 21, 2021.

Incubus’ Make Yourself Foundation has a long history of partnering with various organizations over the years – at least 47 since 2003 – and is partnering with Rebellium Wines on the limited stock “Our Love” Rosé. The label was designed by artists at Secure the Arts, an organization whose ethos is described simply as: “Rebels, trouble makers, the round pegs in the square holes.

One might think it is possible that Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria with The Amory Wars comic series, and Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) with Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards, largely paved the way for such releases from musicians. Each of Coheed and Cambria’s studio albums (except The Color Before the Sun) tell a chapter of The Amory Wars, beginning with the release of the album Second Stage Turbine Blade in 2002. As a descendant of northern Italian winemakers, Keenan’s passion for winemaking is in his blood: the aptly titled 2010 documentary Blood Into Wine offers insight into his journey, creativity, and personal growth involved in this fruitful endeavor. 

This begs the question as to whether these were aspirations of other artists prior to the pandemic.

Comics & Graphic Novels

Long before becoming frontman of the legendary My Chemical Romance, a young Gerard Way found his passion in comics. Pursuing a career in comics, in 1999 Way graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He created Eisner-award winning The Umbrella Academy series (2007) – which went on to become a wildly popular series on Netflix that has a third season in the works – followed by comic mini-series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2013) and co-founded DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint (2016). 

Canadian electropop artist Lights wrote and illustrated her own comic Skin&Earth – a story of a girl looking for hope in a hopeless world – along with her album by the same name in 2017. Following suit, dancing electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling, well known for editing her own music videos, creating the costumes she wears, and having a huge hand in the choreography of her videos and shows, released her own comic book Artemis in 2019. In it, the story of her album of the same name comes to life, adding another layer of complexity to the already fantastic album.

In 2004, Courtney Love co-wrote the manga series Princess Ai about a female rock star that Love described as, “like my alter ego, bust in a fantasy setting.” The manga was illustrated by Ai Yazawa, the acclaimed artist behind the award-winning music-based manga NANA (2000-2009), which focuses on the pursuits, rise, relationships, and mentality of members of the fictional bands Black Stones (aka BLAST) and Trapnest.

z2 Comics actually specializes in helping musicians tell stories through graphic novels. In addition to Jimmy Eat World, they have worked with Poppy, Gorillaz, Machine Gun Kelly, Dance Gavin Dance, and Ice Nine Kills, to name a few.  

In May of 2017, MentalFloss.com offered “10 Musicians Who Have Also Written Comic Books”, detailing some interesting releases from Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), Rob Zombie, Tyrese, Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s), and more. Interestingly, many of the musicians mentioned explore post-apocalyptic themes in their comics in their pre-pandemic releases.

Coffees

Touring is a grind in and of itself, and many bands turn to coffee to wake themselves up in the morning and keep themselves going throughout the day. Indeed, DrinksFeed.com posted “Metal bands with coffee brands” in February 2020, confirming that many bands have offered their own branded brews, including Korn, Metallica, and Judas Priest.  Separate from their bands’ branding, David Ellefson of Megadeth owns the coffee business Ellefson Coffee Co., and Joey Kramer of Aerosmith offers a subscription for his coffee brand Rockin’ & Roastin’.

Lamb of God’s second signature coffee, the Overlord dark roast, was revealed in December of 2020. Frontman Randy Blythe mused, “I like my coffee strong, dark, and BLACK like my soul.” Both blends’ beans were grown in El Salvador. In collaboration with J Gursey Coffee, Korn first offered nu metal fans the chance to “Wake the F Up” with some fair trade Korn Koffee in 2018.

Green Day dropped a sustainably grown organic coffee through Oakland Coffee Works in 2019, which was named “Father of All… Dark Roasts” – a name derived from their thirteenth studio album Father of All Motherfuckers (censored as Father of All… or FOAMF) released in 2020, but recorded prior to the game-changing year. 

Wines, Beer, & Liquor

Wines that Rock boasts the production of wines for many artists, such as All Time Low, Pearl Jam, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, KISS, and for Graceland and Elvis Presley’s estate. Made for The King of Rock ‘N Roll’s 86th birthday, the limited-edition wine is quite reasonably priced at only $24 a bottle.

Bottles of wine from Wines that Rock

Slayer’s Reign in Blood red wine comes in tantalizing packaging consisting of blood-like red wax dripped from the cap, Slayer branding, an inverted typographical cross, a limited edition coffin-shaped box, and other features, resulting in quite a work of art inside and out that appeals to both wine aficionados and music memorabilia collectors.

Over the last two decades, craft beer has enjoyed an explosion in popularity. Unlike wine and many other alcoholic drinks, many beers take two weeks or less to go from the raw materials to a cold, refreshing beer. As the turnaround time is much shorter, it is far easier to set up a collaboration that is still relevant when it comes out. A great example of this is the ongoing collaboration between the Deftones and San Diego-based Belching Beaver. By far, the most popular of the six beers to come out of this is the “Phantom Bride,” first brewed in 2016.

Dogfish Head created “American Beauty,” a Grateful Dead-inspired beer with granola and wildflower honey which was first released in 2013. Less Than Jake offered a limited edition beer by JDub’s Brewing Co. in 2018. Last, but certainly not least, is the Queen creation appropriately named Bohemian Lager. Brewed in Pilsen – the Bohemian now-Czech Republic city where the Pilsner style originated from – the limited edition beer was brewed in 2015 for the 40th anniversary of “Bohemian Rhapsody“.  

Finally, we have liquor. First is the Motorhead vödka made in Malmköping in Sweden since 2019. Motorhead also partnered with Hillrock to make some very limited bourbon, retailing for a whopping $275 per bottle.

Bob Dylan unveiled a line of whiskeys called Heaven’s Door in 2018. Multiple artists have their own tequila brands, such as Justin Timberlake, Rita Ora, Sammy Hagar, and Nick Jonas. Timberlake entered the tequila business in 2009, co-founding 901 Tequila – which was rebranded as Sauza 901 when Beam Inc acquired a stake in 2014. With hopes to push boundaries in the industry as a female-founded brand, Ora launched Próspero Tequila in the US in 2019.

Rita Ora

Hagar has been in the tequila business for almost 30 years, having launched the award-winning Cabo Wabo brand in 1991. In contrast to the once-Van Halen frontman, Jonas is the most green of the listed musicians, having joined the game in 2019 with Vanilla One.

These are just a few of the many types of alcoholic beverages that musicians have owned, made, or collaborated on. Ultimate Classic Rock shared an impressive list of “73 Rock Star Beer, Wine and Booze Brands.”

While the pandemic has indubitably unleashed a tsunami of projects that fall outside the typical domain of the music industry, the question one must ask when examining said projects for originality is: are these artists trailblazers, going down a path none have tread before, or are they innovators in their own right who take a path others have cut before them to bring a product to market that the world might not have expected from the source? The overwhelming body of evidence is that in the decade or so before the pandemic began, the trends in the industry were increasingly leaning toward this path. As such, releasing coffees, graphic novels, and wines during the pandemic may not be a unique course of action, but it does allow for creative release in a different medium, and perhaps an opportunity for many of them to manifest a once-dormant dream into a delectable reality.

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Lamb of God Releases First New Music in Five Years, “Checkmate,” from Upcoming Self-Titled Album, Due Out May 8

Lamb of God has revealed a brand new single and video, “Checkmate,” from the band’s first release in five years, and the first to feature new drummer Art Cruz. The self-titled Lamb Of God is due out May 8 via Epic Records.

Watch “Checkmate” Now Here

“‘Checkmate’ brings together all the components of the Lamb of God sound that we’ve been developing over the last two decades, but with the ambition and ferocity that comes with the start of a new chapter for our band,” says guitarist Mark Morton. “Re-energized and reignited, this is Lamb of God 2020. We’ve never been more excited.”

The fact that the band’s eighth studio effort would warrant ‘self-titled’ status is a testament to the band’s pride and satisfaction with these songs and this period in their creativity.

Putting only our name on it is a statement,
Vocalist D. Randall Blythe says.
This is Lamb Of God. Here and now.

A true collaboration between all members of the band, Lamb of God’s eighth studio album is an amalgam of each individual’s contributions, blended to create a singular style. Guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler fuel the album with a mountain of riffs, taking what Lamb of God are known for, and unbelievably, upping the ante to new levels. The rhythm section of John Campbell, looming large as a rhythmic shadow, and drummer Art Cruz, who makes his studio debut with Lamb of God here on this record, underpin the proceedings with passion, sweat and expansive dynamics. Vocalist D. Randall Blythe is as angry, insightful, and informed as ever. Never one to shrink from facing the darker aspects of our nature head-on, Blythe delivers with no punches pulled, and as only he and Lamb of God can in 2020.

In celebration of the release of “Checkmate” and the announce of the new album, Lamb of God will appear at a special show at the House of Vans in Chicago on February 14. The event is free and fans can RSVP beginning at 12 noon CST today at the House of Vans website here. The event will include a photography exhibit featuring photos from D. Randall Blythe that will be included in the new Lamb of God album artwork. Harm’s Way will open the show.

In the midst of writing the ten songs that appear on Lamb Of God, the group hit pause on the works-in-progress to man the stage as main support Slayer’s “The Final Campaign.” After months of playing their best-known songs nightly, Lamb of God returned to the new tracks and began to work with longtime producer Josh Wilbur (Korn, Megadeth, Gojira, Trivium). Special guests Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) and Chuck Billy (Testament) also make appearances on Lamb Of God.

Pre-order/Pre-Save Lamb Of God Here

Lamb of God

Lamb Of God Tracklisting

  1. Memento Mori
  2. Checkmate
  3. Gears
  4. Reality Bath
  5. New Colossal Hate
  6. Resurrection Man
  7. Poison Dream (feat. Jamey Jasta)
  8. Routes (feat. Chuck Billy)
  9. Bloodshot Eyes
  10. On The Hook

The Richmond, Virginia, quintet propelled heavy metal into the new millennium two decades ago with the prophetically titled New American Gospel. They followed with 2003’s As the Palaces Burn, which made the Rolling Stone list of the Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time. Ashes of the Wake, released in 2004, was the first Lamb of God album to be certified gold by the RIAA, as was 2006’s Sacrament, which also made a Top 10 Billboard 200 chart debut. In 2009, Lamb of God released Wrath, their first with Wilbur at producer, and earned the number one album spot on Billboard’s Hard Rock, Rock, and Tastemaker charts, with a number two position on the Billboard 200.

Those number one positions were repeated with 2012’s Resolution, which swung effortlessly between thrash, traditional metal, sludgy doom, with flashes of crust punk swagger and bravado. Lamb of God’s last album, VII: Sturm und Drang (2015) made its debut on the Billboard 200 at number three and finished number 2 in the world charts, reaching Top 5 in five countries and six addition Top 15 positions.

In 2020, Lamb of God is re-energized and unrelenting, ready to lay claim to the metal throne.

Lamb of God Tour Dates

2/14- Chicago, IL @ House of Vans *Headline show

European Tour with Kreator and Power Trip

  • 3/27 – Stockholm, SE @ Fryshuset Arenan
  • 3/28 – Copenhagen, DK @ Forum Black Box
  • 3/30 – Oulu, FI @ Club Teatria
  • 3/31 – Helsinki, FI @ Ice Hall Black Box
  • 4/2 – Kraków, PO @ Tauron Arena
  • 4/3 – Berlin, DE @ Columbiahalle
  • 4/4 – Oberhausen, DE @ Turbinenhalle
  • 4/5 – Wiesbaden, DE @ Kulturzentrum Schlachthof
  • 4/7 – Zurich, CH @ Samsung Hall
  • 4/8 – Munich, DE @ Zenith
  • 4/9 – Ludwigsburg, DE @ MHP Arena
  • 4/11 – Hamburg, DE @ Sporthalle
  • 4/14 – Barcelona, ES @ Razzmatazz
  • 4/15 – Madrid, ES @ Sala Riviera
  • 4/17 – Paris, FR @ L’Olympia Bruno Coquatrix
  • 4/18 – Saarbrücken, DE @ Saarlandhalle
  • 4/19 – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
  • 4/21 – Bristol, UK @ O2 Academy Bristol
  • 4/22 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Academy
  • 4/23 – Glasgow, UK @ O2 Academy Glasgow
  • 4/24 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy Birmingham
  • 4/25 – London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton
  • 5/9 – Daytona Beach, FL @ Welcome to Rockville *US Festival

Lamb of God Is:

  • D. Randall Blythe – Vocals
  • Mark Morton – Guitar
  • Willie Adler – Guitar
  • John Campbell – Bass
  • Art Cruz – Drums

Lamb of God Online

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Featured photo (top) by Travis Shinn


REVIEW: Slayer Reassert Metal Dominance in Phoenix on “Final World Tour” (05-02-19)

PHOENIX — One word continuously comes to mind when one thinks of metal music: catharsis. According to Google dictionary, catharsis can be defined as “the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.” Look around the audience at any metal show and you will see catharsis taking place in many forms. Maybe it’s the down-tuned, insanely heavy guitars palm-muting and blasting you with power chords, or the syncopated rhythms of the double bass drums beating fan’s ears into submission. Whatever it is about the music, metal brings people together and serves as a one-stop shop for the release of myriad types of emotions; happiness, anger, sadness, etc.

There’s a sort of camaraderie between fans at metal shows as people bond over their love for the music and in some cases, their equally great love for alcohol. The evidence supporting that love for metal is alive and well could not have been greater last night at the Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix as heavy metal forefathers, Slayer took the stage in front of about 22,000 in attendance after several intense opening sets from Lamb Of God, Amon Amarth, and Cannibal Corpse.

Picture this: flamethrowers perfectly synced to the frequent stops of the music with heat you can feel on your face from the audience, a giant, banner adorned the back wall of the stage replete with a devious-looking Baphomet among other satanic imagery, bright strobe and giant spot lights occasionally resembling double helix shapes. These were only a few of the visual treats fans were given Thursday night as some stared silently in awe, while others rarely stopped screaming their favorite lyrics to take a breath. Slayer has been around a very long time and yet despite their collective ages, their energy has not wavered in the slightest. From the opening speed metal riffs of the first song, “Repentless”, to the final onslaught of songs culminating in “Angel Of Death”, Slayer proved that they’re still masters of their metal domain.

Slayer - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Tom Araya (Vocalist, Bassist), Slayer
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Vocalist and bassist, Tom Araya has always had a distinct vocal style; it’s not singing but it’s not your average metal-scream either. It’s visceral, primal shouting from a man who otherwise comes off very kind and cordial on stage during the quieter moments in between songs. He’s a living legend, as are the other members; longtime guitarist Kerry King, recent stand-in guitarist and Exodus alumni Gary Holt, and drummer Paul Bostaph. Last night at Ak-Chin Pavilion, these four, with their powers combined, recreated some of the heaviest music ever written. King and Holt’s blisteringly fast riffs caused fans to headbang themselves into a state of whiplash, while Bostaph’s drumming undoubtedly caused plenty of heart arrhythmia from the sheer force with which he hits the many pieces of his instrument of choice.

Slayer - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Gary Holt (Guitarist), Slayer
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Watching Slayer is a musical experience of course but also one you can feel; physically and metaphorically speaking. Their lyrics are some of the most brutally honest words shrieked into microphones worldwide. For example, “World Painted Blood” (the 3rd song into their set) contains the lines “Gomorrah’s dream to live in sin, has reached its critical mass, man himself has become God, and laughs at his destruction…”, which gives an unrepentant glimpse into what’s on the band’s minds. Death, destruction, the unstoppable collapse of humanity due to its own ignorance; the band frequently come off as messengers of the impending doom that will surely befall humanity should we choose to ignore it. This serves for a powerful concert experience that’s not to be missed should you ever get the chance to see them perform.

Slayer - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Kerry King (Guitarist), Slayer
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

It’s worth mentioning that the supporting bands all brought the energy to critically high levels long before Slayer even took the stage.

Florida death metal legends Cannibal Corpse started off the evening with incredible stage presence and easily one of the best renditions of “Hammer Smashed Face” played to date.

Cannibal Corpse - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Erik Rutan (Guitarist), Cannibal Corpse
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved
Photo Gallery

Next, Swedish natives Amon Amarth brought along their trademark viking theme, with the drummer sitting atop a replica of a viking ship complete with glowing red eyes. Their unique take on metal and lead vocalist, Johan Hegg’s friendly demeanor, was warmly received by fans.

Johan Hegg (Vocalist), Amon Amarth
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved
Photo Gallery

Finally, Lamb of God stole the show with an insanely heavy set despite a few technical difficulties with the wireless guitar rigs. The other band members never missed a beat and effectively carried on regardless of any technical glitches entirely out of their control.

Lamb of God - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Randy Blythe (Vocalist), Lamb of God
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved
Photo Gallery

These are the marks of great live performance and each band, in their own unique ways, served as the perfect appetizers to temporarily appease everyone’s metal palate.    

Other high points of the night included one of Slayers more ambitious songs, “Seasons In The Abyss” as well as other brutal numbers like “Mandatory Suicide”, “Hate Worldwide,” “Disciple”, “Temptation”, and “World Painted Blood”. Slayer saved most of the classics like “Raining Blood”, “Hell Awaits”, and “South Of Heaven” for the very end of the night, which made for an extremely captivating finale to a great show on their “Final World Tour”.

KUPD - Photo Credit: Rodrigo Izquierdo
Fitz Madrid (Afternoon Announcer), 98KUPD FM
| Photography
: Rodrigo Izquierdo © All Rights Reserved

Local 98KUPD FM afternoon announcer, Fitz Madrid, prefaced Slayer taking the stage by announcing their imminent arrival as well as commenting on how he first saw the band in 1991 and that he considered it one of the best concerts he’d ever seen. That’s saying a lot coming from a person who has frequently attended many shows because of his line of work and love for music. Slayer’s music left a powerful impression on Fitz after witnessing what they could do live. That impact surely carried itself over to just about everyone else in attendance at Ak-Chin Pavilion last night, many of whom will one day describe their experience of this show as equally life-changing.

Photo Galleries

Photos by Rodrigo Izquierdo

Openers: Cannibal Corpse | Amon Amarth | Lamb of God

Photography © Reagle Photography
All Rights Reserved