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| 27 April 2019 | Reply

Label: WPP Records / Spinefarm Records

Release Date: March 1, 2019

Rating: 93%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

I have always enjoyed watching and listening to Lamb Of God, so was excited to see what guitarist Mark Morton had cultivated when he announced a solo release featuring himself on guitar and a lot of his musical friends and counterparts on lead vocals.  Disc opener “Cross Off” is a bittersweet track fro fans of Linkin Park, as Morton roped Chester Bennington into recording the lead vocals.  This is more metal and less Linkin Park, but the vocals are killer and perfectly matched against the fret work and riffs from Morton.  This song sets the bar for the rest of the tracks.  “Sworn Apart” is a straight forward rocker that showcases Morton’s lead and rhythm abilities with solos and chugging riffs that carry the tune from verse to chorus to bridge and back again.  Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix lends his voice for this track (that seems to make my head bang every time I hear it).  “The Never” dials the energy up from the opening note and doesn’t let up for four minutes.  Friends Chuck Billy and Jake Oni  lend their talents to the track and give this track a classic thrash sound.  The breakneck sound and pace from the rhythm section help drive the track.  “Blur” swirls heavier metal and classic rock solos and riffs is a cool track that features Sons Of Texas singer Mark Morales.  The track moves along through the verse and into the chorus, but the solos and riffs that dot the landscape perfectly represent Morton’s talent and his ability to break out of the metal genre.  “Reveal” is hands down the most diverse track on the disc.  This blues-fusion track features vocalist Naeemah Z. Maddox on vocals and gives Mark a different avenue to let his talent shine through.  The solo during the first chorus – verse transition is amazing and I find myself closing my eyes to enjoy the sound that emanates from his guitar every time I listen to this one.  The shift in guitar sounds between the various components of the track help this track stand out from a sonic and production standpoint.

“Axis” slows the pace and metal down, but not the intensity, as Morton plays with precision underneath the lead vocals of Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan.  The solo work on the bridge and miscellaneous fret work underneath the verse are some of the most captivating and enjoyable on the collection and help this song stand out, even with mellower sound and vibe.  “Save Defiance” is the track I most looked forward to (after the opening song) because on of my favorite vocalists is featured – Myles Kennedy.  From Slash’s stuff to Alter Bridge to his solo material Myles always seems to deliver – and this track is no different.  Morton has laid the perfect groundwork musically for the vocals and lyrics.  Be sure to listen for the fun and interesting bass lines in the mix on this one.  “Back From The Dead” is one of the more diverse tracks.  This song blends Mark’s metal background, rock skills, and a punk sensibility – that is enhanced by vocals from Buckcherry’s Josh Todd.  The solo on the bridge is another favorite on the disc, as it is equal parts straight-forward rock and roll and metal with a little 80’s swagger tossed in for good measure.  “Imaginary Days” is the lone track to feature Morton on vocals as well as being a hybrid 80’s hard rock and 90’s metal track.  With this song under his belt – as much fun as it has been to experience the guest vocalists – there is no reason he couldn’t step behind the mic on his next release, project , or tour.  This song is a great listen and helps anchor the latter part of the disc.  Disc closer “Truth Is Dead” finds Mark in familiar territory musically, as the track has layers and transitions we have all come to expect from his day job Lamb Of God.  Add to that the vocals of Randy Blythe swirling in the mix with Alissa White-Gluz and we have a Lamb Of God vibe and groove enhanced by the offsetting vocals of White-Gluz, which gives the track added punch.  Forget any preconceived notion you have about Morton’s regular band – this collection comes from different angles and delivers a musical collection that serves up a little bit of everything to please most any rock and metal fans.

Tracklisting: Cross Off – Sworn Apart – Axis – The Never – Save Defiance – Blur – Back From The Dead – Reveal – Imaginary Days – Truth Is Dead






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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