How Lamb of God’s Mark Morton Maintains ‘Puppies + Rainbows’ Attitude in a World of Chaos
Lamb Of God's brand-new behemoth of an album Omens finally comes out today (Oct. 7) after months of teases and snippets. Flanked by aggressive singles such as the title track, "Nevermore" and "Grayscale," frontman Randy Blythe has called the record an "extremely pissed-off" collection of songs and a "reaction to the state of the world" in press materials. But guitarist Mark Morton has found a way to maintain a "puppies and rainbows" attitude while still having a keen sense of awareness to the world around him.
Morton has another take on how he processes the chaotic landscape, with music helping him to shut out a lot of the noise rather than being a reaction to it. In a new interview, part of which was published originally for the Chicago Sun-Times, Morton said that, for him, Omens stemmed from a more positive place than it did for the frontman.
The angry connotation, he said, "is a characterization Randy made about the record. I don't share that feeling." Morton added, "And that's not to take anything away from Randy’s perspective. He is the primary lyricist. For sure, I wrote some lyrics on this album, as I almost always do, but the last few albums, Randy has been far and away the primary lyricist. And I don't share that relationship with the record. I thoroughly enjoyed making it."
Morton continued, hinting at the topical issues Blythe may have focused on while writing the tracks, "While I can very easily be upset or unsettled about certain things — there are plenty of things going on in the world that we all see when we turn on the TV or the internet — I can also turn those things off and watch my children play or go for a bike ride or go and watch the chickens strutting around the yard or hang out with my dog or pick up my guitar."
"When I do those things," he said, "a lot of that stuff melts away. … I don't think that's sticking my head in the sand. I think it's just maybe not getting strung out on all of the drama that we are sold constantly. That doesn't mean that I think that's all irrelevant. I don't. I just try and engage in the things that are valuable to me and that I can manage and that I can be a part of successfully."
Morton said making music is one of the things he does try to engage in constantly — whether for Lamb Of God or his solo works, like 2019's Anesthetic, which he shared we'll see more from in the future. "I get to make music with my best friends and I love what I do and I know I'm all like puppies and rainbows right now. But that's just really how I feel about this shit."
His Sunday gratitude posts on Twitter also help him keep perspective. “I’m sarcastic. That's my sense of humor, and there's a lot of like banter on [Twitter] back and forth and sometimes it can get a little edgy, and I was just kind of like, man I would like to at least use this channel to put some kind of positivity out into the world on a consistent basis," he shared. "So I reserve Sundays for putting some gratitude out there. And just thinking about some of the simple things that my eye might overlook, to take stock of them."
Returning to Blythe, Morton said, "I think Randy, as a lyricist and as a guy who really likes to comment on the issues of the day (which is what we often do as lyricists), I think he felt like this was a time to really dig into some of the things he was seeing around him. I like that Randy is paying attention to what he's doing. If you read through his lyrics, he does try and sort of float above conventional partisanship, you know left, right or whatever you want to see it as. I think he has been pretty successful in just taking a very sort of observant position, albeit sometimes unsettled and angry. I think Randy wrote some great lyrics. He always does."
Yet, Morton added, "When it's said this is the angriest record, though, I think that's from the perspective of the primary lyricist … and let's face it, this is a heavy metal album. … For any of us to go start writing songs about you know, 'oneness with the universe' and presence and the freedom of impermanence and all this kind of stuff, nobody wants to hear that. We want to hear gloom and fire in the sky.”
Lamb Of God are on tour now — get tickets here.