Listening to Mark Morton’s debut solo album is like listening to the greatest heavy music mixtape of all time. Not only is Anesthetic a coherent flow of genres but the mix of talent involved is a veritable who’s who across the spectrum as well. You have Nu-Metal luminaries (The late Chester Bennington, Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix), Hard Rock Icons (Buckcherry’s Josh Todd, Myles Kennedy), Thrash Metal Gods (Testament’s Chuck Billy) alongside Indie Rawkers (Oni’s Jake Oni), Living Legends (Mark Lanegan), and Singer/Songwriters (Naeemah Maddox) beautifully woven together through Morton’s musical tapestry.
And that’s not even mentioning the abundance of guests who aren’t singing on the record like Alice In Chains’ Mike Inez, The Black Crowes’ Steve Gorman, Paulo Gregoletto and Alex Bent (Trivium’s rhythm section), and Stone Sour’s Roy Mayorga.
But I digress.
Like Professor X seeking out his X-Men for the first time, Lamb Of God’s Mark Morton has assembled this motley crew to show off different sides of his prolific songwriting and guitar talent for the betterment of mankind…or the betterment of heavy music at least.
Chester Bennington’s gone but not forgotten voice leads off the album on a brutal pummeler that’s as much a call to arms as it is a sweeping anthem as the late vocalist delivers equal amounts of bark and beauty. Fellow Nu-Metal vocalist Jacoby Shaddix (Fresh off Papa Roach’s killer new Who Do You Trust? album and a guest appearance on “The Reckoning” by Within Temptation from their just released record Resist) follows on the driving rawker “Sworn Apart” before things slow down slightly for Mark Lanegan on “Axis”, a hypnotic Blues-fueled ditty that shares similarities with both Screaming Trees and UNKLE (Those beats during the quieter moments especially).
Lamb Of God mixes element of Thrash with their Groove Metal aesthetic so it’s no surprise that a legend in the field of the former category, Chuck Billy of Testament, should make an appearance on Anesthetic as his uncanny vocals grace “The Never” with Jake Oni providing a vocal counterpart. Myles Kennedy lends his unique Bruce Dickinson meets Ian Thornley vocal-style to “Save Defiance” showcasing Morton’s penchant for crafting sweeping radio-friendly anthems while “Blur” treads Blues territory again for a dirge led by Sons of Texas’ Mark Morales which navigates Alice In Chains-like murky terrain and features another epic solo from Morton.
Josh Todd incites a riot on rabble rousing “Back From The Dead” before “Reveal” really mixes things up as Naeemah Maddox takes center stage on this soulful alt-rawk track that sounds nothing like the legendary Metal guitarist has done before. Then “Imaginary Days” keeps up the vocal diversity with Morton taking a turn behind the mic on a Middle Eastern-tinged mid-tempo pounder.
And who better to close out this most masterful metal mixtape than the man who started it all? That’s right! The one and only D. Randall Blythe of Lamb Of God flexes his vocal chops on “Truth Is Dead” alongside Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz, a track that will ultimately make LOG fans drool for their next outing and fans of Morton yearn for more of his solo work.
Anesthetic is out through WPP Records/Spinefarm Records on March 1st. Pre-order options are live now ahead of a co-headlining run with Light The Torch. Pre-orders can be gotten by clicking here while ticket links and more can be found here.