Lamb of God have shared a thundering new song, “Routes,” which was lyrically inspired by the time frontman Randy Blythe spent protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. The song will appear on Lamb of God’s upcoming self-titled album, out June 19th.
“Routes” is a bulldozer of a track — packed with a relentless barrage of drums and riffs — featuring guest vocals from Testament singer Chuck Billy. Blythe’s lyrics paint a vivid portrait of environmental destruction tied to centuries of injustice toward indigenous people. Toward the end of the song, he and Billy bellow back-and-forth, “To the sky voices singing/On and on, never-ending/In the night drums are beating/On and on, never-ending.”
While Blythe based the song off his own experience at Standing Rock, (which he detailed for Rolling Stone back in 2016) he said in a statement that he reached out to Billy — who is of Pomo Native American heritage — because it was imperative for him “to have a Native voice represented on the song.”
Blythe said of the call-and-response section at the end, “This is intentional. Musically, it is symbolic of my experience there. A native voice leads, bringing forth positive energy and calling to the people to unite, and I reply, providing support. That was my physical experience, and it is reflected in the song.”
Billy added: “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. 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 marks Lamb of God’s first album of all-new material since 2016’s VII: Sturm und Drang. In 2018, the group shared Legion: XX, a covers album they released under their original band name, Burn the Priest.