It’s not often that the lead singer of a heavy metal band that Rolling Stone described as “too brutal for thrash” would provide the score for a ballet, but Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe is defying expectations by contributing music to a friend’s dance project. Blythe and Matthew Frain, a member of the Richmond Ballet in Richmond, Virginia, have teamed up for Inventory, a short piece scheduled to debut at the city’s dance festival on March 22nd.
“[Frain] asked me if he could use some [preexisting music] and I said, ‘Sure, but why don’t we just conceptualize a piece from the ground up, together,’” Blythe told Richmond magazine (via The Guardian). “Artistically, I don’t live in some heavy metal cave — most of my favorite frontmen all work in various disciplines — Nick Cave, Henry Rollins, David Yow; these are men whose musical work I admire and respect. These guys have made some of the most original and caustic tunes in the history of music, but they also have produced some really beautiful art and literature. Those are the types of artistic role models I look to for inspiration — they stay busy and work hard.”
As evidenced by Inventory‘s trailer, Blythe – here credited as D. Randall Blythe – relies on drones and sparse piano notes to create an ambience that recalls Lamb of God’s sense of dread without ratcheting up the volume. Blythe admitted to Richmond that he is a fan of ballet – he recently attended a staging of The Nutcracker with his wife and parents – and that he had to learn the terms of the art form while collaborating on the score.
“Once the ballet starts, our work is done, and our ‘baby’ is out of our hands into the world to live on its own. As an artist, it’s quite amazing to witness,” Blythe said, later adding, “I guess some fans of my band or metal music in general might be surprised, because they only know me as a two-dimensional cartoon-character-like screaming frontman of a metal band.”