"512", the new Jorge Torres-Torres-directed video from Richmond, Virginia metallers LAMB OF GOD, can be seen below. The track is taken from the band's new album, "VII: Sturm Und Drang", which will be released on July 24 via via Epic in the U.S. and Nuclear Blast Entertainment, with whom the band signed a record deal for all territories outside of North America. The CD was once again produced and mixed by Josh Wilbur with engineering by Wilbur, Nick Rowe and Kyle McAulay, and was recorded at NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood, California and Suburban Soul Studios in Torrance, California.
The "512" title is a reference to singer Randy Blythe's cell number in Prague, Czech Republic's Pankrác Prison, where he spent over a month in 2012 after being accused of shoving a local fan off the stage during LAMB OF GOD's May 2010 concert in the city. The man, who is said to have stormed the stage three times during the show, reportedly suffered a brain hemorrhage that resulted in his death nearly a month later. Blythe was eventually acquitted of all charges after a panel of Czech judges ruled that concert promoters — and not Blythe — were largely to blame for the fan's death.
The vocalist wrote the track about how his experience behind bars changed him. He told RollingStone.com: "You cannot have the same mentality as the normal guy living on the streets in prison. You undergo a radical mental and emotional shift when you go into prison."
He continued: "There are aspects of your personality that you could cultivate in prison that are beneficial to your survival that would be seen as psychosis or extreme paranoia. You have to be ready for violence at any time. Anyone who is 100 percent honest in prison will get taken advantage of, maybe by other prisoners, maybe by guards. For me, being in prison was a lot of figuring out what I could get away with, how I could work outside any set of rules in order to remain as comfortable as I could. You're cultivating your psyche in your deceit. In prison, everyone is listening all the time, and if they hear you say something that they can take, they might internalize it and be, like, 'This guy is talking to someone,' and he'll wind up dead."
According to the vocalist, he spent much of his time in a dark, basement dungeon so that the guards could monitor him for depression. "I couldn't even see the sun to tell what part of day it was," he said. "It was just steadily lessening levels of gloom."
The album's first single, "Still Echoes", was made available on May 18 via all digital retailers and streaming services.
"VII: Sturm Und Drang" track listing:
01. Still Echoes
02. Erase This
08. Engage The Fear Machine
09. Delusion Pandemic
LAMB OF GOD has announced the variety of bundle options available for the pre-order of "VII: Sturm Und Drang". They range from the "everything bundle" (including the deluxe CD or LP, a 7" vinyl single of bonus tracks, a signed album art lithography, a t-shirt, hoodie, cassette and sticker set and retails for $175) to the standard digital download (which retails for $11.98).
According to Blythe, he wanted the "VII: Sturm Und Drang" title to reflect the new album's lyrical themes, which deal with the psychology of humans reacting under extreme conditions. "I was, like, 'Maybe the Germans have something,' because they're great at cramming complex concepts into, like, one word, like 'schadenfreude' and 'zeitgeist,'" he said. LAMB OF GOD guitarist Mark Morton, whose mother is German, came across the title while researching German vocabulary. ["Sturm Und Drang" was used as the name of a German literary movement of the 18th century, and it refers to a state of uneasiness and usually resentment brewing to an eventual explosion.]
"I didn't set out to write this record about my perception of how people handle stress and difficulties … but as I was writing, it kind of started coming to me," said Blythe, who wrote ninety percent of the album's lyrics. He also went on to describe "VII: Sturm Und Drang" as "the most cohesive record we've done in a long time" and not as "schizophrenic" as some of LAMB OF GOD's previous albums.
Blythe told RollingStone.com that "Still Echoes" "is a history of Pankrác Prison." The first line of "Still Echoes" reads: "A thousand heads cut clean across their necks, right down the hall from me." Blythe says: "There was a guillotine right down the hall from me, from when the Nazis had the prison. From 1943 to 1945 they executed almost 2,000 people by the guillotine, because it was cheaper than shooting and quicker than hanging … They call it the Pankrác 'Saw Room' or the 'Axe Room. I sat there at night, and I’d think about all those dudes that got their heads chopped off— men and women — in that place not too far from me."