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Lamb of God Guitarist Discusses Big 4 of Early 2000s Metal Bands


The New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Metalcore. Early 2000s metal bands. Metal. Music?

Whatever you want to call that era, it was a super exciting moment in time for those of us into metal in those years, the genre roaring back to life after the dark years of nu-metal. Real musicians! Riffs! GUITAR SOLOS!

That excitement was even more palpable for the musicians who were a part of it, naturally. In a recent episode of The MetalSucks Podcast, we asked Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton — very much at the center of it — to pick his choices for the Big 4 of that scene. And although he demurred to select just four, he did have some kind things to say about his peers from that era, and offered some insight into what it was like to be a part of it.

When asked by MetalSucks Podcast host Petar Spajic, “If you had to pick the other three bands that you would consider the Big 4 of that generation [besides Lamb of God], which bands would you take?” Morton explained:

“Oh man, you’re killing me. [laughs] I don’t know, man. It was so exciting to be a part of that and the whole ‘New Wave of American Heavy Metal’ that was a thing that you guys, the journalists, put on it, you know what I mean? That wasn’t anything that we necessarily subscribed to, it wasn’t something that we adopted particularly on our own.

“I’m not trying to dunk your question. What I remember, sort of what I identify from that time was… I felt like we were a part of something exciting that was happening. It was clearly this new very exciting thrash and hardcore influenced group of bands and style of music that was bubbling up from the underground, and we knew we were a part of that.

“And we were peers with some of the great bands: Killswitch, Shadows Fall, Unearth, God Forbid and Chimaira. There was just a bunch of really awesome bands that were coming up as a part of the scene. And I think what we knew then, pretty early in, was that what was good for one of us was good for all of us.

“You know, it’s funny, ’cause it is a long time ago when I think about it. And I’ll see clips from some of those shows and listen to some of those songs and see some of those videos and stuff. And I remember when that felt new, [but] now that seems so dated and so long ago. I just feel so fortunate that we’re still around and still able to do this as a career. We’re still excited about the music we’re making.

“I don’t want to… I don’t know man, I don’t have a list. I think just that whole movement, man, was really exciting and I’m thrilled I got the chance to be a part of it. 

Way to cop out, Mark! Lol j/k… I know it’s hard, and you don’t want to offend anyone. Those bands are certainly all deserving, and I love them all, too.

But that’s exactly the issue: the six bands he named (including Lamb) are obviously the six bands. Can it be narrowed down to four? Does it matter? Of course not, but the internet is for arguing.

Hot take: I’d lump Mastodon into that group. Stylistically quite different from the rest, but very much a part of that scene, and frequent tourmates of the rest.

So these are my four: Lamb, Killswitch, Mastodon, Shadows Fall. Boom.

You can listen to our full chat with Mark below.

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