|Red Lamb - 'Red Lamb' (MIG Music)|
|Written by Jamie Richards|
|Wednesday, 23 January 2013 03:30|
When Dan Spitz left Anthrax for the second time in 2007 it looked like he would never return to making music, instead he occupied his time by training to become a master watchmaker in Switzerland, something so startlingly removed from a career as a heavy metal musician that I’m sure none of his army of fans within the Anthrax camp could ever have predicted it.
His time was also, and most importantly, given to bringing up his twin boys who were born with Autism. It was the daily struggle he and his wife Candi fought that ultimately inspired him to pick up his guitar again and write and record for this project, Red Lamb.
Who then better for the legendary old guard of heavy metal to call on than his old pal, everybody's favourite busybody, the one and only Dave Mustaine?
While the Megadeth frontman may have managed to place himself firmly on a lot of folks' "he's not my cuppa tea" list, there's no denying his pedigree, or indeed his passion to speak out against what he feels is injustice. Red Lamb, then, met each and every one of Mustaine's criteria, a friend in need of a helping hand, and a cause to fight the authorities with. Hoping to raise global awareness of the growing epidemic of autism, and along the way add some cash to the coffers of related charities, Spitz and Mustaine recruited the talents of Chris Venna, Patrick Johansson and Don Chaffin to help them make the project a reality; the latter handling most of the lead vocals.
As a record it's probably everything you would imagine a record from such heavy metal heavy weights to be, it has all the hallmark thrash riffs and time changes, the relentless freight train like double bass peddling and some pretty nifty solos that could well have been delivered by, well someone with the exceptional hand eye co-ordination of a master watchmaker, as it happens. It’s the subject matter of some of the lyrics that will leave some people a little slack jawed, it’s not shocking as such, but it is very forthright at times, to the point that it is almost completely without any ‘poetic licence’ as such; there’s barely an analogy to be found, which I guess some including Spitz and Mustaine would say is the point. Maybe. The point at which the lyrical content 'jumps the shark' is 'Keep Pushing Me' where Chaffin offers up the black and white "I, have obsessive compulsive disorder," a line so sparse in its attempt to camouflage the subject matter that the listener could be left thinking "and, what do you want me to do about it," or as I thought, "well I’m just glad it's not a urinary tract infection - I'd hate to hear you sing that."
I’m not attempting to make light of an affliction a lot of people will have suffered with in various forms, in fact I’d say I’ve more than likely suffered from it myself (myself myself) at various times during my life (my life my life…etc), I just find things work better in songs when they’re left with a little mystery for the listener to unravel.
Overall it's a very decent heavy metal record and if you’ve enjoyed Megadeth's more recent releases then you’re nailed on as a fan of Red Lamb; if you’ve not been so keen then the fact that Mustaine's once revered snarl is reduced to a bit part will probably be a bonus to you.