Lamb of God took the metal world by surprise earlier today with the release of “Still Echoes.” While we’d expected something from the band due to the countdown clock on their website, we weren’t expecting a) the song to kick so much ass and b) news that VII: Sturm und Drang would be out in about two months. On initial listen, we’d tried to decipher the lyrics and assumed that it might be about frontman Randy Blythe’s stay in prison. Earlier today, he spoke with Rolling Stone, and pretty much confirmed that that’s what the song is about. “The song is a history of (Prague’s) Pankrác Prison,” he says, which is the same prison he spent time in Czech Republic after being charged of manslaughter, claiming he was responsible of the death of a fan who suffered a deadly head injury after being allegedly pushed of stage by Blythe at one of Lamb of God’s show back in 2010. He was later found not guilty in 2013.
Part of the lyrics of the song say: “A thousand heads cut clean across their necks, right down the hall from me.” to which Blythe explains:
“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.”
He learned the history of the prison by asking about prisoners and guards about it, finding out that it was 123 years old, then went with what he was told about it, stating that the song is a “history of the repression that the Czech people have undergone.” When asked what being in prison was like, he compares it to Misfits’ “London Dungeon,” written by Glenn Danzig about being imprisoned.
“I had three songs in my head while I was in prison,” Blythe says. “‘London Dungeon’ by the Misfits, ‘Rise Above’ by Black Flag and ‘Attitude’ by the Bad Brains. That was my soundtrack.”