Tagged: David Griffiths

 

With brand new Aussie slasher film What Goes Around now available on streaming platforms thanks to Bounty Films we decided that it was time for Subculture’s Dave Griffiths to sit down and have a chat with the cast and crew.

So take a listen below as he chats to Sam Hamilton (director), Gabrielle Pearson (who plays Rachel and produced the film), Aly Zhang (who played Cara) and Amy Dellar (cinemtographer).

 

 

Summary: It’s Friday night and five friends on the cusp of adulthood gather at a house to celebrate the end of another school week.

Year: 2018

Australian Cinema Release Date: NA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA

Australian VOD Release Date: 10th June 2020

Country: Australia

Director: Harley Hefford, Evan J. Martin

Screenwriter: Harley Hefford, Evan J. Martin

Cast: Fredricka Arthur (Laura), Daniel Cockburn (Jackson), Rachel Lee (Michelle), Eddie Orton (Dave), Keith Purcell (Brett), Ashley Stocco (Sarah)

Running Time: 91 mins

Classification: TBC (Australia)

 

 

OUR ABOUT AN AGE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ About An Age Review:

It’s Friday night in country Victoria. Four teenagers organise an after school get-together complete with a parent-free home and a coach bought slab of beer. So realistic is the scenario that I could be describing a new reality television show… a reality show based on my own teenage years if I was being painfully honest.

Who needs reality television though when you have storytellers like first time feature filmmakers Harley Hefford and Evan J. Martin? So natural is the dialogue and acting in new coming-of-age film About An Age you would swear that Hefford and Martin just set up characters around a Macedon property and recorded whatever the teenagers at hand were saying and doing.

The natural feel to the film also includes the story at hand. There are no superhero teenagers or gigantic robots along for the ride – instead the story is simple. Twins Dave (Eddie Orton – Statement) and Michelle (Rachel Lee – Emo The Musical) organise a Friday winding down session. Dave invites his best friend Brett (Keith Purcell – Neighbours) who has a crush on Michelle’s best friend Sarah (Ashley Stocco – My Life Is Murder) who is also a guest at the get-together. To round things off Michelle invites her new boyfriend Jackson (Daniel Cockburn – newcomer) who returns to the country for the first time after attending university in the city.

Talk on the night centres around future occupations, who likes who and exams but then things start to get tenser as the drinks flow and games like ‘Truth Or Dare’ get thrown into the mix. As secrets start to get exposed emotions start to flow.

Maybe one of the reasons I loved About An Age so much is because the story could have been plucked from any Friday night of my High School years. I’d like to think a lot of that love though comes from the fact that the natural storytelling seen here in this film is so rarely in cinema these days. Perhaps hearing a group of teenagers talk about whether they should study advertising or hairdressing isn’t thought-provoking cinema. But for a teenager living in the country all of issues raised in this film, especially the fear of moving to the city and becoming part of ‘city life’ is very, very real. These types of topics are something rarely explored on screen as well so credit must be paid to Hefford and Martin for going into unchartered territory.

The naturalistic style of screenwriting also allows for the young stars of this film really shine. While the entire cast deserves credit I feel that Keith Purcell could well make a real name for himself when it comes to comedic acting while Ashley Stocco is the next Margot Robbie in the making. Any Australian producers and directors looking to cast their projects are doing themselves a disservice if they don’t look at this cast when casting their new projects.

For me About An Age is one of the surprises of 2020. With a perfect cast and some amazingly realistic dialogue this is a film that I feel will launch the careers of all involved. Light-hearted and fun at times, tense and suspenseful at others this coming-of-age flick is a brilliant snapshot of teenage life in the country.

 

 

 

 

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IMDB Rating:
About an Age (2018) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment About An Age Reviews:

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Trailer: N/A

 

One of the advantages that the world of film has seen during the Covid-19 pandemic has been the number of more alternative films that have been given a voice as cinema chains and streaming platforms have scrambled for material. With the Hollywood well not likely to produce any content until late this year film lovers have seen a large number of films screen that normally would be hidden away into obscurity.

One such film is the award winning thriller Vivarium which first came to international attention when it joined the list of winners at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. With cinemas starved for content Vivarium, which stars Hollywood A-Listers Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, has suddenly found itself on screens in Thailand, Australia and across Europe. The good news is if you haven’t been able to see it on the big screen it is also now available on streaming services as well. The Phuket News was lucky enough to recently sit down with Vivarium director Lorcan Finnegan to discuss the film.

“It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment,” says Finnegan laughing when he is asked where the initial idea came from to make a film that literally shows the horrors of modern day suburbia. “The writer, Garret Shanley, and I worked on a short film together in 2011 called Foxes. That film was a reaction to what was happening politically in Ireland at the time – there were all these housing developments springing up everywhere. The economy was doing really well – it really was the time of the Celtic Tiger because Ireland was doing so well with the economy.”

“But then the crash came in 2008,” Finnegan says continuing. “That resulted in a lot of these houses in those developments being left abandoned. Now they are called ghost estates so we set our short film in one of these locations but when we made that film we realised that we were really only scratching the surface for some of the themes that we were exploring so when we finished we wondered how we could explore those themes a little bit more in-depth. We wanted to explore those ideas in a sci-fi way and make it a much more universal story.”

Hence the idea for Vivarium was born and the result was a film that sees Eisenberg and Poots portray a young couple who literally become trapped when they try to purchase their dream home. With such brilliant performances from the film’s leads it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that they were not up starts for their roles.

“There was actually a bit of a process there,” explains Finnegan as we begin to talk about Poots and Eisenberg. “Imogen became involved first. We met and got on really well and she loved the script. We realised that she was perfect to play Gemma but then we were wondering who we could get to play Tom. There are not many male actors around that age who are willing to play second-fiddle to a female lead, because it really is her story.”

“So we got this list together that had various actors on it and we begun to talk about Jesse Eisenberg,” says Finnegan as he tone noticeably becomes more excited. “Imogen had worked with Jesse before so she knew him and she knew the kinds of films and material that he would respond to and she thought he would like this… and I found that really interesting.”

As a film Vivarium has won over a legion of fans right around the world and Finnegan laughs when our discussion makes him realise that for some people they will be experiencing it for the first time while in lockdown. “I guess after watching the film they will realise that lockdown is not so bad,” he says laughing hard. “It is a weird, surreal story – it was funny, creepy, sad and you are going to have to be a little bit open minded to come out the other side of it because it is a little unconventional.”

 

Vivarium is now available on a range of streaming platforms.

 

In this new episode of Subculture: The Podcast Dave Griffiths and Harley Woods take a look at all of the news coming out of the world of Batman. They discuss Michael Keaton returning to the DC Universe and what DC animation they would love to bring back.

Take a listen below.

 

Summary: A short documentary that looks at the lives of Etty Hillesum and Franz Jaegerstaetter.

Year: 2018

Australian Cinema Release Date: NA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA

Australian VOD Release Date: 10th July 2020

Country: Australia

Director: Grant Fraser

Screenwriter: NA

Cast: Michael Finney (Pirest), Rachel Griffiths (Etty Hillesum), Kali Hulme (Franziska Jaegerstaetter), Neil Pigot (Bishop), Oscar Redding (Franz Jaegerstaetter), Jenny Seedsman (Franz’s Mother)

Running Time: 42 mins

Classification: TBC (Australia)

 

 

OUR STRANGERS TO THE WORLD REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ Strangers To The World Review:

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a history buff. I’m the person who while in a car will yell out for it to stop so I can go and look at a historical marker that I have spotted on the side of the road. I can’t explain it I have just always been that way. Even as a child I would throw my Golden Books out of the way in order to get to my Ned Kelly colouring book.

It is perhaps for that reason that I warmed to new Australian documentary Strangers To The World the way I did. Featuring prominent Australian actors Rachel Griffiths (Muriel’s Wedding) and Oscar Redding (Van Dieman’s Land) the documentary looks at the lives of Franz Jaegerstatter and Etty Hillesum – two people that stood up to the Nazi regime during World War II and refused to allow their morals to be changed.

With Strangers To The World I found the subject matter enthralling. Being a fan of Terence Malick’s 2019 film A Hidden Life Catholic-resister Franz Jaegerstatter has been someone I have been yearning to learn more about for awhile now. Watching Strangers To The World did fill in some of the blanks for me. I was able to learn about the fact that Jaegerstatter lived a rebellious life and only turned to religion during the rise of facism in Europe – but there was something that was unsettling for me throughout the documentary; the very Australian accents during the dramatisations.

Scenes such as Jaegerstatter confronting his Bishop (Neil Pigot – Blue Heelers) about where the Catholic Church should stand on the rise of Nazism was a fascinating watch and was well delivered by two talented actors, but at the same time I just couldn’t ‘not’ here the Australian accents which at times seem to distract from the power of the scenes.

It was also the same with the dramatisations during the story of Etty Hillesum. Having never heard her story before I sat glued to the screen wanting to learn more. Again the theatrical-style dramatisations – this time delivered as great monologues from the talented Rachel Griffiths reading from Hillsum’s letters – looked great but could have been so much more natural had Griffiths been asked to adopt a Dutch accent.

If the sole aim of Strangers To The World is to educate and inspire then it certainly hits it mark. Having watched the documentary I now feel like I know a lot more about Jaegerstatter and received a great insight to how he was feeling in the last days of his life. Likewise I now know about the amazing spirit and determination of Etty Hillesum who remained smiling even while she was in a concentration camp. So powerful was the delivery of her story here that I am trying to find a way to read her letters and diaries.

However if the aim of Strangers To The World was to entertain then I am not sure that it worked. As a documentary it felt to me like the kind of film that would be shown to a High School history class or screened at a museum rather then something that would have people lining up at a cinema to watch. To be succinct it feels like it was more designed to be a Sunday afternoon docco on the ABC then it is to be a big cinema experience.

Strangers To The World is an inspirational film but it is also the kind of documentary that makes you want to learn more about the subjects at the hand. It is well worth a look if you a serious history buff but may be a little dry for those looking to be entertained at the same time.

 

 

 

 

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IMDB Rating: A Good Woman Is Hard to Find (2019) on IMDb

 

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Trailer:

Summary: Filmmaker Elia Suleiman travels to various cities and finds new parallels to his home country Palestine wherever he goes.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: 2nd July 2020

Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: France, Qatar, Germany, Canada, Turkey, Palestine

Director: Elia Suleiman

Screenwriter: Elia Suleiman

Cast: Elia Suleiman (ES)

Running Time: 102 mins

Classification: M (Australia)

 

 

OUR IT MUST BE HEAVEN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ It Must Be Heaven Review:

It Must Be Heaven is not an easy film to write about. That is largely due to the fact that there has never been a film like this before. The best thing to say is probably that this is a film that will divide audiences. For every audience member that sees this film as a visionary work of art there will be somebody else watching the clock and wondering when it is going to end.

Even describing the film itself is not an easy task. Basically it is filmmaker Elia Suleiman (The Time That Remains) travelling the world and finding parallels to his home country of Palestine wherever he goes. Even that description makes the film sound like a documentary – which it is not. Suleiman’s journey is brought to the screen by a series of scenes (think short films) that are linked together by the fact that he is a witness to all the events that happen in front of him.

Whether or not the humour of those short pieces work for you all depends on whether or not you understand the parallel that Suleiman is trying to make about his home-land and what kind of humour wets your appetite. One of the joys of the film I found though is the fact that nearly everyone I know who has seen the film takes away different meanings from the scenes themselves. For example the scene in New York where everyone in the supermarket is armed. Is that drawing a parallel to what life is like in Palestine or is it making a comment about America’s gun culture. An audience member could take either away from the scene and to be honest you couldn’t call either wrong.

One thing that you do find with the film though is that it contains a very rare beauty. In a day where action films and CGI effects flood our cinemas it is refreshing to find a film that creates spectacle using the old fashioned style of filmmaking that relied on the director and cinematographer to bring beauty to the screen. Here Suleiman and cinematographer Sofian El Fani have exquisitely framed every shot to the point where at times it feels like you are looking at a piece of artwork on a gallery wall.

Likewise the presence of Suleiman more than makes up for the fact that he delivers very little dialogue throughout the film. He has the same kind of comedic presence as Larry David and as a result seems to be able to say more with a look or a stare than he could with a whole slab of dialogue. It seems strange to say because of the style of his performance but his acting work here is nothing short of amazing.

It Must Be Heaven is not the kind of film that you can recommend to everyone. If you love Marvel movies and big explosions then this isn’t the film for you, but if you enjoy a movie that makes you think and will stay with you a long time once the credits role then this is a film that you certainly check out.

 

 

 

 

 

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IMDB Rating: It Must Be Heaven (2019) on IMDb

 

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Trailer:

 

Summary: A young woman’s life is thrown into turmoil when he husband is murdered and the Police tell her that he lived a secret life as a drug dealer. While her son hasn’t spoken since witnessing the murder the mother decides that enough is enough and she wants answers and revenge.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: NA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA

Australian DVD Release Date: 13th June 2020

Country: UK, Belgium

Director: Abner Pastoll

Screenwriter: Ronan Blaney

Cast: Susan Ateh (Emily Scott), Shireen Azarmi (Sergeant Jones), Sarah Bolger (Sarah), Josh Bolt (Donal), Jane Brennan (Alice), Caolan Byrne (Terry), Diego Calderon (Drunk Ray), Rafaela Dias (Dr. Reid), Rudy Doherty (Ben), Jo Donnelly (Betty), Edward Hogg (Leo Miller), Siobhan Kelly (Dr. Rosa Brady), Packy Lee (Mackers), Mary Lindsay (Mandy), James McCaffery (Conor), Macie McCauley (Lucy), Daryl McCormack (PC Reeves), Nigel O’Neill (PC Huxley), Andrew Simpson (Tito), Sean Sloan (Jimmy)

Running Time: 97 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia)

 

 

OUR A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ A Good Woman Is Hard To Find Review:

Female led revenge films are nothing new. In fact you could say that several have surfaced every year since director Meir Zarchi delivered the controversial I Spit On Your Grave back in 1978. Yes a lot do exist, but I think I have lost count how many times they have left me leaving the cinema thinking “well I’ve seen that plot a few dozen times now.”

The key to making a film in this genre work is that the filmmaker must be creative enough to come up with something out of the box and never seenbefore. That is certainly the case with under-rated Irish film A Good Woman Is Hard To Find, a film that seemed to be swept under the carpet as all the attention on the genre over the last twelve months have focussed on the epic bomb Peppermint and the brilliant, award-winning The Nightingale.

When it comes to creativity A Good Woman Is Hard To Find is certainly on par with The Nightingale. Directed by Abner Pastoll (Road Games) the film’s revenge seeker is Sarah (Sarah Bolger – The Spiderwick Chronicles), a young widow who wants answers around the murder of her husband.

Her husband was murdered in a park not far from their home and in front of their son who now has not spoken a word since the incident. Much to Sarah’s anger the Police do not want to know about the case and instead insist on telling her that her husband was most likely living a secret life as a drug dealer – a risky move when you live on the patch run by the notorious and unforgiving drug baron Leo Miller (Edward Hogg – Jupiter Ascending).

Adding to Sarah’s woes is the fact that she is now living in fear of opportunistic thief Tito (Andrew Simpson – Notes On A Scandal) who has managed to steal some of Miller’s stash and now keeps it at Sarah’s home. With her family already suffering she now must deal with the constant threats of violence that Tito delivers in order to keep her silence.

What I thought separated this film from the many others in the genre is the great handle that Pastoll has on Oscar nominated Ronan Blaney’s (Don’t Go) screenplay. Blaney has delivered a gem of a script that brings in suspense by the bucket-load and then to top that off Pastoll then brings in his own style of gangster driven film noir that more than kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the film.

I should warn potential viewers of the film though that Pastoll also doesn’t hold back when it comes to the violence on the screen. To his credit though I didn’t think he was violent just to be violent instead I believe that the graphic violence that the director brings to the screen is there to show the brutal situation and events that Sarah has found herself in. In the wrong hands this could have become a virtual schlock thriller but in the hands of Pastoll it becomes a well thought out suspense thriller that comes to an epic conclusion with a blood-soaked finale.

Credit also needs to go to the film’ leading lady – Sarah Bolger. I believe she is nothing short of sensational in this film. A lesser actress may have felt the need to rest her laurels on the action and suspense of the film but here Bolger surprised me by delivering moments of intense drama and she portrays Sarah in such a way that I could not help but feel sorry for her.

I found that there was nothing disappointing about A Good Woman Is Hard To Find and I am glad that it has now landed on DVD and VOD as it made my Top 20 Films Of 2019 list after I was lucky enough to catch it on the festival circuit.

 

 

 

 

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IMDB Rating: A Good Woman Is Hard to Find (2019) on IMDb

 

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Trailer:

Summary: A detemined journalist hunts down the solider that was in charge of her brother’s unit when he disappeared. She is shocked to find though that the incident has left the solider facing demons of his own.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: NA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA

Australian DVD Release Date: 10th June 2020

Country: Australia, United Arab Emirates

Director: Storm Ashwood

Screenwriter: Storm Ashwood

Cast: Gus Bohn (Billy), Warwick Comber (Father Batty), Firass Dirani (Welshy), Jai Godbold (Tan), Sonny Le (Thong), Steve Le Marquand (Carl Boddi), Jett Lowen (Bo), Josh McConville (Seth), Lydia Mocerino (Imogen), Rena Owen (Michelle Pennyshaw), Natalie Rees (Sarah), Jessi Robertson (Lizzy), Hugh Sheridan (Josh), Bonnie Sveen (Rebecca), Juwan Sykes (Stretch), Oliver Wenn (Phil)

Running Time: 92 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia) TV-14 (USA)

 

 

OUR ESCAPE AND EVASION REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ Escape And Evasion Review:

Often in cinema we see war glorified. The action star seemingly singlehandedly taking on a whole Army and coming out on top. Occasionally we do get to see the thought-provoking war film – films like Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge that such us the horrors of the battle field and have us questioning whether or not war is the necessity that we are led to believe it is.

What we rarely get to see though is the aftermath of war. What happens when the solider has left the battlefield and is now back at home trying to live an everyday life? Or what happens when somebody doesn’t return from war, is there family left wondering how they died? Was it quick, was it slow?

Those are the themes that Australian filmmaker Storm Ashwood (School) chooses to focus on in his latest film Escape And Evasion and the result is a sensational film made even better by the performance of a leading man that deserves to pick up an award or two for his portrayal of a returned soldier at breaking point.

The plot is driven by Rebecca (Bonnie Sveen – Home And Away) a determined journalist who is trying to find out what happened to her solider brother who never returned from active service in Burma. To her frustration she finds that there is no record of what happened or even what Australian soldiers were doing there.

She finally hunts down the man that was in charge of her brother’s unit – Seth (Josh McConville – Fantasy Island) – a soldier who is so haunted by his experience that he has turned to alcohol to try and cover the pain. That has left him with a torn apart family but helps him deal with the secrets that his superior, Michelle Pennyshaw (Rena Owen – Once Were Warriors), asks him to keep.

As a film Escape And Evasion never gives its audience a chance to take a break. Whether it be tense dialogue-driven scenes between Seth and Michelle or Seth and Rebecca or combat sequences Atwood floods the film with tension. Instead of making the film an uncomfortable watch this instead just adds to the experience. You literally feel the tension building inside as you become desperate to know what happened to Rebecca’s brother and what the hell occurred that has left Seth the broken man that he is now.

Ashwood may well be one of the directional finds of 2020. His debut feature film – School – did show us that there was a gifted director just waiting to break out. While some were sceptical of the film it did show an artistic side and was brave enough to be different than other films in its genre. With Escape And Evasion Ashwood loses the artistic or experimental side but again goes about things differently as he mixes tense dramatic scenes between characters with emotional charged war and torture scenes. The result is a well-rounded film that leaves the audience not asking any questions at all.

Even with all the brilliance that the director shows with this film it would have fallen in a heap if he did not have the right leading man to bring the story to the screen. Luckily Ashwood found the exact right person to have play Seth in the form of under-rated Australian actor Josh McConville. With known actors like Hugh Sheridan (Packed To The Rafters) and Steve La Marquand (Last Train To Freo) also attached to the project you could easily understand if Ashwood had given one of them the leading role. Instead though he takes a chance on McConville who repays him with one of the best performances you are likely to see on screen in 2020.

Escape And Evasion is one of the cinematic shining lights of this year. An intense and dramatic film – it is one of those movies you will find wanting to watch two or three times to really embrace it. One thing the film will leave you with though is the knowledge that Josh McConville and Storm Ashwood need to be noticed by Hollywood.

 

 

 

 

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IMDB Rating:  Escape and Evasion (2019) on IMDb

 

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Trailer:

 

With their new album exploring topics such as exploitation, desperation and unrest it almost feels that Lamb Of God have written the soundtrack of 2020. For the band themselves though they felt that this was an important album for other reasons. Grammy Award nominations and being described as ‘one of the most important heavy acts of modern times’ aside they just wanted to deliver an album that felt like it was Lamb Of God.

“It is what we do and it is what we are accustomed to doing,” says lead guitarist Mark Morton when we begin to chat about this self-titled album. “But I have to say we were really excited about doing it. There were some unique conditions, it had been five years so there was a real anticipation for us about the new material and what kind of shape it was going to take. We were talking about what kinds of styles would pop up because we were all really compiling song ideas on our own so there was a lot of material to pick through… there was a lot of raw material.”

Another exciting element for the band this time around was getting to record with new drummer Art Cruz for the first time. “You know we had been playing with Art for a couple of years before we got into any kind of pre-production for this album,” says Morton. “So it was not playing with him that was the new experience, we had worked out all of those transitions and the feel of things on the stage over the past year and a half, but we were excited to be able to write music with him.”

“But yeah when it came to process we worked with Josh Wilbur like we always do,” he continues. “But I think the biggest difference was the way the time was spread out. We started to work on this album while we were still touring with Slayer. We still had a couple of legs left on the Slayer farewell campaign and that was really the reason why it was so long between albums because that tour cycle got extended. So on breaks from that tour Willie, Josh and I would go into a studio somewhere and work for a week and a half on demos for new songs, so we would do that, then head out onto the road again, do that and then on the road again. So we would have this brief pre-production sessions that were like spread out for over a year and that really gave us a lot longer to really sit with the material and let it settle.”

“I turn that gave Randy longer with each song,” he explains. “That let him work out the themes that he wanted to attach to each song. That gave him a chance to really write around it and so that really gave us a long view of being able to put all the material together. While that was all born out of necessatity given our tour schedule it really did become an asset and it became an unique part of the album because it was gestated over such a long period of time.”

That leads me to ask whether or not that time period meant that the album also looks at more themes as well. “It’s hard to say,” he says after thinking for a moment. “It is hard to dissect like that because the raw material of the album is kind of collected over that time. It wasn’t like we went five years and then Willie and I were like ‘let’s write songs.’ The ideas were documented over that course of time, so I guess it could be but I haven’t really micro-analysed it like that. I do know though that there were a few influences in there so over that time that may well be the case. I do know that this is a very dynamic album though.”

 

Lamb Of God is out on the June 19th 2020 through Nuclear Blast Records.