Lamb of God are arguably one of the pioneers of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement. And much like most of the pioneering bands, they were propelled to unimaginable heights before being thrown back down by the sheer weight of expectations to surpass the levels of aggression achieved by their earlier albums combined with the painful accusations of “breaking into the mainstream”, especially with their efforts on ‘Wrath’ and ‘Resolution’. After the reassuring return of form in ‘Sturm Und Drang’, fans were desperately waiting for something new from the band. That’s when the announcement of the band releasing a cover album as Burn The Priest hit our ears and I don’t know about others, but it got me pumped. The album is titled ‘Legion: XX’ and will be out on May 18th via Nuclear Blast in Europe and Epic Records in the US.
Tackling a cover album has always been so tricky. You cannot be exactly like the original, but at the same time, you can’t twist it into something that’s entirely new. It has to hit that sweet spot where the original integrity is maintained and simultaneously, the band’s unique personality gets embodied in the compositions. Further, for the band to release it as a re-incarnation of Burn The Priest, it definitely sets an expectation that the band is going back “to their roots”. And when has that ever been easy?
The band already has already released two singles “Inherit the Earth” and “Kerosene” and both hit the nail on the head. Even if we take away the credit for “Inherit the Earth” considering it being somewhat a known territory for the band, we should definitely recognize the band’s creativity in “Kerosene”. I couldn’t help myself from raising those horns up with a silly smile on my face as the slow build up explodes with Randy Blythe screaming “Set me on fire”. Another instance where the band totally owns the original is S.O.D’s thrashy classic “Kill Yourself”. Chris Adler’s crispy work behind the kit definitely propels the track to newer heights. Adler’s performance is not just restricted to this track. The entire album rides strong on this groove laden base provided by his immaculate drumwork.
It is really interesting to hear them tackle Quicksand’s “Dine Alone”, especially the clean vocals. Randy totally owns it as he goes into a never before heard raspy clean vocals for the verse section which is wonderfully weird. Another track to watch out for is “Jesus Built My Hotrod”. Trust me, you will experience something you would never have expected from this band. The track selection is fantastic. They incorporate so much variety that as a listener you never lose your focus from the album.
The production is clean and modern throughout the album. Although it works well overall, but it fails to overcome the original on a few tracks like “Honeybucket” (originally by Melvins), where the original itself was quite rough.
Featuring 10 tracks lasting 38 minutes, the album gets past you fairly quick. You will find yourself spinning it multiple times and getting lost in the sheer variety of the compositions. Lamb of God as Burn The Priest have released a thoroughly enjoyable cover album in ‘Legion: XX’ which must not be missed.