A linchpin of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement with an uncompromising approach that garnered both respect and sales, Richmond, Virginia’s Lamb of God started out using a more inauspicious name. Employing a versatile blend of metalcore, thrash, punk, sludge, and groove-laden death metal, the band issued an eponymous full-length outing under the moniker Burn the Priest before changing their name in 1999 to avoid being mistaken for a Satanic metal outfit. Lamb of God have released a string of high-profile studio albums and enjoyed tremendous commercial success with gold-selling outings like Ashes of the Wake and Sacrament. Between 2000 and 2020, the group carved out a notable swath of sonic real estate, selling millions of records and landing multiple Grammy nominations without ever compromising their sound.
Featuring vocalist Randy Blythe, guitarists Mark Morton and Will Adler, bassist John Campbell, and drummer Chris Adler, the newly rechristened Lamb of God were launched in the year 2000 with their acclaimed New American Gospel album. The group then embarked on a lengthy touring spree, spending most of the next two years preaching their “pure American death metal” at major heavy metal festivals and small clubs alike.
Work on a follow-up effort with producer and Strapping Young Lad mastermind Devin Townsend took place in between countless road trips, so that Lamb of God’s sophomore LP, As the Palaces Burn, was released in summer 2003. Ashes of the Wake quickly followed it in 2004. Produced by Machine, it featured the most fully realized material of the band’s career. Ashes was both a chart and critical hit and set up a year’s worth of successful touring for Lamb of God. (Epic also reissued Burn the Priest, the 1998 debut from the original band.) The Killadelphia concert film appeared in 2005, documenting a particularly fierce stretch of shows in Philly, and the same program’s audio edition dropped toward the end of the same year. 2006′s Sacrament debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200, and eventually went gold, while the group’s 2008 hard-hitting follow-up, Wrath, climbed to number two.
A massive three-disc retrospective entitled Hourglass: The Anthology was issued by Epic in 2010, covering their independent releases as well as their major-label years, and included a third disc of rarities. The set was released in two configurations: it was available for purchase in either three single-disc volumes or as a full box set. The band spent 2010 touring before eventually settling down in 2011 to record new material with producer Josh Wilbur. The result was their chart-topping seventh album, 2012′s Resolution. That same year, Blythe was arrested in Czechoslovakia for charges stemming from an incident at a 2010 show in Prague that saw a young fan climb on-stage and hit his head after being pushed by the lead singer. The 19-year-old died of complications from the injury, and Blythe spent over a month in jail before being found not criminally liable for the incident and released on bail. Blythe would go to pen a memoir, with an emphasis on his arrest, trial, and acquittal, called Dark Days. In 2015, after a period of inactivity, the band issued its long-awaited eighth studio long-player, VII: Sturm und Drang. The following year saw the band issue a new EP, Duke, which was comprised of three live cuts and two new studio tracks. The title cut was inspired by Lamb of God superfan Wayne Ford, who had lost his five-year battle with leukemia.
In 2017, Chris Adler was involved in a motorcycle accident and sidelined from touring. In 2018, the band reactivated the Burn the Priest moniker with the covers album Legion: XX, a fun blast through some of their favorite songs by their punk, hardcore, noise rock, and sludge metal heroes such as Bad Brains, Melvins, Ministry, Quicksand, and Big Black. 2019 saw Adler replaced by former Winds of Plague and Prong drummer Art Cruz, who made his recording debut with the band on their eighth album, 2020′s Lamb of God, which debuted at number 15 on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Hard Rock Albums charts. A deluxe version of the LP appeared the following year and included the previously unreleased single “Ghost Shaped People.” 2021 also saw the release of Live in Richmond, VA, which featured the first of the group’s live-streamed events from September 2020. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia