Burn the Priest Burn the Priest

Quite possibly the biggest metal band in the world right now, West Virginia’s Lamb Of God — prior to succumbing to the standard Pantera gone Gothenburg gone tough guy American metal sound — released some quality metalcore under the misleading Burn the Priest moniker. Today Is the Day main man Steve Austin helmed the production and mixing duties for this debut, which has recently been reissued by Epic after the massive success of their last two full-lengths. The overall sound is still lacking — remaster or no remaster, crappy sound is still crappy sound — but the gritty, crusty approach serves them surprisingly well, especially during the convincingly Southern-sounding dirge grooves. Musically, this release is not dissimilar to Lamb’s official debut, New American Gospel, with perhaps a slightly more noticeable emphasis on breakdowns and an overall more amateurish vibe to the songwriting. Those who enjoyed the group’s major label material would do best to have this in their collection, as unlike the majority of demos and early recordings, Burn the Priest acts as not simply a curiosity and stands alone as an impressive debut almost eight years after its initial appearance. Austin’s hilarious liner notes are worth the price of purchase alone. (Epic)