Burn the Priest Legion: XX
Published May 16, 2018Covers albums can be difficult to pull off for even the best bands. They can offer an inside look at what inspires musicians to create their art, but they can also quickly spiral into self-indulgent wankery that hardly serves a purpose. Luckily, thrash icons Lamb of God, who resurrected their Burn the Priest moniker for this project as a celebration of their 20th anniversary, infused their own personality into each cover without sacrificing the characteristics of the originals.
It's a fitting decision that the band released Legion: XX under their original name, not only because of their anniversary, but also because the record doesn't sound much like Lamb of God. Of course, vocalist Randy Blythe still brings his signature vocal style, but tracks like Quicksand's "Dine Alone" or Big Black's "Kerosene" offer a very different experience than a Lamb of God song. Even when the band are covering thrashier songs like S.O.D.'s "Kill Yourself" or the Accused's "Inherit the Earth," they stay fairly true to the originals with just enough personal flair to keep things interesting.
The band's spin on covers like Ministry's "Jesus Built My Hotrod" or Agnostic Front's "One Voice" are improvements on the originals, if you lean more towards heavier tones, but their cover of Bad Brains' "I Against I" feels like they couldn't do justice to the hardcore punk legend's one-of-a-kind sound. The cover isn't necessarily bad, but is drawn-out and offered an opportunity to create something truly spectacular.
By releasing the album under their original name, there is an expectation that the band would be returning to their roots and Legion: XX proves Lamb of God have not lost sight of their origins. The band's heavy focus on old-school punk and crossover thrash tracks give a glimpse into the early influences of Lamb of God's speedy aggressive sound while providing a few unexpected tricks that make this album worth going back to a few times. (Epic)