In the grand-scheme of all that is metal, American bands haven’t contributed nearly as much to the genre as European bands. In the 1980’s, the Bay Area in California and New York City both contributed a wave of Thrash Metal bands, and later on that decade Florida gave us a solid Death Metal scene. No significant waves really popped up in the 1990’s so heavy metal in America was essentially limited to a plethora of extreme metal bands and Pantera. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that we saw a comeback with the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. The leader of this pack of hungry young rockers was, without a doubt, Lamb of God.
In 1999, Lamb of God (still officially under the name Burn the Priest) released their self-titled debut. This tenacious first effort contained the very basic building blocks for the band’s signature sound. “Burn the Priest” featured the intensity of Grindcore mixed with the Groove Metal stylings of older acts such as Pantera and Machine Head. Although this album was guilty of sounding very much like a debut, it has a sort of raw intensity and originality to it that keeps the listener’s attention and interests peeked throughout. (Probably their most overlooked album, but it shouldn’t be. The reissued version is fairly accessible.)
The very next year, Lamb of God released their second album, “New American Gospel”. An album such as this really only comes around once every decade. For this release, the band improved upon their song writing skills without sacrificing any of the brutality demonstrated on their debut (In fact, “New American Gospel” might even be heavier). Blythe’s vocals were at their strongest and most terrifying and the band as a whole created some of the heaviest breakdowns on this one. Many of Lamb of God’s true classics, such as “Pariah”, “The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion”, and of course “Black Label”, are all from this album. So next time you host a party be sure to play this album and introduce your guests to the WALL OF DEATH!
2003, “As the Palaces Burn”… Do I really need to say more? Again Lamb of God showed progression with this album, but to a much greater degree. The song writing was definitely more focused. They incorporated a significant amount of melody on this release as compared to their previous efforts. Mark and Willie played around with solos a bit more. As for the breakdowns, they may not be as heavy as on previous releases, but they are tighter and so much more technical. Although, the second half of “Blood Junkie” still makes me want to punch a goat in the stomach! “As the Palaces Burn” is a fantastic album and a classic in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. MY REDEMPTION LIES IN YOUR DEMISE!