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Burn The Priest - Legion: XX (Album Review)

Thursday, 24 May 2018 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Gurn. Swear at the audience. Tell them to do a circle pit. This heavy metal stuff is a serious business. But ‘Legion: XX’ is not serious. Here, Virginian metal masterminds Lamb Of God have temporarily reverted to their original moniker, Burn The Priest, in order to have a shitload of fun covering their favourite bands.

They’ve not done a Marilyn Manson and completely reinvented any of them – in fact, they stick pretty rigidly to the original songs’ structures and tempos. But, of course, you know it’s Lamb Of God from minute one.

When covering Big Black’s antagonistic, wiry anthem Kerosene, Randy Blythe’s squeals and guttural, prolapse-inducing growls remain recognisably him.

Likewise, their version of the Accüsed’s Inherit The Earth is home to Chris Adler’s hyperactive drum rolls, and that guitar tone is unmistakable. It’s Lamb Of God. It’s got groove for days.

But, essentially, this is a load of (mostly) punk and hardcore songs beefed up with better production values. Their cover of Kill Yourself by S.O.D is just as ludicrous as its source material, but it’s got that Lamb Of God weight, that crushing, unearthly rumble. The same goes for the opening throes of the Melvins’ Honey Bucket.

And maybe we don’t need to hear them churn out what’s basically a note-for-note rendition of Ministry’s Jesus Built My Hotrod – especially seeing as the latter band already spatters the speakers with the same southern-fried, grit-chewing sass Lamb Of God offer. The slide guitar solo’s still there, too. Of course it is.   

Despite being a bit rudimentary, you can’t deny how lively this is. No, it’s probably not going to do for Agnostic Front or Cro-Mags what Metallica did for the Misfits. But for your average metal fan, there’s a lot of cool stuff, a lot of back catalogues, to be unearthed through this album.

It’s a laugh. A breather from the tour-write-record cycle. For metal purists, it might be a stretch. Those who don’t like Blythe’s clean singing on Lamb Of God’s recent output will really hate hearing him deliver the life-affirming melody from Bad Brains’ I Against I. But, they’re missing out. Do you need ‘Legion: XX’? Nah. But it’s fun. And that’s worth a lot.





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