Lamb of God have announced Legion: XX, an album of covers that returns the band to its roots and its original name, Burn the Priest.
Mark Morton (guitar), John Campbell (bass) and Chris Adler (drums) formed the first incarnation of Lamb of God—Burn the Priest—in the winter of 1994 after meeting four years earlier as students at Virginia Commonwealth University. Less than a year later, in the summer of 1995, they met vocalist Randy Blythe before adding Chris Adler's brother, Willie Adler (guitar), prior to transitioning to the name Lamb of God.
"To truly understand the essence of the band Burn the Priest, one must first consider the landscape in which it began: the mid Nineties," Morton said in a press release. "Grunge and alternative music ruled the airwaves. Social media and the internet had yet to assume their role as our collective sources for entertainment and cultural exchange. It was a time when DIY 'zines turned us onto new bands and regional scenes, and 'copy and paste' still implied a print shop and a glue stick."
Burn the Priest's self-titled debut album—released via Philadelphia-based Legion Records—documented the band as it was at the time, a heavily punk-influenced group performing metal. As the group in popularity, however, its members became increasingly wary of being associated with satanic metal and decided to change the band's name to Lamb of God.
"As our sound and songs developed, so did our goals," Morton continued. "We began playing basement parties and warehouse shows and in doing so, we realized the energy we were creating was transferable. The shows we played in those squats and warehouses [in Philadelphia] and the people we met there are forever embedded in our collective consciousness and the DNA of our band."
Now, Lamb of God have decided to celebrate these origins with Legion: XX, an album featuring tracks originally performed by Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Quicksand, Ministry, Bad Brains, Melvins, S.O.D., the Accused, Big Black and Richmond punk band Sliang Laos. The album will be released under the Burn the Priest name.
"Our inauspicious beginnings somehow grew into something none of us had ever even imagined possible, let alone aspired to, however, this is the story of Burn the Priest," Morton added. "The songs we chose to cover on this album reflect that story. They are touchstones from that point in time. The inspiration we gleaned from these bands and these songs carries through our work and our creative pursuits, even to this day. Many thanks to these bands for lighting our fire and endless gratitude to our fans around the world for keeping it lit."
You can watch the music video for the album's lead single, "Inherit the Earth," above. The song—originally performed by the Accused—is a longtime favorite of the band's. "I've been an Accused fan since I was 14 when they were on the Thrasher Skate Rock Volume 3 compilation with C.O.C. [Corrosion of Conformity] and all these amazing crossover bands," Blythe said in a press release. "Their singer, Blaine Cook, was a huge influence on me, vocally."
Legion: XX is set for a May 18 release via Epic. You can preorder the album here, and check out its full tracklist below.
Legion: XX track listing:
1. Inherit The Earth (originally performed by The Accused)
2. Honey Bucket (originally performed by Melvins)
3. Kerosene (originally performed by Big Black)
4. Kill Yourself (originally performed by S.O.D.)
5. I Against I (originally performed by Bad Brains)
6. Axis Rot (originally performed by Sliang Laos)
7. Jesus Built My Hotrod (originally performed by Ministry)
8. One Voice (originally performed by Agnostic Front)
9. Dine Alone (originally performed by Quicksand)
10. We Gotta Know (originally performed by Cro-Mags)