Mark Morton Plots Release Of New EP, ‘Ether’

Courtesy: Rise Records/BMG

Mark Morton has another record on the way.

Morton, who spends most of his time with metal outfit Lamb of God, is scheduled to release his new EP Ether in January through Rise Records/BMG. The EP’s release date will be announced soon. The five-track record’s lead single ‘All I Had To Lose,’ which features a guest appearance by Mark Morales (Sons of Texas) is scheduled to debut Jan. 10.

The EP’s release comes almost a year after the release of his solo debut Anasthetic, which was released March 1 through Spinefarm Records.

Morton talked about the EP’s impending release in a recent interview.

“I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of my new, five-song EP Ether on Rise Records!,” he said.  “Once again I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some amazingly talented artists and friends to assemble this collection of tunes, all of which feature a strong acoustic guitar component.  Inspired by the acoustic sets I had the opportunity to perform last spring and summer in support of Anasthetic, I began writing some new songs to reflect that more mellow vibe.  I’m stoked with the results and I can’t wait for everyone to hear what we’ve been putting together.  I’ll be debuting these tunes on my upcoming U.K. acoustic tour, so you can hear them live before they’re released anywhere else!”

Morton also discussed working with Morales and the EP’s other guests — Lizzy Hale, John Carbone and Howard Jones — on the EP.

“I continue to be honored to have the chance to work with so many incredibly talented people and I remain beyond grateful to the fans that have come alongwith me and supported these projects.  Thanks so much, everyone!”

Ether‘s track listing is noted below.  The record was produced by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Soulfly, Gojira).

Ether tracklisting:
1. All I Had To Lose (featuring Mark Morales)
2. The Fight (featuring John Carbone)
3. She Talks To Angels (featuring Lzzy Hale)
4. Love My Enemy (featuring Howard Jones)
5. Black (featuring Mark Morales)

The U.K. dates that Morton mentioned are listed below.

MARK MORTON UK tour dates:
1/8 – Bristol, UK @ Thekla
1/9 – Manchester, UK @ Academy 3
1/10 – Glasgow, UK @ Cathouse
1/11 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy 2
1/12 – London, UK @ Camden Underworld

More information on Morton’s new EP, tour dates and more is available online at:






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Mark Morton’s Solo Debut LP Will Leave Listeners Anything But Numb

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

It’s hard to do the same thing over and over for years at a time.  Everybody knows that.  It’s why people change jobs.  It is also why members of musical acts across the musical universe decide at one point or another to branch out and try their hands at something new (I.E. solo albums). Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton joined those ranks in March with his debut solo album Anasthetic.  The 10-song, 42 minute record shows Morton as not just a metal guitarist, but rather a multi-talented musician who has the capability to succeed in any musical genre.  This is proven in part late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Reveal.’  It will be addressed shortly.  The surprisingly subdued ‘Axis,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another way in which Morton’s wide range of talent is exhibited in this record.  ‘Save Defiance,’ the album’s mid-point is yet another way in which Morton’s full talents are put on display and will also be addressed later.  Each song noted here is important in its own way in proving Mark Morton is more than just another metal shredder.  When they are examined along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole of the album creates a new and deserved respect for Morton and his abilities.

Mark Morton’s debut self-titled album Anasthetic is a strong first solo outing for the Lamb of God guitarist.  That is because it allowed Morton to fully put on display, his talents as a guitarist.  It allowed him to show he is talented at doing more than just churning out heavy, shredding riffs.  Rather, it shows he can handle his own in almost any genre of music.  ‘Reveal,’ which comes late in the album’s run is just one of the album’s entries that supports those statements.  The song, recorded with singer/songwriter Naeemah Maddox, is the polar opposite of anything that Morton has ever done as a member of LoG.  The work presented by Morton here, is gentle and bluesy.  It expertly compliments the Philadelphia-born vocalist’s delivery and the work of their fellow musicians.  His bluesy guitar solo lends itself so easily to comparisons to the best work of Derek Trucks and Carlos Santana.  It is a true, full departure from everything that fans of Morton’s work have ever known, and it is so in the best way possible.

The song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its positive lyrical content couples with its musical to make the song in whole even more interesting.  Maddox sings in the song’s lead verse, “Could be all for sale/Or could be smoke and mirrors/The end is growing near/Or could be smoke and mirrors/Say who you are/Go set your truth/Don’t be the rude in another’s fair/See how you feel/And the nreveal/You may not be who you are/Right at this moment in time.”  She continues in the song’s second verse, “Go and dig a well/And hide as you abide/See, I’m fragile as a shell/And echo like a bell.”  She adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Willing, you have your own mind/You can think for yourself.”  She is saying here that things aren’t always just black and white.  There are shades of grey, so be you and be the best you can be.  That is at least this critic’s own town on this.  It is just one interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere close to being right as it certainly seems to send a rather positive message to listeners.  That, taken into consideration with the song’s musical arrangement, makes the song just one of Anasthetic’s most notable tracks and just one of the most notable examples of Morton’s wide range of talent.  ‘Axis,’ which comes much earlier in the album’s run, is another key example of Morton’s abilities and, in turn, most notable additions.

‘Axis’ is another key example of Morton’s talents and by connection another of this record’s most notable entries.  Crafted with vocalist Mark Lanegan (ex-Screaming Trees), the song’s subdued arrangement lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Tom Waitts and Bruce Springsteen.  That is most evident in Lanegan’s vocals and Morton’s guitar work.  Again, this is a stark departure for Morton from the intensity of the work that he has done over the years with Lamb of God.  It shows he can do so much more than jus play fast and loud, but rather also slower and with great dynamic control.  It makes for that much more respect for Morton and his abilities.  The song’s musical arrangement does a lot to make this work stand out, and is just one part of what makes it stand out.  The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the song’s whole.

Lanegan sings seemingly in this song, about someone who has been through quite a bit of adversity in life and is struggling to get through it.  What’s interesting here is that for all the adversity, the song doesn’t come across as some sort of emo type song.  Rather, it harkens back to the great blues songs of days long ago through its lyrical delivery.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “I came down with a fever/The catacombs, they were filled/Lucifer within my larynx/Clothing a sarcophagus/Baby, set my head on fire/Every man is born to die/The Captain called me out on a carpet, boys/You know I got a tear in my eye/”  he continues in the song’s second verse, “I have been lost and wandering/A wanderer I remain/Met Judas in West Texas/Tried to take my name/Now I am lost and wandering/And wandering, I am blind/Will the moon come off its axis/Before I lose my mind/I came down with a sickness/Pouring down just like rain/Red, red sun in the evening/Red, red heart full of pain.”  He adds a touch more in the song’s third and final verse, but the song in whole is pretty clear.  Again, this is someone who has gone through so much.  It is just a classic, retro style country blues type work even in its lyrical presentation.  That content, coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, makes it a piece that is sure to appeal to plenty of listeners.  It will appeal so widely because of that aspect and because, again, it shows that Morton is not just a one-trick pony.  It shows he can do quite a bit more than just metal, and can do so quite well at that.  It still is not the last of the songs featured in this record that serves to exhibit that talent and interest.  ‘Save Defiance,’ the record’s mid-point, is one more example of Morton’s broad range of talent.

‘Save Defiance’ was recorded with Alter Bridge front man Myles Kennedy.  Fittingly, this song’s arrangement presents Morton as an able mainstream hard rock driver just as much as a metal guitarist.  What is truly interesting here is that the grouping of Morton, Kennedy and the rest of the song’s featured musicians immediately leads to comparisons to some of Alter Bridge’s best works.  Again, this is a good thing because it shows how much more Morton can do than just shred really fast and hard.  It shows here that he can create some really heavy, melodic riffs, too.  Morton’s ability to so easily liken himself to Mark Tremonti shows yet again just why he is such an important figure not just in the rock community, but in the music community in whole.  As much as Morton’s abilities do for himself and for the song, they are just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content plays its own important part to the whole of the song.

Kennedy sings in the song’s lead verse, “Into the last refrain/As your empire falls/World in decay/Our backs against the wall/Tell me, now/Is it too late/Tell me, now/Who’ll pay the cost/For all the times you’ve disengaged/Tomorrow could be lost/Stop what you started/Open your eyes/The truth is the hardest thing to deny.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Save defiance/And hope you’ve got one last shot/Blood of tyrants running cold/They will never stop/Save defiance/You alone will resist in time/Break alliance to behold shifting paradigms/There is no time to waste/This you can’t deny/The truth you embrace was only just a lie/Now do you see you’re betrayed/now you must keep your resolved/Or everything you sacrifice to keep/Will forever be dissolved/Stop what they started/Open your eyes/They’re reaping a harvest/And bleeding you dry.”  He reminds listeners in the song’s third verse, “This is your season/Take it and rise/The battle’s drawing/Fight for your lives.”  This is a call to action, point blank.  This is a socio-political commentary that is urging people everywhere to not sit idly by and allow those who do bad in the world to continue their heinous acts.  He is telling listeners to stand up and do something and make a difference.  That is at least this critic’s own take on this content.  The power and urgency in the song’s musical arrangement works to make this seem the case, so hopefully it is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Thinking about the power of the song’s combined musical and lyrical content along with that of the power of the other discussed songs’ power and variety, they show clearly together just how talented Mark Morton really is.  When the variety and power in the songs discussed here is considered along with that of the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the record becomes a strong solo debut for Morton.  It serves to show regardless of where his future takes him, Morton can and will be successful.

Mark Morton’s debut solo album Anesthetic is a strong first effort from the Lamb of God guitarist.  That is because while it does continue to display his metal chops throughout, it does more than that.  It also shows his abilities in other regions of the musical universe.  That, combined with lyrical content that is just as certain as the record’s musical content to keep listeners engaged, makes the record a positive offering from Morton and all involved.  All things considered, the album proves to be a presentation that will leave listeners anything but numb.  More information on Anasthetic is available online now along with all of Mark Morton’s latest news and more at:










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Slayer Announces Dates For Final World Tour: Leg Five

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Slayer’s worldwide farewell tour will officially run into summer 2019.

The band announced the dates for Leg Five of its final world tour on Monday.  Leg Five will bring the band back to North America for a series of dates through May, starting May 2 and running through May 25.  Lamb of God, Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse will serve as support for the tour.

The band’s new dates are noted below. The announcement follows the recent announcement of the sixth leg of the tour, which will take Slayer across Europe during June and July.  Those dates — and those of Leg Four — are included with the dates for Leg Five.

Leg Four:  Australia Japan South Pacific
(Anthrax and Behemoth will support on headline dates) 

7   Brisbane Riverstage Brisbane Australia
9   Download Festival Sydney Australia
11  Download Festival Melbourne Australia
15  Eventfinda Stadium Auckland New Zealand
17  Horncastle Arena Christchurch New Zealand
21  Download Festival Chiba Prefecture Japan
23  Pulp Summer Slam Manila Philippines

Leg Five:  North America
(Lamb of God, Amon Amarth and Cannibal Corpse will support on all dates) 

2   Ak-Chin Amphitheatre Phoenix AZ
3   Isleta Amphitheatre Albuquerque NM
5   UTEP/Don Haskins Center El Paso TX
7   Bert Ogden Arena Edinburg TX
8   The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory Dallas TX
10  MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre Tampa FL
11  Coral Sky Amphitheatre West Palm Beach Florida
13  Big Sandy Superstore Arena Huntington WVa
14  Merriweasther Post Pavilion Columbia MD
16  Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center Noblesville IN
17  Providence Medical Center Amphitheatre Bonner Springs KS
19  DTE Energy Mush Center Clarkston MI
20  Covel Centre Youngstown OH
22  Canadian Tire Centre Ottawa ON  CANADA
24  BB&T Pavilion Camden NJ
25  Xfinity Center Mansfield MA

Leg Six:  Europe(Support acts for headline dates TBA)

4  Arena Gilwice Gilwice Poland
6  Sweden Rock Solvesborg Sweden
8  Rock Am Ring Nurburgring Germany
9  Rock Im Park Nurnberg Germany
11  Sports Arena Budapest Hungary
13  Leipzig Arena Leipzig Germany
14  Nova Rock Nickelsdorf Austria
Weekend of June 14-16
Download Donington Park UK
19  Arena Geneva Switzerland
21  Graspop Metal Meeting Dessel Belgium
23  Hellfest Clisson France25  Tipsport Arena Prague Czechoslovakia
28  Tons of Rock Oslo Norway
29  Tuska Open Air Helsinki Finland

July 3-6
Resurrection Festival Viviero Spain
5   VOA Heavy Rock Festival Lisbon Portugal
7   Rock The Castle Verona Italy
10  Metalheadmeeting Bucharest Romania
11  Airport Park Sofia Bulgaria
13  Rockwave Festival Athens Greece
Weekend of July 27-28*
Heavy Montreal Parc Jean-Drapeau Montreal QC

3  Messegelande Balingen Germany

More information on Slayer’s final world tour is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:






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Soulfly Debuts ‘Under Rapture’ Lyric Video; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Only days after the band debuted the latest “trailer” for its new album Ritual, Soulfly has unveiled the lyric video for its new single.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Under Rapture’ on Friday.  The single features guest vocals from Immolation front man Ross Dolan, with whom Soulfly front man Max Cavalera discussed working in that noted recent “trailer.”

Dolan said in a recent interview that he enjoyed taking part in the creation of ‘Under Rapture.’

“It was really exciting for me to be part of the new Soulfly album,” Dolan said.  “‘Under Rapture’ is a crushing song, and I was on board the second I heard it.  It was truly an honor for me to have been part of this.  I think it’s a sick song, both musically and lyrically, and I am really happy with the end result!”

He added, “This collaboration started last February when we were invited out as support on the ‘Return to Roots’ tour, which eventually led to Max singing on the ‘Morbid Visions’ cover we did for the Death Is Just The Beginning compilation.  As fans, having Max part of this really made it special, and truly meant the world to us.”

Soulfly debuted Ritual‘s seventh “trailer” on Wednesday.  [Max] Cavalera discussed working with Dolan and Lamb of God front man Randy Blythe in that video.  Prior to its release, the band also released trailers featuring Cavalera discussing: the choice of music for projects, working with the Navajo tribe, the return of tribal elements on RitualRitual‘s title, working with producer Josh Wilbur on Ritual, and Ritual‘s artwork.

The band has also previously released a “visualizer” for its single ‘Dead Behind The Eyes,’ which features Randy Blythe on guest vocals, a 360-degree video for Ritual‘s title track and stream of the album’s lead single ‘Evil Empowered.’

The full track listing for Ritual is noted below.

Ritual track listing:
1.  Ritual
2.  Dead Behind The Eyes (feat. Randy Blythe)
3.  The Summoning
4.  Evil Empowered
5.  Under Rapture (feat. Ross Dolan)
6.  Demonized
7.  Blood On The Street
8.  Bite The Bullet
9.  Feedback!
10.  Soulfly XI


Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Soulfly will launch a month-long tour in support of Ritual in January that is scheduled to launch Jan. 25 in Albuquerque, NM and run through Feb. 26 in Los Angeles, CA.  That schedule is noted below. Tickets can be purchased here.

1/25/2019 Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
1/26/2019 Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey
1/27/2019 Austin, TX – Come & Take It Live
1/28/2019 New Orleans, LA – Santos
1/31/2019 – 2/4/2019 – 70000 TONS OF METAL CRUISE (SOULFLY only)

2/05/2019 Orlando, FL – Soundbar
2/06/2019 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
2/07/2019 Frederick, MD – Cafe 611
2/08/2019 Clifton, NJ – Dingbatz
2/09/2019 Reading, PA – Reverb / Tsunami Fest
2/10/2019 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
2/11/2019 New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
2/12/2019 Toronto, ON – Mod Club
2/13/2019 Flint, MI – Buick City Events Center
2/14/2019 Joliet, IL – The Forge
2/15/2019 Ft Wayne, IN – Piere’s
2/16/2019 Dayton, OH – Oddbodys
2/17/2019 Lexington, KY – Manchester Music Hall
2/18/2019 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
2/19/2019 Colorado Springs, CO – Sunshine Studios Live
2/20/2019 Grand Junction, CO – Mesa Theater
2/22/2019 Spokane, WA – The Pin
2/23/2019 Seattle, WA – Club Sur Rocks
2/24/2019 Portland, OR – BossaNova
2/25/2019 Petaluma, CA – Phoenix Theatre
2/26/2019 Los Angeles, CA – 1720 Club

More information on Soulfly’s tour schedule is available online, along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:






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Soulfly Debuts Third Single From ‘Ritual’

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Soulfly has debuted another single from its forthcoming album, and has already coupled with with a companion video.

The band debuted the “visualization” video for its new single ‘Dead Behind The Eyes‘ on Friday. The song is lifted from the band’s forthcoming album Ritual and features a guest appearance by Lamb of God front man Randy Blythe.  The “visualization” takes audiences through a maze of rusty chains and occasional burning embers, a shot of the band and Ritual‘s cover art as the thrash style arrangement plays.

Soulfly front man and founder Max Cavalera explained in an interview with Sweden’s Rock Sverige that the song’s lyrical content was influenced in part by the Cenobites, the creatures from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser movies, but offered little other background on the lyrics’ meaning.

“It was really cool,” Cavalera said. “[Randy is] really tight with [producer] Josh Wilbur, and Josh has done all the Lamb of God stuff, and he was working on the Burn The Priest record, so I just told Josh to give him the tracks and “show them to him, and if there’s anything he likes, if he wants to sing on it, it’s all cool.” I didn’t have a song for him, so he showed him everything, and what Josh told me was that they were listening to it and the minute that song came on — it was nicknamed ‘Bruiser Brother’ — and the minute he heard it, it was like, “That’s it! This is the one ! I don’t wanna hear anything else.”  I had already written the lyrics, so I sent him all my lyrics, and it was just good to have the Randy voice on it.  He’s got a real distinctive voice, really unique, and that’s what I like about guys like him.  It’s very original and you know it’s him.”

Cavalera went on to explain that the song’s musical arrangement was rooted in some familiar influences.

“That song, the vocal pattern is really based on [Sepultura’s 1987 album] Schizophrenia and ‘From The Past Comes The Storm,” Cavalera said.  “It’s totally influenced by that.  When I worked on that song, I worked with my son Zyon and he was listening to Beneath The Remains and asking me about songs like ‘Stronger Than Hate,’ and all those parts, and mesmerized by it, and I was like, “You know what? Let’s challenge this! Let’s make a song like that!”  So I started working with him and added all those parts, and it has one of my favorite guitar solos of Marc Rizzo.  I gave him a whole section.  It was crafted like Ride The Lightning era.  You’ve got this solid rhythm behind the leads, which not many people do.  It can be kind of a headache to put it together, and it might take a little time, but I think the final result is f****** awesome.”

Cavalera stressed if he can convince Blythe to take part, he would like to make a full video for ‘Dead Behind The Eyes.’  The song’s current video is just the latest presentation to come from the album. Also released are a full 360-degree video for Ritual‘s title track and a stream for the album’s lead single, ‘Evil Empowered.’

Four videos featuring Cavalera talking about topics, such as Ritual‘s artwork, working with Josh WilburRitual‘s title and tribal elements are also streaming now.

Pre-orders are open now for Ritual.  The album’s track listing is noted below.

Ritual track listing:
1.  Ritual
2.  Dead Behind The Eyes (feat. Randy Blythe)
3.  The Summoning
4.  Evil Empowered
5.  Under Rapture (feat. Ross Dolan)
6.  Demonized
7.  Blood On The Street
8.  Bite The Bullet
9.  Feedback!
10.  Soulfly XI

More information on Ritual is available online now along with all of Soulfly’s latest news and more at:






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Lamb of God Debuts Video For Burn The Priest’s Cover Of ‘Jesus Built My Hotrod’

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God has released a new video for Burn The Priest’s cover of Ministry’s Jesus Built My Hotrod.’

Created by Heath Bradley, the video is streaming online now.  It features an elderly man (maybe supposed to be Jesus?) driving a souped up hot rod/rat rod looking very aggravated as he drives along a long highway.  Along the way, there are oil fields, billboards featuring the band members, scenes with the band performing.

The whole thing culminates with the unidentified driver standing next to an alien sort of figure, smiling as he delivers the song’s final lines.

Guitarist Mark Morton said ‘Jesus Built My Hotrod’ almost didn’t even make the final cut for the album, and that its creation and addition to the record happened somewhat spontaneously.

“This was a benchmark song from the early 90s.  We didn’t even originally plan on doing it – producer Josh Wilbur and I learned it real quickly and put it together,” Morton said.  “It turned out to be one of our favorite songs of the album.  It features a side of Randy that people aren’t used to hearing.  nothing was planned, so it felt fun, and we just went for it.”

This new video is the third to be released from Lamb of God’s new album under the Burn The Priest moniker.  Prior to its release, videos for the band’s covers of Accused’s ‘Inherit The Earth‘ and Bad Brains’ ‘Kerosene‘ were released.

LegionXX is available now in stores and online.  It is available at a low price of $7.99 via iTunes this week only.  It is also available in bundles at various sites here. its track listing is noted 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)

A special 7″ vinyl version of ‘Inherit The Earth’ with a cover of Helmet’s ‘In The Meantime’ as a b-side is also available via the band’s official online store.  That b-side was not included in the final cut of LegionXX, making it an extra special addition to that vinyl pressing.

Lamb of God is wrapping up the U.S. leg of its tour with Slayer this weekend with two last dates.  The first is tonight in Auburn, Washington and the last is Sunday in San Jose, California.

After wrapping that leg of the tour, the band will also perform at a pair of festival shows in September before heading overseas with Slayer as that band continues its farewell world tour.  All of the band’s upcoming dates are noted below.

24   White River Amphitheater, Auburn, WA *w/ Slayer
26   SAP Center, San Jose, CA *w/ Slayer

1   Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Concord, VA *Festival
7   Force Fest, Mexico City, Mexico *Festival

More information on Lamb of God’s upcoming tour dates, its new Burn The Priest record and its latest news is available online now at:






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Burn The Priest/LOG’s New Covers Record Will Appeal To Rock, Metal Fans Everywhere

Courtesy: Epic Records

Lamb of God has, over the course of some two decades, made quite the name for itself within the metal community.  It has, in fact, made such an impact that it has come to be considered in some circles as one of the metal world’s elite acts.  Before rising to such fame, the Richmond, Virginia-based band went by another name and was working just as hard to make a name for itself.  It went by the name Burn the Priest, which obviously makes it a good thing that the band decided to change names.  Of course while the band changed its names, it never has forgotten its roots, as is evidenced in its new tribute/covers collection LegionXX.  Released just this past Friday, the 10-song compilation pays tribute to the bands that inspired Lamb of God, Nee Burn The Priest while also using the band’s former name to put emphasis on that former name to show where Lamb of God is and has been.  It is definitely a record that is aimed at Lamb of God’s most devout fans that ironically serves as its own music history lesson at the same time for audiences in general.  That shows a dual purpose here that adds even more to the record’s value.  The arrangements presented in each song play their own collective role in the album’s presentation that deserves attention, so it will be discussed later.  The record’s sequencing puts the final touch to its presentation and will also be discussed later.  Each element is important in its own right to the album’s whole.  All things considered, LegionXX proves to be a record that will appeal both to Lamb of God’s most devout fans and to the rock and metal “legions” around the world.

Burn The Priest/Lamb of God’s new tribute to its roots LegionXX is an interesting new offering from the band.  On the surface, it does come across as one of those obligatory contract satisfying space fillers.  On another level though, it is a little bit more than that.  First, it is a tribute in itself to the bands that inspirited Lamb of God’s members.  Second, it is a music history lesson for the rock and metal masses who otherwise might not have been overly familiar with those same bands.  Case in point, the cover of Cro-Mags’ ‘We Gotta Know.’  The band itself started way back in the 1980s, so while some of LOG’s fans might be familiar with that band, odds are the majority are not so familiar with the band, let alone the song.  That is even with ‘We Gotta Know’ getting attention on MTV.  The song was included in Cro-Mags’ 1986 debut album The Age of Quarrel, so again, likely only a certain cross-section of LOG’s fans today are that familiar with this record.  Bad Brains is another relatively well-known band in its own right because of its punk and hard rock leanings.  Yet today it is, again, likely not as well-known as the bands that it influenced.  So having this forebear included in the mix – with one of its biggest hits no less – is important to note.  Considering Bad Brains’ overall sound and that of Burn The Priest/Lamb of God, one can definitely hear the influence on the latter by the prior.  Sliang Laos is probably the absolute least known of the bands included in this compilation.  Fellow Richmond, Virginians, this band was known to a very limited audience, and has until now remained so incognito – for lack of better wording.  So, having that band included here with its more well-known counterparts can only serve a positive purpose for the band’s legacy.  What’s more, the other bands featured in this compilation are just as positively served because of the rejuvenated attention on their histories and music.  Keeping that in mind, the bands and songs featured in this collection may make it a contractually obligated space filler, but it’s one that still at least serves some purpose.  Keeping this in mind, while the songs and bands featured form a strong foundation for this record, they are not, collectively, its only important element.  The arrangements of said songs are just as important to discuss as the songs themselves.

The arrangements presented here are so important to discuss because they stay so close to their source material and because of the variety in their sounds.  BTP/LOG cover of The Melvins’ ‘Honey Bucket’ supports that statement.  The cover included in LegionXX sticks almost exactly to the original, with the only difference being between Randy Blythe’s scathing vocal delivery and that of Roger Osborne.  Osborne sounds on the Melvins’ original more akin to Metallica front man James Hetfield in his youth while Blythe’s vocal delivery is far more brutal.  That is not a comparison of who’s better.  Rather it is merely an objective notice.  Keeping that in mind, BTP/LOG’s take on this thrash classic will definitely appease those who are familiar with the original.  The same can be said of the cover of Ministry’s ‘Jesus Built My Hot Rod.’  Though in the case of this one, the major difference comes in the song’s spoken word intro.  Whereas Al Jourgensen made a rather blasphemous statement about Jesus in the original song’s introduction, Blythe was smart enough not to go that route.  Instead, he jokingly said Jerry Lee Lewis was the devil and that “Jesus was an architect previous to his career as a prophet.”  That goes in line with the story that Burn The Priest became Lamb of God in order to keep itself from being mislabeled as a Satanic band.  It shows a certain thought on the part of Lamb of God’s members (especially Randy Blythe) to go that route instead of Al Jourgensen’s more blasphemous route.  Other than that, the two takes are virtually identical.  The same can be said of the cover of Sliang Laos’ ‘Axis Riot.’  The cover featured here sticks almost entirely to its source material, right down to Blythe’s vocal delivery.  Yes, Blythe actually opts for a clean delivery here just as was done with the original instead of his trademark cookie monster growl.  It’s a nice change of pace, and also serves to show Blythe’s true range.  It’s something hopefully he will consider utilizing more in Lamb of God’s future albums.  Keeping this in mind, this is just one more way in which the arrangements in this record prove to be so important to its overall presentation.  The band doesn’t try to go over the top, nor does the band try to go in any different route, opting instead to stick to their source material.  When that is considered along with the value of the musical history lesson provided by the songs themselves, those two elements together make this record all the more worthwhile for the most devout BTP/LOG fans.  Even as important as they are to the record’s whole, they are not its only important elements.  The record’s sequencing is the last touch to note in examining its whole.

Audiences who have yet to pick up LegionXX will be pleased to know that the sequencing of this record is just as applause-worthy as its songs and their arrangements.  The record starts off full-throttle with the cover of The Accused’s ‘Inherit The Earth.’  From there, the energy doesn’t let up for even a moment.  That is even as the varied styles change from one song to the next.  The change of that song to the full on hard rock assault of ‘Honey Bucket’ to the more brooding ‘Kerosene’ in the record’s first trio of works clearly exemplifies this statement.  The band keeps things moving solidly with the equally solid hard rock arrangement of ‘I Against I’ before moving into the semi-punk vibe of ‘Axis Riot.’  The variance in the songs’ energies is just as slight from here on right to the record’s end.  The end result is a record whose energies from start to finish are just as certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained as its songs and their arrangements.  All three elements play together to make the album overall a record that is certain to appeal to a wide range of rock “legions.”  Yes, that pun was intended.

Lamb of God’s tribute/covers album, which pays tribute to its own past and the bands that influenced its members, is a record that even being another covers record, is certain to appeal to a wide range of rock and metal fans.  This is proven in part through the record’s featured songs.  The songs’ arrangements are just as important as the songs themselves in keeping listeners’ ears.  That is because while staying true to their source material, these arrangements keep still add their own touch to make the originals just as hard-hitting as ever.  The energies in the arrangements put the final touch to the album, ensuring once and for all, listeners’ engagement throughout.  At this point, it should be clear why all three noted elements are so critical to LegionXX both alone and collectively.  All things considered, they make LegionXX a record that will appeal just as much to LOG/BTP’s most devout fans as it will to rock and metal audiences in general.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on LegionXX is available online now along with all of Lamb of God’s latest news and more at:








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