Lamb of God
n 1994, guitarists Mark Morton and Matt Conner, along with John Campbell (bass) and Chris Adler (drums) formed a band named Burn the Priest. Each knew each other from Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Virginia, where they were attending class. Morton and Conner left soon after pursue master's degrees. Morton was subsequently replaced with Abe Spear. The next year, the band released its self-titled first demo. After the demo, they recorded two split EPs with Agents of Satan and ZED respectively. Randall Blythe (vocals) joined soon after.
In 1997, Morton returned to the band and two years later, they released their first full-length self-titled album. Spear then left the band, leaving an open position for Adler's younger brother Willie to become the second guitarist a year later. They then changed their name because of the altered line-up, and to avoid being mistaken for a satanic metal band.
With a new name and label, the band released its next album, New American Gospel (2000).
The band then toured for two years before releasing their third studio album, As the Palaces Burn (2003); the album being voted the number one album of 2003 by both Revolver Magazine and Metal Hammer.
Ashes of the Wake (2004), debuted at number 27 on the Billboard 200, and sold over 35,000 copies in its first week. The album was distributed through the band's new record label, 'Epic Records'. The band supported the album with extensive touring, including a second stage slot at Ozzfest in 2004, and their 2005 Sounds of the Underground tour. The band was awarded 2nd Best Album of the Year by Revolver magazine.
In 2006, a cover version of the first single from the album, Laid to Rest, was featured as a playable track in the game guitar Hero II; the original version was released for guitar Hero Smash Hits in 2009. The original version was also made available as downloadable content for Rock Band.
August 2006 saw the release of Sacrament; the album debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200 and sold nearly 65,000 copies in its first week of sales. The band was then nominated for 'Best Metal Performance' at the 2007 Grammy Awards for Redneck, but ultimately lost the award to Slayer's Eyes of the Insane.
In December 2007, the band re-released the album as Sacrament: Deluxe Producer Edition. The modified release contained all of the original songs from Sacrament on the first disc, and the second featured a CD-ROM of all of the vocal, bass, guitar, and drum tracks in 192kbit/s MP3 format, enabling the buyer to produce their own interpretation of the songs.
On February 23, 2009, the band released Wrath internationally via 'Roadrunner Records' and one day later in America via 'Epic'. The album was dedicated to Mikey Bronsnan, who helped them get started in Philadelphia and was killed by a drunk driver in 2008. The recording process of the new record was made available to view online live through the band's website, with two webcams installed in the studio's drum room and mixing room.
Spring of 2009 saw the band on the first leg of their world tour, No Fear Energy Tour headlined by themselves with support from Children of Bodom and As I Lay Dying, with rotating opening slots with God Forbid and Municipal Waste. As well, the band serves as support act for Metallica on their North American tour leg in 2009.
Lamb of God was again nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for Best Metal Performance, but lost out to Judas Priest's Dissident Aggressor.
The album, Resolution, arrived on January 24, 2012.
On June 27, 2012 the Czech police arrested Randy Blythe for the death of a 19-year-old fan who climbed onto the stage during the band show back in 2010 in Prague. Blythe allegedly pushed the teen who then hit his head on the floor when he fell and later died. Blythe was charged, in the Prague 8 district court, with committing 'intentional bodily harm'. The band canceled their upcoming tour but resumed 38 days later when Blythe was released on bail. Blythe was indicted on the charges in December 2012. According to a verdict delivered by the Municipal Court in Prague on March 5, 2013, Blythe had thrown Nosek (the victim) off the stage and had moral responsibility for the fan's death but he was not criminally liable. The decision was appealed, and upheld by the Prague High Court in June 2013.
January 26, 2014 would see Randy Blythe posting a picture and a statement on his Instagram page saying he would be taking a long break from the band. The band, after the then-current album cycle, would be on hiatus, except for some summer festival appearances. Later, in September he would further reveal that he was planning to release his upcoming book in early 2015, along with the new Lamb of God record, which uses lyrics he had written while he was incarcerated.
In February 2014, a documentary film featuring the band entitled As The Palaces Burn was released.
VII: Sturm und Drang was released in 2015; the "VII" (roman numeral seven (7)) refers to the album being the band's seventh, and does not count the albums released as Burn the Priest.
Speaking of Burn the Priest, the group would resurrect the name for the release of the all covers compilation Legion: XX (2018).
Lamb of God's genre is a major point of disagreement, although they are mainly considered thrash metal, there have been arguments that they are everything from punk rock to speed metal, death metal and groove metal depending on the album you listen to.
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Lamb of God at Sonisphere Sweden 2009. Photo by BiblioteKarin.
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