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Lamb Of God

While attending Richmond's Virginia Commonwealth University, guitarist Mark Morton, bassist John Campbell and drummer Chris Adler started Burn The Priest.

Morton soon left to work on his Masters degree. Adler and Campbell pressed on filling the guitar slot and adding vocalist Randy Blythe. Some demos rolled out in '95 but the big news came two years later with the return of Morton. The next year Adler's brother, Willie, joined becoming the second guitarist. This line-up recorded the band's self-titled '99 debut for Legion Records.

Unfortunately, several promoters banned the group because they thought Burn The Priest was an "evil" or even satanic name. So they became Lamb Of God.

Next up was '00's "New American Gospel," followed three years later by "As The Palaces Burn," both issued on the Prosthetic label. Compared to Pantera and Slipknot, Lamb Of God played the second stage during '04's Ozzfest. That same year, "Ashes Of The Wake," landed (on the Epic imprint). Falling out of the supporting tour, Lamb Of God issued the live CD/DVD "Killadelphia" which went platinum.

Continuing on a roll, Lamb Of God released their fifth studio effort, "Sacrament," in '05. The album cracked the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart. As a result, the group moved to the Ozzfest main stage and was nominated for "Best Metal Performance for "Redneck" but lost the Grammy award to Slayer ("Eyes Of The Insane").

Filmed during the Sacrament World Tour, Lamb Of God released "Walk With Me In Hell" DVD. The '08 double disc had over four hours of footage

Striking an international deal with Roadrunner, while remaining with Epic in the U.S., Lamb Of God released "Wrath" in '09. "This album is going to surprise a lot of people," said Chris Adler. "Typically bands that get to where we are in our career begin to slack off, smell the roses and regurgitate. We chose a different path. No one wants to hear another band member hyping a new record. 'Wrath' needs no hype. We have topped ourselves."

Between The Buried And Me guitarist Paul Waggoner filled in for Morton on the final stops of '10 Mayhem Festival because Morton had to "had to go home and take care of some business." Later in the year, Lamb Of God made their third appearance at the Download Festival.

Once again, Lamb Of God was nominated for the Best Metal Performance Grammy. This time they lost to Judas Priest. But the single "Hit The Wall" landed in the Iron Man 2 video game before the group left to supported Metallica on the latter's Australian tour.

"Resolution," Lamb Of God's seventh studio effort (if you count "Burn The Priest"), dropped in '12. "{It's} unlike any other album before," stated Morton. "This album was written over the course of a couple of years, at least with the guitars. Willie and I starting songwriting as soon as we started touring 'Wrath'."

Produced by Josh Wilbur (Limp Bizkit, Hatebreed, Black Tide), "Resolution" featured the song "Ghost Walking," and included a bonus live CD, featuring tracks recorded during the band's '09 -'10 world tour. That trek had some unexpected ramifications a couple years later.

While on a '12 European tour, Blythe was arrested in Prague. He was accused of pushing Daniel Nosek off the stage during a '10 concert, leading to a head injury which later caused Nosek's death.

One month later, Blythe was finally released from a Czech Republic prison. The singer, not charged at the time, posted bail of $200,000, which was eventually upped by the court to $400,000. The incarceration forced Lamb Of God to cancel a planned headlining tour.

The story didn't end there. In December, Blythe was indicted on manslaughter charges. "Obviously, we intend to fight vigorously against these charges as we feel that in no way did Randy intend to cause bodily harm on the young fan who subsequently died from injuries sustained at the show," said Larry Mazer, the band's manager.

Blythe's manslaughter trial in the Czech Republic began in early February, '13. "I've kept my word. I said that I would come back to court today and I did," Blythe told the court. "I'm not a person who runs away from problems. But I do not want to be punished for something I did not do."

Blythe was eventually acquitted. A panel of Czech judges ruled that the concert promoters - and not Blythe - were largely responsible for the fatality. The state attorney immediately appealed the decision.

"I am a free man," said Blythe, following the verdict. "Please remember the family of Daniel Nosek in your thoughts and prayers in this difficult time. I only wish for them peace."

In a subsequent interview Adler stated that Blythe's lengthy trial had left the band bankrupt. "Not only were we not able to generate any income, but we ended up having to pay more than half a million dollars in legal fees," stated the drummer. "It bankrupted the entire band, no money left for any kind of payroll or anything."

Later in the year, Protest The Hero recruited Adler to replace Moe Carlson, who was going back to school. "With Moe's guidance and approval, we found us a nice match in Chris Adler! Having known Chris for a few years, and he and Moe being drum-buddies, it seemed like a perfect fit," read a Facebook post.

Back on the Lamb Of God front, there was another snag. A planned '13 concert in Malaysia was cancelled. The Department Of Islamic Development objected to the show with the promoters taking the blame on behalf of the government, saying they called off the concert because of death threats made against the band, along with "objections raised by various groups."

So Blythe took the opportunity to display another creative channel. In '15, he opened a two month photography exhibition entitled "D RANDALL BLYTHE: Show Me What You're Made Of" at Sacred Gallery in Manhattan's SoHo District.

Within weeks of the exhibition, Lamb Of God rolled out "VII: Sturm Und Drang," (German for "storm and stress"), which indirectly referred to Blythe's Prague troubles.

Recorded at NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood and Suburban Soul Studios in Torrance, CA, the album featured "Still Echoes," the lead single, and "Embers" with Deftones frontman Chino Moreno.

On a roll, Blythe's memoir, Dark Days, arrived at the same time. The book directly addressed his ordeal in the Czech Republic.

Another ordeal led to "The Duke." The '16 EP paid tribute to the group's late friend Wayne Ford who was fighting leukemia when he met Blythe. It was a battle Ford lost in '15.

To mark their 20th-anniversary Lamb Of God released a covers album, "Legion: XX," as Burn The Priest, the moniker used when the group was originally formed in '94. The adoption of Lamb Of God came four years later.

The collection contained versions of songs originally written and recorded by bands that inspired them: Honey Bucket (Melvins), Kerosene (Big Black), I Against I (Bad Brains) and Jesus Built My Hotrod (Ministry), among others.

Two months later, Lamb Of God hit the road for the second leg of Slayer's farewell tour but did so without Adler who was forced to sit out the trek "due to unforeseen circumstances." Art Cruz filled in. In a statement, the band expected Adler's return in the near future.

Adler later revealed that he was undergoing physical and occupational therapy for injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident.

Before Lamb Of God released another album, Morton presented his debut solo set, "Anesthetic." The track "Cross Off" featured vocals by late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington. "To get the chance to work with him like that and to create music with him was really exciting," said the guitarist.

The effort also had guest vocals by Blythe, Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach), Myles Kennedy (Slash, Alter Bridge) and Josh Todd (Buckcherry).

Lamb Of God Discography

1999 Burn The Priest
2000 New American Gospel
2003 As The Palaces Burn
2004 Ashes Of The Wake
2006 Sacrament
2009 Wrath
2012 Resolution
2015 VII: Sturm Und Drang
2016 The Duke EP
2018 Legion: XX

Nu Metal, Metalcore, Speed Metal, Thrash Metal and even Death Metal - Lamb Of God has been called them all. But essentially they are a churn and burn/riff and rant band.

Early material can be unfocused as Lamb Of God tries to cover too much ground. But even among the Prog leanings and questionable stabs at drama there are killer tracks. From "New American Gospel," "The Black Dehlia" clearly shows the group's strengths as they take a well-written song and brutalize it. By the time they recorded "As The Palaces Burn" everything was just about dialed in.

The most creative element regarding Lamb Of God's recent albums is not so much the music but how band members attempt to position each set as a change or major development, when in fact, they are pretty much delivering the same experience. Alder (see above) stating that "Wrath" is a high water mark is like differentiating between getting hit by a freight train rolling at 60 mph as opposed to being nailed by one going only 55 mph. Either way, it's a brutal experience.

Any change-ups or subtle nuances are simply buried in the din.

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