Burn The Priest : Legion XX

To mark the (nearly) 20th anniversary of their debut record and to celebrate a time when they were mere college upstarts playing basements and backyards; Burn The Priest are back with ten covers (or eleven if you splash out on the vinyl) for an all new release.

These cover versions hark back to a time when Burn The Priest could only dream of being the goliath of the heavy metal world that they, within the rebranded Lamb of God, are nowadays. There are no classic Zeppelin, Sabbath or Deep Purple covers on here. ‘Legion XX’ is crammed full of grubby hardcore and crusty punk tunes that you can imagine being on regular rotation on some old C90 in the student digs of the Burn The Priest brethren.

Here are the less championed influences of modern day metal, but equally as important as Ozzy and Halford et al.

These may be songs plucked straight from the underground, but Burn The Priest have the benefit of big production today and that is immediately evident on opener ‘Inherit the Earth’.  Grinding straight into action with an almighty crunch, The Accused cover gets some metallic balls pinned on it.

Indeed throughout this collection you’ll find that a lot of the dust and crackle of time is immediately jet washed from these covers. You are left with a big shiny metallized version of simpler DIY inspired times. If you are precious about these songs then you may or may not be a fan of these gleaming versions, but you can’t deny they’ve added some genuine Virginian stamp on things.

The Melvins’ ‘Honey Bucket’ is stripped of all the original fuzz of the original and turned into a monstrous avalanche of razor sharp riffs. It’s the classic love story where stoner punk meets humungous metal band, and the results are quite simply outstanding. It’s an early punch to the lugholes but this might just be one of the greatest cover tunes ever, never mind just on this album.

As you would expect from a bunch of punk inspired covers, it all goes along at a ferocious pace. Big Black’s ‘Kerosene’ adds a bit of melodic thump while Ministry’s ‘Jesus Built My Hotrod’ is a rare epic weighing in at over six minutes.

‘Axis Rot’ is a deeper cut that won’t be on everyone’s radar before now, but all in all it becomes very clear from this release that Lamb Of God was born out of this scene.

We already knew that, of course. Any chance Randy gets he will more likely big-up Cro-Mags or Bad Brains rather than his own band. ‘Legion XX’ is the ultimate damning evidence that Burn The Priest/Lamb Of God is evolved from a lot more than Metallica and Sabbath and is also a nice little curveball to throw at us when we were all gearing up for another Lamb Of God album.