At the start of 2003 there was a rumbling in the underground that would reshape the musical landscape for the next generation. Lamb of God was coming off of their brutal New American Gospel (Prosthetic) album after transition from their debut album as Burn The Priest. Ears were not prepared for As The Palaces Burn (also Prosthetic), which smashed expectations and brought the band an army of fans that that are still passionate about them today.
The band stepped it up on every level, and that is saying something considering the prior album’s rep. Produced by Devin Townsend, the album had a pristine sound, and that was before the Josh Wilbur led 10th anniversary remastered edition in 2013. These short, chaotic and brutal songs had a terrifying affect me on first listens. The first single ‘11th Hour’ with its panicked riffs and unrelenting beats served notice that these guys were absolutely not fucking around. ‘Ruin’ leads off the album with a powerful as hell riff. No introspective album openers this time, just raw power. Oh and the best drum break and breakdown perhaps in history! It’s a fist pumper from end to end.
The entire album is just a “10” top to bottom. The title track, ‘For Your Malice’, ‘A Devil In God’s Country’, and ‘In Defense of Our Good Name’, crush. ‘Vigil’ is as close to a doom song as LoG can get, slow and sinister until the hallway point, before the thrash comes back in. These days the band often gets compared to Pantera, but this album saw the band more in step with middle era Slayer, Vader, Decapitated and the like with its poly rhythms and slashing riffery interlocking.
D. Randall Blythe’s performance and importance on this album can’t be understated. It is a masterful vocal turn on every track, his voice becoming the attempted template for many bands to follow. Lyrically, it’s Randy brilliance, intricate wordplay, and ability to punctuate phrases so well that makes this such a win. This album is great musically, but so much more because of the vocals.
In the time since this album Lamb Of God has surely put out bigger albums and became one of the upper echelon bands of today as a result of what they put down in As The Palaces Burn.