33 LAMB OF GOD
AS THE PALACES BURN
■ If the Richmond, Virginia, group’s 2000 debut, New American Gospel, veered slightly too close to Panterapastiche and, perhaps, the worst drum sound ever committed to tape, then come 2003, and album number two, Lamb Of God sounded very much their own proposition. It’s worth remembering, at this juncture, most world-domination-striving metal bands were either Slipknot, or bands wanting to sound like Slipknot. And amongst that, Lamb Of God arrived with a record full of songs that were brutal, yes, but also just that: songs. From Ruin to the title-track, to 11th Hour and the monstrous Vigil, this record created the template for one of metal’s most consistently good bands to follow. WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE FOR YOU AND THE BAND DURING THE AS THE PALACES BURN YEARS?
RANDY BLYTHE (VOCALS):
“I remember making the album well because it was extremely rough. I was working in a high-end steakhouse in Richmond. I’d work in the evening from 4pm to 11pm, then I’d get on my BMX and ride uphill in the winter snow a few miles across Richmond to where the studio was. I’d show up at midnight and start tracking. We’d do that to 7am or 8am, then I’d sleep in one of the booths. Then I’d be back to work, fi nish my shift and come back to the studio to do it all again.”
THE ALBUM OPENED MANY DOORS, INCLUDING A MAJOR-LABEL RECORD DEAL FOR FOLLOW-UP ASHES OF THE WAKE, SO THE HARD WORK PAID OFF…
“I suppose so, but, really, for me, everything has been a set of steps – you just walk up one step, see the next and then keep on going. I don’t see any dramatic upheaval from any single record whatsoever. Though I guess it played its part,
(2003) because the next change I did notice was when [the major deal for third album] Ashes Of The Wake meant we were able to quit our jobs. Anything else was just a continuation.”
OF ALL YOUR RECORDINGS, AS THE PALACES BURN IS ARGUABLY THE MOST MECHANICAL, TO ALMOST MESHUGGAH-LEVELS OF EXTREMITY. WHY IS THAT?
“We come from a city where there’s been a long history of off-time instrumental bands. There’s a band called Breadwinner from our town who are basically considered one of the fi rst math-rock bands. They were pretty infl uential on a bunch of musicians, including The Melvins. And our drummer, Chris [Adler], was a Meshuggah fan at the time of recording As The Palaces Burn. We’ve always been a bit more off-time because that’s where we come from. But this record felt like one where the guys were really starting to work as technical musicians together.”
ON A WIDER LEVEL, IT WAS ONE OF A HANDFUL OF ALBUMS THAT REINVIGORATED THIRSTS FOR HEAVY MUSIC AND HELPED THE GENRE GET BACK ON ITS FEET…
“I don’t know anything about saving metal (laughs)! That would be arrogant and presumptuous of me to say that. But I think things had become stale by that time, for sure. The difference with us and some of the other bands that came out around then is that we were born out of real underground scenes – the more hardcore-punk side of things. We were playing basement shows, people’s houses, anywhere, and doing it all ourselves. Instead of waiting for some existing power structure to give you a record deal, a buddy of mine started his own one and put out our fi rst album. It’s not about waiting around for someone to help you out – you’ve got to do it yourself.”
“MAKING THE ALBUM WAS EXTREMELY ROUGH”