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Album review: Lamb of God affirms metal roots with ‘Legion: XX’ cover album

Lamb of God plays the Knitting Factory in Spokane on Wednesday, Aug. 22. (Travis Shinn)
Lamb of God plays the Knitting Factory in Spokane on Wednesday, Aug. 22. (Travis Shinn)
By Stephanie Hammett The Spokesman-Review

Wednesday night, five-time Grammy nominee Lamb of God is coming to the Knitting Factory. Fans can look forward to hearing many of the band’s more popular songs such as “Omerta” and “Redneck,” but not likely any tracks from their new album “Legion: XX.”

Released under the band’s original name, Burn the Priest, “Legion: XX” is a cover album featuring tracks originally performed by Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Quicksand, Ministry, Bad Brains, Melvins, The Accüsed, Big Black and Sliang Laos.

True to their metal roots, Lamb of God’s lyrics carry a powerful message, demanding honesty and accountability from an unreachable authority that refuses to deliver. Indignation at the continued refusal supplies the constant energy of their music.

Their cover album is similarly motivated.

The opening track, The Accüsed’s “Inherit the Earth,” describes the apocalyptic carnage of an approaching judgment day, ending on an appropriately dark note: “humanity has fallen … the bell tolls.” It tolls for us all, the final chords would seem to suggest.

The second half of the album is more accessible to casual listeners with tracks like “Dine Alone” by Quicksand and “Jesus Built My Hotrod” by Ministry. “Dine Alone” touches on the kind of loneliness you might feel in a crowded place. “Jesus Built My Hotrod” is probably the most lighthearted song on the album. “Nobody with a good car needs to worry about nothin’, you understand? – Yeah, I think I do,” it begins.

Lyrics across the album are delivered in a surprising variety of screams and rhythmic speech, and a consistent rage bordering on hopelessness runs through the songs. Generally, the more understandable the text the more multidimensional the music.

At first, several of the songs are uncomfortable to listen to but the style definitely serves the range of emotion explored in the text; it isn’t so strange that the message and the delivery should match.

This variety of metal is likely to be an acquired taste but, even for someone unaccustomed to the style, the lyrics have a dark relatability, the instrumental sections are invigorating, and, with a few listen-throughs, the uniquely metal nuances become discernible.

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