On May 6th of 2003, Lamb of God released their second album, As The Palaces Burn, through Prosthetic Records. Receiving much better reception than their previous album, Lamb of God truly began to thrive from its release, as of 2013 it has sold 270,000 copies. Much of the success to the album can be attributed to the fact they decided to drop the grindcore sound, of New American Gospel, to go with a much more musically concise sound in the groove metal genre. In total four singles were released from As The Palaces Burn, and to this day, the title track and Vigil are still fan favorites that are commonly performed live.
The album opens with the first single from the album, ‘Ruin’, which sets the pace for the album. Beginning with a brutal guitar riff and a lengthy scream from lead vocalist Randy Blythe the listener is immediately thrown into the overall heaviness of the song and the rest of the album. The song is talking about how both self and political ruin is brought on by oppression. “The end of all progress. The death of evolution. It bleeds all life away. I will show you all that I have mastered. Fear. Pain. Hatred. Power. This is the art of ruin.” And it is no mistake that in the video they chose to perform in a run down Catholic Church as the “congregation” watches them perform. The video flashes between the band performing and the different members of the crowd alone suffering. While I could not find any interviews with the band on the topic of the song, I could imagine that the song holds a double meaning to the band. That of how self ruin was brought on by their alcoholism and how they believe that certain powerful people mean to ruin the world by abuse of power.
The following track, As The Palaces Burn, doesn’t let up for one second, continuing the already hardcore sound of Ruin. Only with this song the meaning is far more clear. “The fiends have gagged a generation of pacified fools. Bound by our greed a nation enslaved as corporate tools. Arise and raze the legacy of their lies. To realize that this in itself is an ascension. Towards the day we revolt. As the seeds you've cast away take hold. War will be born.” Quite simply the song is about revolution and how one day the poor will rise up against the rich living in their “palaces” and how we will “dance as the palaces burn.” As is common in Lamb of God’s music this song is heavily anti-authority. Some of their anti-authority songs are less poignant and less obvious but this one couldn’t possibly give a clearer message. They want(ed) a revolution that purges the corrupt assholes from the world.
Slowing it down for about 30 seconds before resuming the incredibly heavy sound of the album, we are treated to the best song of the album, Vigil. This song was written by Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton, who has always been coy about what he had in mind when he wrote it - he says many fans have told him what the song means to them, and he likes that it relates to their personal experiences. Lamb of God was writing a lot of political songs around this time, it's possible that the biblical references to "our father" are not about God, but a representation of the United States government and the president: “I've prayed to see the nation that I loved disintegrate” The song could be speaking out about the George W. Bush administration and the damage it was causing. In this interpretation, the soldiers who died under this administration are represented in the line, "in honor of the strife of those who've died."
Going with that idea, the final line “smite the Sheppard and the sheep will be scattered” speaks to the idea of destroying our government and the sheep (blind American public) will no longer follow it blindly, and they’ll be forced to find their own ideals. It is also possible, yet unlikely, that the song is about religion. Though just as blindly as people follow and believe the Government, they do as well with their church, so the possibility is there but the lyrics seem to point in a different direction.
Despite the success of As The Palaces Burn, it would be one more year before they would forever be cemented into the status of Metal Gods, in 2004 they released Ashes of the Wake and the rest is history. To read about Ashes of the Wake click here. Now, after releasing As The Palaces Burn, with a concise direction, sound and drive, Lamb of God was simply destined to become the legendary band they are today.
Lamb Of God will very soon be going out on tour with Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity and will be performing at many festivals as well! The festivals are actually what kicks off the tour, as they perform at Fort Rock and Welcome To Rockville before going out on tour starting May 3. The tour goes through June 7 and in the middle of it is several more festivals. Those festivals include Carolina Rebellion, The River's Rockfest, Northern Invasion, Rock N' Derby andRock On The Range.
This was also the final album to be reviewed here on Immortal Music! Please be sure to check out the rest! New American Gospel - Ashes of The Wake -Sacrament -Wrath- Resolution -Vii:Sturm und Drang
Written Coby Andrews
All reviews have the date they were written, the album title, and the band's name, with the exception of Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace and Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamin. Those dates were guessed at, as they were written well before the website began.