Why Lamb of God Changed Their Name From Burn the Priest

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Lamb Of God is an American heavy metal institution.

Their ferocious intensity, dedication to craft, and constant humility have cemented the band into the pantheon of groove metal masters like Pantera and Sepultura. They are as talented as they are hard-working, and that ethic has given us some of the best music of the last three decades.

It would likely blow your mind if you saw the world where Lamb Of God came from. Originally called Burn The Priest, the band was part of the incredible east coast crust punk scene of the 1990s. They were practically the house band at the legendary Philadelphia warehouse venue / most beautiful shithole in the history of the universe, Stalag 13, a space initially run by the underground metal champion of the decade and man who initially released the Burn The Priest material, Goatboy Mikey Brosnan. They constantly played with crust, grind, and hardcore luminaries like Assuck, Zed, Machine That Flashes, and countless others. I was lucky enough to see them a few times during this period and the memories still strike me with awe and wonder.

As a band with this amount of raw ability is bound to do, Burn The Priest grew. With that growth came plenty of misconceptions from outsiders, enough that they decided to change their name to Lamb Of God. The rumor at the time was that they were getting banned from venues due to the Burn The Priest moniker. It’s a subject the band tackled in an interview with Rough Edge way back in November of 2000:

“There are two things, in my mind, for the name change,” said Chris Adler. “First, towards the beginning of the change away from Burn The Priest we got Will to replace a guitar player and the band as a whole just took a huge step in momentum and what we were able to do.”

Singer Randy Blythe also chimed in, saying,

“We really consider the Burn The Priest material and the Lamb Of God material in very different ways, especially in the approach. Even though you can listen to the two records it’s almost like you’re listening to two different bands. The way the band operated for Burn The Priest and Lamb Of God are two succinct, unique things.”

Adler also spoke on the controversy Burn the Priest elicited, saying,

“We also took a lot of flak for the name Burn The Priest – having a controversial name probably helped us more than it hurt us – but it had taken on something that we never really intended. Unfortunately, we were classified or grouped together with a bunch of bands in black metal. The band did not want to get backed into a corner that we couldn’t get out of – we were moving through all kinds of music and the name Burn The Priest was really hurting us. So we turned the name of the band on its head and made it a little less of a sledgehammer in the face of what we’re all about.”

As to why Lamb of God, Willie Adler said,

“At least for me, Lamb Of God doesn’t mean anything religious whatsoever. The name is more like a symbol of the rebirth of the band.” 

Watch: Randy Blythe Plays Wholesome Joke On Security Guard Who Once Mistook Him For a Backstage Trespasser