During the interviews for our May cover story detailing the trials, tribulations and ultimate global triumph of Lamb of God precursor Burn the Priest two decades ago — celebrated by LoG via a new covers album under the BtP moniker — vocalist Randy Blythe waxed nostalgic to Decibel over the band’s first seven-inch way back in the year of our lord 1997.
The aside couldn’t quite be shoehorned into the revelatory print story, but we’ve rescued it from the cutting floor for your edification below.
“It was a split, two songs on each side,” he said. “Two by Zed, two by us. Fans every now and then will find them and there’s a hand cut insert in there with lyrics and stuff that I made myself at Kinko’s — scanned a bunch of copies, cut ’em myself, and me and [late Goatboy/Legion Records proprietor] Mikey [Brosnan] put ’em in there. If anyone has that seven-inch, that was made by me. When that happened, that was a big fucking deal to me. I was like, ‘I have a seven-inch record. This is incredible.’ Because I collected vinyl. Not so much because it was the cool, hip thing to do, but that’s just how you got singles then. Especially in the punk and hardcore underground. So that moment was extremely validating for me.”
Afterwards we reached out to former ZED bassist/vocalist Kayt Vigil — currently slaying in Sonic Wolves — for her take on that era:
“My first impression of Burn the Priest was one of amazement,” she said. “In the summer of 1996 I was at a show in a basement of what was known as The Earl House on the east side of Milwaukee. Metal bands were not really the norm for shows at this house, but I had to go and show support and see what some metal guys from Richmond, Virginia were capable of. They blew us all away with their talent and really tore it up. Even though it was a small basement show, it didn’t seem to faze them whatsoever. If I remember correctly, it was their first tour and — like almost any new underground metal or rock band — they were there to play for people and have a good time.
“Randy was on fire. He has always had great connection with the crowd and knew how to draw people in. I recall someone at that show telling me that Chris had been playing drums for just a couple of years — not a hundred percent sure if that was true or not — but one never would have guessed from the way he played, which was phenomenal. John was just badass on bass and the guitarist at that time, Abe Spear, was incredible. As people, they were/are really cool and I, along with so many others, forged a good connection with them. Randy in particular. Since I have known him, he has always been a gentleman and a friend. When ZED relocated to Philly, Burn the Priest had a show at Stalag 13 in West Philly. Randy made sure that we did not miss it. This was the same night that he introduced us to Mikey Brosnan, who not only became a dear friend, but also ran Goatboy Records — the label that released the Burn The Priest/ZED split seven-inch. Mikey was basically the glue of the heavy metal and punk scene in Philly and he used to live with Randy in Richmond years before we met, so they were like brothers. We owe a debt of gratitude to Mikey for bringing us together.
“Anyway, after the split was released, ZED continued on with tours and recording for another year and a half, but Burn the Priest had started to gain momentum year after year. It was really great seeing friends get to the point they have. Always makes me smile…”