86. Lamb of God, 'As the Palaces Burn' (2003)
After two raw but promising albums (one released under the name Burn the Priest), Virginia's Lamb of God took their sound to the next level with 2003's As the Palaces Burn. Devin Townsend's production helped sharpen Mark Morton and Willie Adler's razor-wire guitar riffs on tracks like "Ruin," "11th Hour" and "Vigil," while drummer Chris Adler pushed the music like a coachman whipping a team of hysterical horses, and vocalist Randy Blythe simply roared bloody murder into the maelstrom. Groove-oriented and jacked up to the extreme, this was thrash metal for a new generation, though a guest solo by former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland on "Purified" also underscored the band's debt to the style's originators. "A lot of these songs really pushed the limitations on what we were capable of," Chris Adler recalled to Revolver in 2003. "Once we got into the first couple tunes, we realized that this is not an easy record; there's not gonna be kids playing this [on guitar] the week it comes out, you know? But at the same time it was pretty thrilling. Because once you got through the part that was just driving you crazy, when you went back and checked it out, it was just like, 'Oh man, that is everything we wanted it to be, and more!'" D.E.