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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Lazarus A.D.

The Onslaught

Review by Mike Korn

In case you missed it, thrash metal is hot again. Somehow the glory days of late 80's thrash have really sparked something in the younger generation and there are tons of new mosh-crazed bands popping up. Many are pretty good, most are average and some are awful, but only one so far has shown the talent and songwriting ability necessary to match the best from the First Wave of Thrash. That band is Lazarus A.D.

The Onslaught is the debut disc of these Kenosha, WI maniacs and it is amazing from the first note to the last. I can favorably compare it to such classic efforts as Testament's The New Order, Exodus' Bonded By Blood and yes, even the mighty Kill 'Em All by Metallica. These guys have more than just the raw energy and enthusiasm needed to play good thrash...they have the ability to write memorable songs that stick in the brain and that don't manage to sound like copies of the same tune. Another important aspect of Lazarus A.D. is that they do not sound like an obvious knock-off of the above named bands...this is something that many of the younger thrash bands have failed to grasp.

Right now, The Onslaught is my favorite metal album of the year. It is really going to put your neck to the test. Get on board with these guys now before they explode because they are going to be immense.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Last Breath
This is a terrific kick off to the album. Although fast and rugged, it is not the thrashiest tune on show and it features some awesome riffs that belong more in the "pure metal" realm than thrash alone.  Bassist Jeff Paulick's vocals are snarling and angry, but easily comprehensible....a trait that has separated thrash from death metal. There's also some white-hot guitar soloing going on. This is a real anthem.
Thou Shalt Not Fear
This picks up exactly where "Last Breath" left off. After a mid-paced build-up, this blasts into a neck-breaking thrash assault laced with gang shouts and intense drumming from Ryan Shutier. Think of a mixture of Slayer speed with Anthrax groove and Pantera-style crunch...yeah, it's that good.
Damnation For The Weak
Furious and frantic, this doesn't let up on the throttle for a second. In fact, it's the most intense track yet. Towards the middle of the song, there's a cool power-packed mosh section that unleashes some guitar work that would have Dave Mustaine nodding his head in approval.
Absolute Power
Never has a title so aptly described a cut. This is my favorite so far and the opening riff will cave your head in. This is just so freakin' catchy...it could have fit in on any of the recent Exodus albums and even on those, it would be one of the top cuts. And that's even before you get to the bone-crushing breakdown that lays to waste all the lame metalcore breakdowns that have gone before...the cut ends with this bruising note.
Revolution
How many killer thrash riffs can you stick in one track? Listen to this and you may find out! It's a merciless cut where the growling vocals of Dan Gapen mix  expertly with Paulick' snarl to add a little color. I must also give more kudos to Shutier's drumming...the guy just beats the drums into hamburger!
Rebirth
The beating continues here with the heaviest cut on the record. By the time this one comes rolling in, you are already past the point of mere headbanging and have progressed to violent convulsions. This is thrash at its most brutal and primal.
Lust
Here's another scorcher to add more fuel to the fire. This is another one that has a strong Exodus feel and I particularly like the twin guitar fills that mix with the more straightforward crunch. Tons of staccato piston-like riffs and more cool solos add to the fun.
Forged In Blood
Man, this album just does not stop, it keeps the breakneck momentum and energy up without mercy. This one has some really downtuned moments that bring the Lazarus A.D. sound close to death metal...almost but not quite. It's another full bore thrasher. The tracks are starting to blur but the energy level is so high, you don't really mind.
Every Word Unheard
This cut is hard as nails but does let up on the throttle a bit - just a little bit, not much. "Catchy" is not the word to describe the punchy riffing here, like a cross between Pantera and Exodus.
Who I Really Am
This whirlwind of an album ends with a song that is highly reminiscent of old Metallica. A sing song vocal approach makes this one of the most memorable cuts.  The middle instrumental section has a bit more complex feel and finally cuts loose with a great Hammett/Mustaine type solo. There's literally nothing more to say. It's another outstanding thrasher on one of the best records of its type ever released.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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