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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Lazarus A.D.

Black River Flows

Review by Mike Korn

After seeing LazarusA.D. play in front of their hometown, Kenosha, WI for the release of their sophomore album, Black River Flows, I was looking forward to reviewing it. After some success from their first album, The Onslaught, LazarusA.D. has come out swinging with their second album, Black River Flows.  While the new album may not be as fast or as hardcore as some fans may like, they have taken a step forward to reach a wider audience.

The album contains blazing leads of Dan Gapen, along with backing vocals and solid rhythm work of Alex Lackner.  While the vocals of Jeff Paulick and his bass-playing have improved on this release, his lyrics, a few times, seem to sound as if they were thrown in at the last minute.  Overall, it is outstanding work.

The one area I found not as powerful was the drum work of Ryan Shutler, knowing how amazing he is live.  It seemed this was more due to production than his playing. With this album, they have overcome the sophomore jinx and provided their fans with a great listen.  As a fan of LazarusA.D., I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them, but if this album is any indication, then they will have the music world to own soon.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
American Dreams

They open with one of the better tracks on the album. It starts with a thick bass line and a blazing guitar riff slowly creeping on your ears before bursting free and the whole band kicks in.  Gapen and Paulick share back and forth vocals.  This song shows the difference between this album, Black River Flows and The Onslaught.

The Ultimate Sacrifice
There is a very old school thrash feel to this, with the bouncing bass and drumming to open. This number showcases Shutler’s work best.  I can see the song being a big hit and sounding insane in the live setting.
The Strong Prevail

This is a great showcase for Paulick’s vocals and the guitar work of Gapen and Lackner. It just seems that the drums could have been a little stronger on this, as it left me waiting for more.

Black Rivers Flow

One of my two favorites on the album, this opens with a sick guitar sound and whispering before launching into a thick and crunchy guitar riff.  There’s almost a Black Label Society sound to it, but for sure, it’s LazarusA.D..

Casting Forward

This is not my favorite, but it features a catchy hook and the dueling vocals of Paulick and Gapen. The guitar work has more of a metal sound to it than thrash.  This is one of the songs that puts forth some different sounds in comparison to the first album.

Light a City (Up in Smoke)

Another song with a different sound, I like this one much better. If this is the direction they want to go.  I can see it will appeal to a bigger audience. You can’t help but crank this one up for sure.

Through Your Eyes

This song sounds like the old school San Francisco trash.  The lyrics are a little corny with, “You’re so evil you make the devil cry,” but I love the guitar work.  It has some of the best guitar licks I have heard in some time. You can’t help but like it.

Beneath the Waves of Hatred

Here’s another good sounding song with the new direction to it and it will leave fans wanting more.  I can see the mosh pits going off to this one in the live setting.

Eternal Vengeance

This is my favorite song off the album.  I love the clear vocal opening and the harmonizing before they launch into a killer assault on the ears.  I also love the whammy work and tapping Gapen brings to the song.  I would find it hard for anyone who loves metal/trash to not like this song.  With a length of over seven-minutes, this reminds me of old Metallica.

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