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Friday, February 25, 2011

CD Review: Lazarus A.D. - Black Rivers Flow

Lazarus A.D. - Black Rivers Flow
2011 Metal Blade Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

There's already been a number of fans grunting and growling about this album, and honestly, that sucks, because Lazarus A.D. may have switched a few schisms from their retro-thrash introductory offers, but that doesn't mean their latest album Black Rivers Flow isn't good. Actually, it's durned near outstanding.

As The Agony Scene had effortlessly done in transition from agro brutal to groove-filled precise, Lazarus A.D. does likewise on Black Rivers Flow. Sure, The Onslaught made good on its name with blazing speed, but young buck metal fans, cut this band some slack, huh? At least it wasn't metal thrashing culture shock like Celtic Frost between Into the Pandemonium and Cold Lake. Be happy you weren't there for that travesty, to use Tom G. Warrior's actual phrasing, delivered to this writer a few years ago.

The Agony Scene peeled the paint with The Deepest Red and so does Lazarus A.D. on Black Rivers Flow. Who says groove isn't welcome in metal? The more the better, because we have hundreds of black metal clones, hundreds of prog metallers, thousands of death metal mongrels and more than our share of thrash revivalists. Kudos to Lazarus A.D. for having the guts to stir things up between velocity and power punching on "Casting Forward," "The Strong Prevail" and "Through Your Eyes."

There is hardly anything sacrificed heavy-wise by this band when they opt to march proudly through "The Ultimate Sacrifice" or throw out a hook on "Beneath Waves of Hatred." Yeah, there's more breakdowns and slowdown bridge sequences this time around, but Lazarus A.D. stacks them with greasy guitar solos from Alex Lackner and Dan Gapen. On the bottom end, Jeff Paulick wields thrumming pulses beneath the shucking bobs of "Beneath Waves of Hatred," "American Dreams" and "The Ultimate Sacrifice."

Not quite Brent Masters, former drummer of The Agony Scene, Ryan Shutler is still one of the stabilizing forces on Black Rivers Flow. He keeps an air-tight, rhythmic furrow on this album. Double-hammer, triplets, 4/4 steady bangs, whatever is called upon this dude, he nails it. He is Senor Signature Swap on "American Dreams" and really lays down some snazzy ride cymbal taps to accent the guitar shredding Lazarus A.D. rolls from his lead.

Seriously, let it ride with this album, because Black Rivers Flow is a highly entertaining mince 'n mash trip with the sensibility to hunt out verve instead of settle for the sure thing and get lost in the toxic waltz. No offense to all of the young thrash revisionists out there because many are very good or outright spectacular. Still, the senior overlords of speed metal have returned en masse to show off their long-standing might and only those who can keep up will remain significant. Lazarus A.D. has wisely progressed and unleashed a maniacal riff and tear metal rump shaker that stands out from the pack--pick your style.

Rating: ****

1 comment:

metalodyssey said...

I still have to pick this new Lazarus A.D. up. Cool review that makes me all the more interested in what the entire album is like.