Overall Score: 8/10 : 1/10 : 1/10 : 1/10 Pros: Cons:
Anticipation in my ears was high for Wisconsin thrash masters Lazarus A.D follow up to ‘The Onslaught’, an album that has been in heavy rotation since I first heard the re-released version back in 2009. If you had any type of involvement with me back then I would have been force feeding you ‘Last Breath’ as I went on a one man crusade to convert the masses to my new favourite band. The Onslaught was benchmark modern day thrash, honest enough in it’s approach but less plagiarising than many of the others in the thrash revival scene. Lazarus AD harnessed the attitude and excitement of their predecessors yet created their own sound by throwing in a dash of Southern Groove.
Black Rivers Flow opens with possibly the strongest metal song I’ve heard all year, ‘American Dreams’. To put that into perspective we must remember that we’re only 15 days in but either way this is a cracking track. Whilst I was expecting, or rather praying for, ‘Last Breath MKII’ what you get is a real confident slab of metal. It’s a fantastic blend of the old and new, Dokken esque riffs reminiscent of ‘Eye Of The Beholder’ crashing into some Lamb of God chugging. As we progress deeper into the album more changes are afoot. The vocals are toned down, plenty of clean singing in here mixed with a shouty style akin to Rob Dukes. But more prominent than anything else is that the band have shaken off the thrash and tipped the scales with an extra helping of Southern groove. And this strain follows through the rest of the album which gives me a dilemma. Have Lazarus A.D gone from a top class thrash band to a more generic metal band? It’s difficult to say. It’s certainly a solid album, the standard of musicianship has significantly improved, in particular there are some incredible lead breaks and riffs are far more technical, but are the songs as good? ‘The Onslaught’ was such an immediate hit with me, love at first listen but maybe I need to take this album out on date, wine it, dine it, get to know it before it gives up it’s goodies.
Is it any good? Absolutely, it’s a very strong metal album. And with this album reassessing their musical approach they are now challenging the likes of bigger bands such as Trivium and Lamb of God rather than being the best of the thrash bunch. Lazarus A.D will undoubtedly be a band to watch out for in 2011.