Release date: February 1, 2011
Thrash from Wisconsin? Lazarus A.D. have blasted forth with their sophomore Metal Blade release, Black Rivers Flow. Two years after the release of their debut album, The Onslaught, the band brings a slightly new sound to the table. Modern thrash, groove metal, and belted vocals combine with sculpted atmosphere to create a true masterpiece.
Lazarus A.D. have kept quite busy in the time between their first and second releases. Constant touring with label mates Goatwhore, as well as Amon Amarth, Testament, and Unearth coupled with writing the new album has not detracted from the quality of this sophomore effort one bit. Vocalist and bassist Jeff Paulick seems to be exploring new vocal territory on this album. Paulick delivers the lyrics less brutally than on The Onslaught, but does a good job maintaining the energy of the album for the duration, often delving into beautiful harmonies in between the growling on many of the tracks. The guitar work by Dan Gapen and Alex Lackner sounds particularly inspired here, with the dual axe-men being able to fire off break-neck speed thrash riffing. Skinsmen Ryan Shutler doesn’t use the double bass pedal as much as he did on the band’s previous release, but he still manages to deliver a beatdown throughout the nine tracks on the album.
The album opener, “American Dreams” immediately sinks the fangs in and you spend the next 42 minutes feeling the venom of melodic brutality coursing through your veins.
“The Ultimate Sacrifice” (listen below) may have fans digging out their classic Pantera records, which is always a compliment. The band stays true to their unique style of thrash, without caving to genre-casting rules.
Black Rivers Flow seems much more balanced than the band’s The Onslaught. Particularly mentionable is the album’s title track. Gapen and Lackner start the track off slow, with a soft guitar interlude, before the thrash-chaos begins. Another place where this formula works is the last track on the album, a seven minute epic opus entitled “Eternal Vengeance”. This track combines everything the band has to offer, and is a good representation of their sound in general.
Lazarus A.D. proves that Wisconsin isn’t a state to fuck with when it comes to thrash metal. Black Rivers Flow will appeal to any fan of the thrash genre. Fans of their first release will find this album refreshing and new. However, with only nine tracks on the album, such an epic journey will leave the listener wanting more. Hopefully it’ll happen sooner than later. The metal scene needs more bands like this.
Highlights : “Black Rivers Flow”, “Eternal Vengeance”
Rating : 8.2/10