Lazarus A.d. - The Onslaught
Well then, Metal Blade, your hit-or-miss mentality in signing up all sorts of blossoming (or withering) metal talent is an often-debated subject amongst the fans and critics. But when you hit, you usually hit pretty hard and you make the bright moments count. Lazarus A.D. are to be counted amongst them. These Wisconsin, US natives have conjured up one of the better thrash debuts on The Onslaught that I've personally heard in a long while. It simultaneously brings to mind the classics of Kreator and Testament while utilizing some modern techniques and production values to bring their sound somewhere along the lines of Megadeth and even Lamb of God at times.
The band excells in the rhythms and riffs departments. Guitarists Dan Gapen (who also provides lead vocals and does a commendable job) and Alex Lackner really know how to get the most out of their instruments, creatively piecing together catchy hook-filled passages with soaring leads and twisted solos. Their influences are frankly worn on their sleeves but they do as admirable job with the style of music they've chosen as anyone could ask for. It's plain to see how this drives the band on tracks like "Last Breath", "Revolution" and "Forged In Blood". Ryan Shutler does an excellent job on the drums, never pushing boundaries but really shining when the room is there to do so. Check out the double bass on "Forged In Blood" for a good example. The vocals are also given some chance of pace with bassist's Jeff Paulick's deeper, more guttural growls and bellows which sound lifted straight from a Mastodon album. There is ample variety spicing up these 10 thrash tracks to keep most fans satisfied beginning to end.
There is very little room for this band to improve upon this stellar debut. The Onslaught belongs on every thrash fan's wish list and frankly it could be one of the year's 10 best metal offerings. The only true weakness is lack of distinguished lead vocals and a few tracks' worth of filler. I predict their next album will knock the pants off of the metal masses and really cement Lazarus A.D. as tomorrow's thrash superstars. Don't hesitate in finding this album.
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