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Another band whose albums I was hunting for years, but then it happened to be this latest one I got first. Lääz Rockit's previous full-length album came out in 1991. The band reformed in 2005 with the original line-up (although this album features new drummer). I knew some of their earlier stuff, and thinking how long it took for them to release their next album (almost a 17-year gap there!), it was not a surprise, that 'Left for Dead' is something different.
Their craft back in the day was going from speed/heavy metal to thrash metal. They of course didn't invent it all, but at least were on the first wave of Bay Area thrash metal attack. Forward some 25 years, and in 2008 on 'Left for Dead' the band sounded like they had their other foot in the 1980s and the second in the 1990s. This is more groovier and rocking North American thrash metal, with chugging riffage, heavy beats and hardcore vocals. Many old bands who had this post-thrash era have returned (at least partly) to more vicious battle fields; just think about Testament, Overkill, Megadeth, to give a few bigger names... The list is a LONG one!
Sharp, fast old school riffing is heard from the first second, backed by suitable rabid drum beats. The vocals contain quite a bit of backlash in them. The bass guitar hacks and slaps with its metallic tone. It almost feels like it was 1980s again, except for the production, which indicates more recent origin of this. After a minute, the groovier things get their entrance. This does not venture into nu-metal territory, and that is a huge plus in my books. It shows they revere the old ways. While not sticking to 1982 recipe, 1995 ain't recent either, huh?! How the time flies... Unrelenting thrashing is accompanied with more groovy and rocking stuff. Regarding the latter, this sounds a bit like a mixture of Overkill's 'W.F.O.', Testament's 'Low', and Machine Head's 'Burn My Eyes' (first mentioned the most, last mentioned just a pinch). Heck, everyone of these album came out in 1994! Hardcore elements come with disharmonic guitar playing, which is not heard a lot, plus some drum beats. There are more of them in the vocals, which include straight shouting and gang vocals. 'Delirium World' is a good example of more hardcore-ish approach (think of Biohazard, Pro-Pain, M.O.D.).
There is not a single pure 1980s thrash metal song on offer. What's even further steps way is 'Ghost in the Mirror', which shows calmer, but not any more light side of the band, as it is a moody and dark slow song (no, not a ballad). Non-distorted guitar work and more sung vocals work nicely in this song that gets bigger towards its ending. 'Desolate Oasis' is another one of these gloomy songs on offer, even though it hits a trash-gear at 4-minute mark. While the songs contain some tight shredding as well as more loose riffage, the guitar solos are marvellous; they remind me of Testament's work. Well, Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson aren't the worst guitarists one can retrace, right? One can expect some nimble-fingered fretboard work as well as great melodic solos bits. In all, 'Left for Dead' is a good collection of songs with enough hooks, but nothing legendary.
Worst trait about 'Left for Dead' is its loud production work. The triggered kick drums tend to outshadow everything else, especially when it is time for some fast double kick drumming! The triggering makes this sound a bit too modern, while the guitars sound sharp and ripping, and the bass carries beautifully metallic tone. The cover artwork features photography from churches, headstones and abandoned penitentiary, and might make one think that this is a doom metal album. Yep, gone are those comical yet great cover paintings... Anyway, they follow the lyrical themes of human incarceration, be it religious or habitual, for example.
So, if you like those bands mentioned in the review, or something newer such as Defiance's latest album 'The Prophecy', which came out about a year later as this, you really cannot go wrong by picking this up. Thinking about the band's future; they reformed in 2005 and this is the only new full-length album they've released since... Hopefully we'll be hearing more from these fellas, because this is worth some serious headbanging!