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Impressive debut - 85%

darkreif, May 14th, 2009

When it comes to this thrash revival, there have been a lot of amazing new bands that have developed and are playing some really solid old school 80s style thrash, chaotic, spastic, and very punky. So when the occasional new thrash band adds a bit of that groove influence or more of a modern style to the mix, they almost automatically stand out from the pack. This is what makes Lazarus A.D. pop very clearly from the rest of the movement.

The Onslaught makes the debut of Lazarus A.D. After being signed to Metal Blade, Lazarus A.D. changed their name simply by adding the A.D. to the end of their previous moniker and has re-released this debut album in this remixed and remastered form. The Onslaught originally was self released in 2007, but with a new cover and slightly new sound (thanks to the ever present and working James Murphy) the band seemed poised to take their music on a wide-scale level.

What makes this album pop from their contemporaries at this stage is that the band uses a significant amount of post thrash groove tendencies in their music to give songs a bit more of a push/pull feeling instead of always going balls out. This combination of chunky riffs and swing drum patterns meshes with the more chaotic and thrashy elements well and it comes off as a very volatile combination.

Many fans of thrash might be thrown off by some of the groovier sections in this release, like the almost Pantera-esque riff about 30 seconds into Forged in Blood or the mid-tempo and very catchy “Thou Shall Not Fear” but fear not, these only last for sections and the band balances them with some very headbangable thrash parts. I could see some people mistaking some of the stop-and-go riffs as being too modern or even metalcore for their tastes (I would argue that comparison though to the end), but Lazarus A.D. uses them incredibly well with their frantic fret work on display with leads and soloing.

The impressive production (and very impressive mix and mastering) help bring out both sides of the band. The bass is a prominent feature to their sound and style which is brought forth in a greater capacity on this version of the album that lends the album towards the groove orientation, but the stellar drumming is what benefited most from it as one can now hear his precision and little nuances that make his performance my nod for best on the album.

Lazarus A.D. might not be my favorite band from this new thrash movement but they definitely one of the best. The album tends to get a little bit monotonous by the end and that’s perhaps its greatest flaw, but the majority of the music contained on The Onslaught is well written and performed better. Not necessarily an album for fans of old school thrash though even if the opener Last Breath is one of the better thrash songs of the last 5 years.

Songs to check out: Last Breath, Absolute Power, Every Word Unheard.