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Remember a few years ago when there was a sudden revival of interest in the thrash genre? Many of the new-found fans frequently lamented at how “thrash was dead.” Time has pretty much proven those whiners wrong; there has been an upsurge of bands that not only play but dress like they are from 1985. These “retro-thrash” bands mostly mimic some of the big names of the time, like Exodus and Slayer, but there are a few out there that show quite a bit of potential. One of these bands is Lazarus A.D.
Lazarus A.D. hails from Wisconsin, of all places. “The Onslaught” was a self-released album that came out in 2007. The version you either own or else plan on purchasing is most likely the Metal Blade re-release. This re-release features different artwork and a remix/remaster from James Murphy, who does a fine job, as usual.
Even though Lazarus A.D. are usually lumped in with the retro-thrash bands, referring to them as such would be a disservice and, more importantly, inaccurate. The term "retro-thrash" pretty much implies copying thrash bands from the 80s. Lazarus A.D. takes those ideas and uses them merely as a reference point when constructing their music. There is an element of groove present, but what we have here is not the type of groove that usually comes with a negative connotation. Instead, Lazarus A.D. takes those groove parts and uses them as a foil to all of the delicious thrash sections, much like many of the best thrash bands did back in the day.
Many of these riffs are some of the best that have been written in the past few years; simultaneously catchy and heavy. Singer Jeff Paulick’s vocals lack toughness and maturity at times, but those will most likely come around on subsequent releases. Guitarist Dan Gapen adds icing to the cake with his jaw-dropping solos (he can pull them off live perfectly note-for-note), reminding me a bit of a young Alex Skolnick. The songs are lean, but mean and eschew some of the over-blown theatrics of some thrash bands from the late 80s. The only real misstep is the fade-out at the end of “Every Word Unheard,” seemingly coming just as the song sounds like it’s about to pick up.
Considering how young the band-members are, I expect nothing but great things for Lazarus A.D.’s future. Check out the songs “Thou Shall Not Fear,” “Damnation of the Weak” and “Absolute Power” if you need any convincing as to this band’s talent. As long as they stick true to their music and do not try to dumb down their sound, look for Lazarus A.D. to become a household name in metal in the coming years.