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More Melody, More Groove. - 80%

Metal_Jaw, July 4th, 2013

Lazarus A.D. built a rather large perch for themselves in the world of modern thrash with "The Onslaught". So, why not a follow-u, right? After the boys' effortless blending of thrash and groove, how bad can it OH MY FUCK METALCORE! Well, sorta. Lazarus A.D.'s follow-up album, "Black Rivers Flow", isn't really bad, but man is it several steps down from "The Onslaught". Whereas that was basically balls-out, non-stop aggressive groove-thrash (done right), "Black Rivers Flow" is, sadly...thrashy, as opposed to thrash. This album leans more towards groove metal with heaps more melody and a number of more developed chorus sequences. Not a bad idea in general, but the final product, with its moments of clean vocals, prominent choruses and softer riffage, just feels more like a misfire leaning towards metalcore.

That's not to say the returning bandmates don't give it their all anyway. Sure, they restrain themselves more this time around, but solid efforts are still put in. Jeff Paulick's bass is still low, while vocals are still that gnarly thrash metal hoarseness. Lead guitarist Dan Gapen still lets a loose with some solid riffs and solos, while also providing the clean vocals heard numerous times throughout the album. Alex Lackner's rhythm guitar is still pretty basic, while the drumming of Ryan Shutler still goes pummeling and strong. Still all good, but more restrained.

A few songs do stand out of the sea of weak-ass softness going on. The sharp, rolling "The Ultimate Sacrifice" dishes out some of Lackner's sweeter rhythm lines and a clean, but catchy and strong chorus. Opener "American Dreams" is a heavy and inoffensive, but a little boring chugging thrasher. We have some solid faster moments with the upbeat "Light A City (Up In Smoke)", armed with a really catchy chorus, as well as the similarly solid "Through Your Eyes". Beware the rest, though; while there are minor salvageable moments throughout, much of what we get here leans more towards annoying modern metal. "Beneath The Waves of Hate" goes back and forth between tolerable half-thrash and thrashcore-type moments. The title track is just boring, while "Casting Forward" suffers a weak, whiny mall-chorus. But the worst is easily the closer "Eternal Vengeance", a metalcore "epic". Just lousy and a weak way to end the album.

Overall, it could've been worse, but considering how sick "The Onslaught" was, it could've been a shitload better. The concept of Lazarus A.D. taking their last album, slowing it down and adding melody, is not in of itself a bad idea, but the execution leaves much to be desired. While a few numbers are worthwhile and even a few of the weaker songs show some potential, overall the experience will leave thrash fans wanting more or even leaving them a bit pissed. The band mates still cook and show their stuff nicely, but mostly this endeavor could've gone better.