Sound — 8
This is my first review, in any other circumstances I normally wouldn't have bothered to submit one, but I got this album off Amazon.com yesterday and after listening I realized I could not keep how great this album is to myself and thought I'd share. So bare with me as I plow through this similar to the first time I had sex, awkward at times, too soon in some areas, and (hopefully not!) leaving you dissatisfied, LOL! Behold Peasants! The first great Metal record of 2011! If many of you have listened to the first album and came to conclusions about their sound, this album might surprise you and divide the fans. The sound on their Sophomore effort could be considered "groove metal" and the influence of the mighty Pantera and even Lamb of God can be heard throughout. Listen closely and you can even hear hints of southern rock in there. What I hear with this album is a band determined to progress from their first album and its sounds to new horizons. The guitars are beefier, and they've even included cleaner vocals in some parts to the mix. The rawness and intensity of the traditional thrash sound is still there, but here the band branches out to include new elements to their sound you heard on "The Onslaught" The guitars are definitely firing on all cylinders for this album. The production quality has given them a huger sound. Given the "groove metal" vibe it has, heavy guitar sound is a good thing. Clean melodies pepper songs like "Eternal Vengeance" and "Black rivers flow." The riff work on this album gives you the impression that they put a lot of time and thought into each one, simply because on songs like "the strong prevail" everything flows together so nicely, even while retaining some of the raw sound evident on their first release. The lead guitar sounds a lot better this time around, and you can tell the guitarists have put a lot of time and effort into their work. On the first album I felt a lot of the songs were interchangeable. That feeling is gone with this release, each song has memorable points that are inspired by some killer riffs and lead lines. In a nut shell the sound of this album is exciting and everything is in place for this to become a staple of modern metal, simular in the vein to some of Lamb of Gods most iconic work. As a "groove metal" album I would rank this as a soon to be classic and one of the best I've ever heard. Compare its sound to Panteras' legendary 90s work like "Vulgar Display Of Power" and you can't go wrong. This is one hell of an album, and its right up there with the greats in term of "groove" The band Lazarus AD is still young and at times on this album you can hear that they're still slaves to their influences, but its a great step in progression towards their own signature sound. Something thats important in heavy metal these days with so many bands emulating each other.
Lyrics — 7
Lyrically, some of the signatures of thrash are topics of war, depression, death, bravado and insanity. Here on this disc no traditional thrash topic is spared. Its is direct and in your face as was evident in the machine gun spit of its delivery on the first album, raw and to the point, no emo-core metaphors were exhibited! lol. Here on this album the delivery is much the same, but most surprising is the addition of some clean vocal parts here and there. I for one, am for the idea, so many extreme metal bands sacrifice a good ol' sing along for more intensity. On the subject of "sing along" the band exhibits some crafty hooks, some songs bordering on the mainstream pop metal of Metallicas' black album. Most of the songs on "Black Rivers Flow" have great choruses that are sure to get the crowd at the live shows singing along. Songs like "Light a city (Up in smoke)" make the lyrics memorable and enjoyable to hear. The good mixture of clean vocals with more intense yelling is often missed by (lesser? lol) bands these days, but Lazarus AD seems to have found a good common ground for the two, trading off on the dual styles found on this album at the perfect times to accentuate the surrounding guitar and drums attack.
Overall Impression — 8
Get this album, Steal this album, do whatever it takes! Listen to it and then go to one of their shows and hear those same songs played live as they were meant to be. The polished sound on this new release does wonders for a young band finding a sound that will make them unique. Hearing the content played live will be amazing. This album "works", because it reminds of those other great bands I love like Pantera, Lamb of God and even Exodus and Testament, alot of other metal bands get lost in their influences, and they're still evident here with Lazarus AD but you can tell they are maturing, and finding their own voice slowly, but surely. The difference? these guys are doing it with slick proficiency. Sooner or later, if they keep up the hard work, progression and don't stale through lack of good creativity, these guys will be HUGE. The sounds of "Black Rivers Flow" and its progression in comparison to their first album is similar to going from "kill 'em all" to "Ride the lightning." More diversity, more polish and better delivery. "Black Rivers Flow" is everything a good metal album should be. Other bands would be glad to hear its lessons. Everything is in place for Lazarus AD to become the next GREAT American metal band!