"some music was meant to stay underground..."


Lazarus A.D. Kicks Max Cavalera’s Ass, But Nobody Realizes It

Photo of Lazarus A.D.

Band Photo: Lazarus A.D. (?)

This is the story of why I left a metal show early for the first time in my life.

While I’m not a serial show-goer, I have easily been to dozens, if not over a hundred, metal shows since my metal-loving life got going back in the mid-1990s, and I have always had a rule that I followed more closely than the ins and outs of “Debbie Does Dallas” – don’t leave early. Even if I was tired, drunk, pissed or the band(s) sucked, I stayed until the house lights came on and the roadies started taking the drum kit apart. Well, tonight, I broke that rule. Why? Read on…

My longtime readers (heh, funny idea, that) will know that I have a huge hard-on for Lazarus A.D. One of the biggest disappointments in my life was when their bus broke down back in February and they couldn’t make the Chicago show of Death Angel’s tour. But tonight they were opening for Max and Igor Cavalera’s Cavalera Conspiracy, and I was pumped. Suffice it to say, Lazarus A.D. does not disappoint. Ever.

From the opening barrage of “American Dreams” to the closing squeals of “Who I Really Am” (I think they closed with “Who I Really Am” anyway) Lazarus A.D. kicked huge ass. But as an unbiased correspondent, I am required to say that all was not rosy; while Dan Gapen was sitting in his turret and firing Gatling-gun-solos all night, his singing seemed somewhat wobbly. And Ryan Shutler’s double kicks got swallowed by the mix a little – but that only served to show how precise his hands are! And those are ultimately small quibbles in front of the oil tanker that is Lazarus A.D.’s energetic and heavy modern thrash. From the breakdowns being spine-obliteratingly heavy, to the guitar harmonies between Gapen and Alex Lackner smashing together like a fat guy and cake, and Gapen’s (well-earned) guitar-hero histrionics, this was 40 minutes of pure metal bliss. Compared to Cavalera Conspiracy’s tired and outdated thrash, Lazarus A.D. is already in the Hall of Fame.

The headliner, Cavalera Conspiracy, is Igor and Max Cavalera’s (of Sepultura fame) latest project. The problem here really ends up at, “who cares?” Sepultura was neat back in the day, but after the whole breakup drama, and then Soulfly being Sepultura-lite, and Cavalera Conspiracy being Soufly-lite, it’s all just fading away. If anyone likes Cavalera Conspiracy, fell free to explain yourself in the comments. I mean, it isn’t bad, but I’m not going to make a point to buy their month-old album “Blunt Force Trauma.”

Anyway, Cavalera Conspiracy got off on the wrong foot and never recovered. They waited a while before starting despite the fact that their gear was already set up (about 40 minutes by my count), which for me is a big no-no. The first song, “Warlord,” was kinda catchy, and the crowd was into it, so a good vibe kicked things off and I was open to being surprised. But then the second song sounded exactly like the first, and the third like the second, and so on. And I got hit in the face with the epiphany fist…

IT’S THE SAME SONG OVER AND OVER AGAIN! Thin-tribal groove? Check. Downtuned open chords? Check. Max Cavalera unintelligibly shouting the same thing over and over again? Check. I have now delivered the secret blueprint to every Cavalera Conspiracy song ever written. No wonder people like them so much – it is really easy to learn the words and sing along (Max sounded like crap too, so I didn’t see anyone giving anyone else the business if they sucked at singing along), and it is even easier to headbang to the simplistic, unchanging and barely-tribal rhythms.

Igor seems like a good drummer trapped in straight-counted hell, and lead guitarist Marc Rizzo (Ill Nino, Soulfly) was a pleasant surprise. Rizzo actually did all the heavy guitar lifting, as Max’s chord changes were intermittent at best, and Rizzo has some chops on his seven-string so he could cover when Max dropped his guitar entirely to hold onto the mic stand instead. I swear Max’s guitar wasn’t even plugged in, or if it was it was mixed so far back it didn’t matter.

I waited, and waited, and waited for something to change. But it didn’t. I am sure the one or two Sepultura covers at the end were fun, and the Nailbomb cover was interesting, but it is clear Max is trading on the cachet of his name only at this point and is completely out of ideas. He has stripped what made Sepultura great down to the most boring of bare bones and is calling it good metal (read: simplistic thrash with horrid vocals).

So after about 10 songs I did what any smart person would do. I walked to a merch table, bought the newest Lazarus A.D. shirt and the alternate cover version of “The Onslaught,” puked compliments all over the pretty lady working the table, and walked straight out. When the gentleman working the door at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge asked me if I was coming back, I politely replied, “Nah, the headliner played first.”

Remaining Cavalera Conspiracy and Lazarus A.D. Tour Dates

May 05, 2011 Al Rosa- Columbus. OH
May 06, 2011 Altar Bar- Pittsburgh. PA
May 07, 2011 Harpo’s- Detroit. MI
May 08, 2011 Mod Club Theatre- Toronto. ONT CA
May 09, 2011 Recher Theater- Baltimore. MD
May 10, 2011 Irving Plaza- New York. NY
May 13, 2011 Emo’s- Austin. TX

bloodofheroes's avatar

Joel is indebted to his high school friend Joe B. for giving him "Kill 'Em All," "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets" for his 16th birthday. Now that he works from home for his day job at a small ad agency in Chicago, he can play those albums, and Meshuggah, as much as he wants.

What's Next?

Please share this article if you found it interesting.

16 Comments on "Lazarus A.D. Kicks Max Cavalera’s Ass in Chicago"

Post your comments and discuss the article below! (no login required)

Anonymous Reader
1. aamer writes:


# May 5, 2011 @ 7:26 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrianMN's avatar


2. BrianMN writes:

Max is kind of like the metal version of Charlie Sheen. Totally mental.
See what happens when you dye your hair pink and blue? (Roots era).
All that Manic Panic dye fried his brain.

# May 5, 2011 @ 9:11 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
btbamfav20's avatar


3. btbamfav20 writes:

^Totally agreed there, his music has gone stale and stangnant, i dont think i even kept Blunt Force Trauma after hearing it... I KNEW it would sound like sh** live, and not surprised that fatty Max lost his ability to write. Hang up the towel?

NP: Ghost Prototype I - Measurement Of Thought - Scar Symmetry

# May 5, 2011 @ 9:37 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
tallica_fan's avatar


4. tallica_fan writes:

i agree with alot of what you say, sepultura was the time that max was at his peak, soulfly is basic and boring and his energy level live these days is woeful, but i personally thought cavalera conspiracy's first album was a hugely refreshing change compared to the stale sh** he'd been producing over the last decade or so. the songs are alot tighter and the breakdowns are pretty cool- its by no means nearly as good as the old sepultura sh**, but i thought it was alot heavier. havent heard the new album yet and i can understand that it would all sound pretty sh**ty live because max just looks like a tired old man these days. i agree about the lead guitarist hes pretty decent.

# May 5, 2011 @ 10:33 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. Real Kenosha Metalhead writes:

Too bad Lazarus AD sucks balls. Im from their home town. I watched the go from 14 yr olds playing boring a$$ instrumental death thrash as Fatal Error, to when they discovered Lamb of God and their older friends Testament albums. They are boring. They are rip offs, and their new album blows.

# May 5, 2011 @ 10:44 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
gripper's avatar


6. gripper writes:

i agree w/ #5
Lazarus AD's 1st album was alright
but their latest is generic and overproduced
Lazarus AD is a bigger letdown then Max Cavalera's worst day

# May 5, 2011 @ 11:26 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
RTB's avatar


7. RTB writes:

Maxs is slowing down for sure, i noticed that about a year ago..as one of his biggest fans i do also notice musically the well appears to be running dry a bit, the last soulfly and CC lps i was not a fan of at all...he'll always be a legend to me though
LAD, havent seen them live yet so cannot critique but i have heard good reviews from others as well of there live shows

# May 5, 2011 @ 12:33 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
8. WP23 writes:

I think this review is a bit biased. You havent even heard the new CC. Also, to call CC Soulfly lite is completely wrong. While Max has slowed down a bit, thats life. I heard an 85 min set with CC songs from both albums mixed in with a couple Sep classics. Whats not to like?

# May 5, 2011 @ 2:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
9. who am i writes:

im hopen one day max rest the members of sepultura sh** straight then the enery comje back to live out of max plus i want to see them live in concert with max and not the other singer

# May 5, 2011 @ 8:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrianSD's avatar


10. BrianSD writes:

Max's stuff is all sounding the same but there's still some good stuff. I think LazAD is oneof the better new bands out these days

# May 6, 2011 @ 12:00 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
11. jack meoff writes:

lad sucks, MAX AND IGOR still kickin as$!!

# May 6, 2011 @ 12:06 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

12. Cynic writes:

I wonder what would happen if Max and Igor toured as Sepultura under a different name?

Haven't heard LAD yet, the comments here have it up in the air as to whether I should.

# May 6, 2011 @ 12:19 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
silvermountains's avatar


13. silvermountains writes:

Man if the show was in Chicago and a thrash show, why didnt diamond plate show up and play with lazarus ad, that woulda been a treat. I've seen AD, and they put on one of the better shows i've been to in a while now. I really love The Onslaught but Black Rivers Flow doesn't cut it for me, watching all those Making Of... videos really made me take away that there follow up wasn't gonna be as incredible. Sad to see such great thrash talent and potential washed down the drain. If they ever wanted to be like the greater metal bands like they mention in the videos like "Pantera, Metallica" They would have continued to play thrash, not american metal. Although Alex did say they were "moving into a direction" where they can "define there sound and be a different band then all the rest of the other metal bands..." Fun band to see though live, just lost all of there mentally to stay toward what they know best. Thrash.

# May 6, 2011 @ 12:54 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
METAL213's avatar


14. METAL213 writes:

I was at the show and I kind of agree with you here. While I didn't see Lazarus AD, I was pretty disappointed with Max Cavalera's performance. Most of the time, he just looked winded and out of sync. You look at the other players in the band, especially Marc Rizzo the lead guitarist and he's got energy for days, he's in amazing shape. Same with Igor. They both need to trim Max down quite a bit

# May 6, 2011 @ 8:01 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Fuck_A_Name's avatar


15. Fuck_A_Name writes:

I honestly listen to LAD's second album more than their first. With all due respect, their first album gets really boring and repetitive. The first two songs are excellent, and there are a few gems further on, but I honestly cant listen to the whole album in one go because it feels like I'm listening to one long-ass continuous thrash song.

Now, I had disapointments with their second album, but then I kept listening to it, and realized I could easily tell every song apart and sing along to at least half of them. And I still keep finding goodies throughout it, the way a good album should be. The clean singing adds a HHUUUUGE depth to their songwriting imo that was lacking before.

Lets face it, if they had kept with their first album style, they would have been forgotten in 5 years by most and remembered as a catchy exodus/testament clone by the few who did follow them. The groove style theyve accomplished on this second album, along with the clean passages scattered throughout, help to differentiate it from the pack. And being in the era of reheatable retro-thrash thats going on, I think thats doubly important. Considering every band on the planet is trying to sound like Exodus right now, I think they made the right choice.

# May 6, 2011 @ 9:54 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
16. Toby writes:

If i see cavalera out of shape he is going to hear my voice yell at his fat ass. If you have an imagination and use CC for your own outward release. They know what there doing.

I just saw sepultura. Beside the trak roots, derrick green is one of the best with kisser helping with lyriks.

To lie is to justify another lie you take as truth. Sepultura with green is more captivating than any of it.

# May 12, 2011 @ 10:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

To minimize comment spam/abuse, you cannot post comments on articles over a month old. Please check the sidebar to the right or the related band pages for recent related news articles.