Lazarus A.D. Kicks Max Cavalera’s Ass, But Nobody Realizes It
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 Compared to Cavalera Conspiracy’s tired and outdated thrash, Lazarus A.D. is already in the Hall of Fame.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
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