|Review: Lazarus - Episode One|
Year released: 2007
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: June 19, 2009
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 5/5 (100%) (4 Votes)
No way near as disappointing as its name sake, Episode One surprised me despite its bullshit press release and egregious cover art. Forming way back in 1987 and having release nothing up to this point (their press release states this is the most diverse work they have ever produced – go figure) US Prog metallers Lazarus may just have something here with this rather tidy collection of metal mayhem.
Sounding like a mix of early Queensryche, Magnitude Nine and No Prayer for the Dying-era Iron Maiden, Lazarus' output has a distinct 80s feel, with a sharp, modern progressive edge that pulls them out of that decade irrevocably. At times, Lazarus do tend to stand closer to US Power Metal territory à la Onward or Jacob's Dream – especially on the gripping ride of "Dream Away" – but generally this is a fairly stout affair with little surprise, and as a result, a very comfortable listen. Like so many of these releases, there are a handful of frankly remarkable tracks, in this case opener "Wings of Avalon" and the galloping "Glass World", but the filler material always outweighs the quality like a sumo on a seesaw. Through a rather thin yet astute production, Episode One does suffer from sounding a little one-sided, with the guitars not really standing above the soaring, Blaze Bayley-esque bawls of vocalist Glenn Dagrossa, and when that all important twin-guitar harmony is backed up by a solitary bass and drum arrangement, this debut EP sounds emptier than a neighborhood watch meeting in Peckham.
If it's possible to look past all of my petty grievances, Lazarus offer a well performed selection of tight, melodic, Progressive Power Metal that will, no doubt in time, become a lot less stationary. But they'll really have to step it up if Episode Two is going to capture my attentions.
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