Bonded By Blood
There’s something highly interesting about mosh pits. From the sweaty sense of homo-erotic comradeship to the primitive establishment of alpha-male status, they are a BBC nature documentary series on evolution waiting to happen. Even without the reassuring gravitas of a David Attenborough narration, the sight of 2 fat men butting against each other like a pair of goats and then repeatedly scuttling away to take another run up is almost hypnotic in its simplistic charm. It would obviously take a musical performance of jaw-dropping charisma and super-tight musicianship to draw attention away from the mesmerising circus freak show festivities in the crowd, and, for the most part, Bonded By Blood duly provide.
Now touring their second album, BBB are in the perfect position to create a set that is wall-to-wall thrashgasm without any filler whatsoever, delivering a nipple blasting set of extraordinarily rapid thrash metal that means I am forced to avert my gaze from the primitive grappling and soak in the fluid solos and savage riffs emanating from the group of seemingly pre-pubescent young boys on stage. Their set was evenly divided between the two albums, though the familiarity of Immortal Life, Feed The Beast and Psychotic Pulse means they are most warmly received by the baying, if a little sparse, crowd. The new material, particularly the awesome Prison Planet and shredful Prototype Death Machine shows that they are evolving their sound (ever so slightly) away from cartoonish new-wave thrash, though they return for a brief encore (can supporting bands do encores?) of the massively childish Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before departing, safe in the knowledge that, cartoonish or not, they have just pre-emptively shat over Lazarus A.D.
Hitting the UK for the first time, Lazarus A.D. have found themselves set with an impossible task: try to keep up with the hyperactive Bonded By Blood for 24 dates around Europe. A single set was enough to leave this muscular, athletic (honest) reviewer panting like a Type 2 Diabetic after a waddle from his mobility scooter back to the KFC counter to ask for extra gravy. Unfortunately their latest effort, Black Rivers Flow, sees an increase in both the Southern Groove elements that set The Onslaught apart from it’s peers & a rather disappointing step into far more commercial territory. Anyway, tracks like Absolute Power & Last Breath still sound as fresh as they did in 07 but The Ultimate Sacrifice could have been a Trivium B-Side whilst Light A City could have fallen out of Bullet For My Valentine‘s big bag of mediocrity.
Much like those bands, the problem lies not in their ability but in their insistence to spoon feed us syrupy, mind-numbing choruses that should leave all but the simplest fans wondering how little respect the band have for our cerebral ability. A cynical, jaded mind might propose that Lazarus A.D. have realised the limitations of the thrash scene & set their sights on a far more lucrative market. This theory would certainly be backed up by the proliferation of dodgy haircuts, Trivium shirts & foetus-faced individuals who’s bemused look suggested this may have been their first time out the womb, let alone first gig. If they want a piece of the commercially viable pie that BFMV, Machine Head & others currently dine on, that’s fine but I’m going to have to ask that they hand back their “Thrash Or Die” motto in exchange for something more suitable. I propose “Thrashin’ For The Cash In”.