Lazarus Bird

Compared to the dense, melancholy psychedelia of Origo, Lazarus Bird surprises from note one by taking a confident step back to Burst‘s hardcore roots. Opener “I Hold Vertigo” attacks with a lurching hammerblow riff, and vocalist Linus Jägerskog tears into his work as if he’s rediscovering it. He sounds fresher and meaner than anything I can remember from Origo or Prey on Life. It’s a bold start to an album that sounds more varied, more accomplished and more adventurous than its predecessors – which is saying a lot, considering how excellent Burst‘s previous output has been.

I didn’t think that at first, though – I was actually thrown by how strident the band sounds now, and thought for a moment that their newfound embrace of sharp, violent hardcore might push their other talents to the background. But then “Vertigo” shifts into a rippling interlude, as if slipping beneath the waves. It drifts there for a moment, then bursts to the surface again, gasping for air and screaming anew. And that’s just the first minute – there’s still a good five minutes of twists and turns to come.

“I Exterminate the I” is equally as intense and aggressive, with another fluid, jazzy lull at its core and a nimble, almost Spanish beat tapping its way through the second half. Then, after the paired assault of the first two tracks, Lazarus Bird flips the song structure around for the next two tracks. Instead of lacerating riffs and skyward screaming guarding and enveloping more delicate, pensive moments, “We are Dust” and “Momentum” are predominantly psychedelic and elegaic, with the metallic eruptions shattering the mood.

“Cripple God,” another favorite, charges out of the gate with a noodly riff and a raw, throaty vocal that instantly recalls Mastodon. Then, after one of the more beautiful, shimmering interludes on the album, the track explodes with a rollicking attack that sounds more like the feral energy of classic Metallica than the majority of Death Magnetic.

The rest of the tracks contain plenty of their own dizzying moments and gorgeous reveals, which I will resist detailing here (gotta leave something for you guys to discover.) Just be assured that when it’s over, you’ll feel as if you’ve been taken on a fascinating, exhilarating journey, and you’ll immediately return to track 1 and start anew. It’s the kind of feeling I get from only a couple of bands, bands that don’t just craft an album – they craft an experience. And if that sounds like Opeth, you’re spot on. Many bands try to ape Opeth‘s dynamics, but Burst, with a sound that’s angular and protean all at once, actually pays them tribute while keeping their own voice intact. From here on in, I think that the Opeth comparison is unnecessary – Burst has forged their own sound, with their own ever-expanding bag of tricks to pull from.

Origo was my favorite album of 2006, and although I don’t think I can give Lazarus Bird top honors this time (sorry guys, it’s an Opeth year), I think I’ve already found my #2. Simply stunning.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
October 7th, 2008


  1. Commented by: adam

    I love this album, it’s what I’ve always wanted from them. Linus’ vocals are definitely better more varied on this album, which lets him come across as fresh, when he goes into the yell, which sounded to familiar on Origo.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought of Metallica on hearing Cripple God. This album sticks to my brain in the way that Puppets does, all the songs have their own space, that compliment each other. The twists and turns are endlessly fascinating.

    I don’t think Watershed will beat this, for the many times I’ve listened to it, there are really only about 4 songs that stand out, compared to previous albums that were memorable the whole way through (like Lazarus bird is).

  2. Commented by: Patrick

    Great review Gabaghoul. I’m seriously excited to hear this album, definitely moving to the top of my “to get” list.

  3. Commented by: swampthang

    BURST OWNS ALL. Burst sound more like Neurosis, Isis, and Mouth Of The Architect more then opeth. oh and watershed was corny and hella boring

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    yeah Neurosis and Isis are obvious comps but I don’t think they have quite the same level of twists and turns as Burst or Opeth – it’s all variations on a few themes, i.e. crushing passages vs atmospheric/ambient passages – I find this much more varied and unpredictable.

    sorry to say I have not heard Mouth of the Architect, which I will be fixing soon.

    Watershed FTW but I am a huge Opeth fan so to each his own.

  5. Commented by: bast

    Allready ordered this one.
    Watershed is soo good! Didn´t get bored yet, as allways. Big fan too.

  6. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Negura Bunget. Om. 2006.

    All I gotta say.

    I still like Burst a lot, though. I’m getting this soon, loving the cover art.

  7. Commented by: Adam Childress

    I am definitely going to be checking out this album, and seeing their back catalogue as well.

    Good review.

  8. Commented by: Deke'

    I usually hate using this terribly overused/abused word to describe things, but in this instance it’s the only thing I can think of to say about this album…


  9. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I just heard this-brilliant indeed-might have to do some year end reshuffling

  10. Commented by: gabaghoul

    yes it is – actually I would love to hear your take on it too.

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