June 28, 2008

CD Review: Laaz Rockit - Left for Dead

Metal was a late attraction for me, having been lured in by the hair metal scene in the late 80's followed by a detour into grunge in the early 90's. Sure, I was aware of the usual list of heavy hitters like Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer. I even knew of others like Testament, Exodus, King Diamond, and Metal Church. I know, that list is not obscure in the least, but when I first knew about them they were way to the fringe and way to "extreme" for my sensitive young tastes. Fortunately I grew out of that phase. Still, as I expanded my musical plate I never came across Laaz Rockit until I saw a press release announcing their new album. To get a peek, I went over to their MySpace page and checked out a couple of tunes. I liked what I heard, and hear we are.

Laaz Rockit has had an interesting career. They emerged from the Bay Area scene in the early 1980's, traveling the same roads as those acts that were destined to explode onto the national scene. Despite the seemingly positive critical success they never followed in the footsteps of those other acts. I cannot see why they didn't, but for whatever reason they never took off. Still, between 1984 and 1992 they released five studio albums and one live one. They broke up then, only to reunite for a few dates over the past few years, resulting in a live DVD and a renewed desire to make new music. This brings us to Left for Dead and my first real experience with Laaz Rockit.

As soon as I pressed play, I was greeted with an old school thrash sound, not unlike what you would have found in the genre's glory years. Speedy guitars, driving drums, screamed vocals, and some decidedly groovy, fast metal greeted me on the first cut, called "Brain Wash." It is a strong cut that feels modern while still delivering that old school feel. The guitars dig themselves into your head, the solos wail out of the speakers and I finally know what it was like to be a metal fan in the 80's.

Now, I can never claim to know what it was really like to grow up as a true metal head, just like I cannot claim this to be a great album. However, I can say that there is something youthful and timeless about the music on this disk. I can just picture some young 12 or 13 year old wanting to check out some metal music, popping this on and just being floored.

Left for Dead is a solid album from start to finish. These guys show no rust from their decade-plus layoff between releases. Granted, I cannot compare to those old releases, but they play so tight here that I can imagine what those earlier albums must be like. Perhaps I need to go back and do some investigating?

Without going into their back catalog, I can tell you that this is an album that you can put on, listen to from start to finish without becoming bored. The reality is that you will probably find yourself drawn into the catchy songs, rocking to the riffs, and not feel like it is one long song. The songwriting on display is quite good with plenty of variety.

So, when you play Left for Dead the songs you should pay most attention to are: "Delirium Void," "Ghost in the Mirror," "Turmoil," and the downright epic "Desolate Oasis."

Bottomline. Not bad for a band that once said they would not release any more new music. This is a strong collection of metal tunes. There is nothing revolutionary here, but it doesn't have to be. Not everything has to be completely knew, so long as it is competent and good. Laaz Rockit's latest effort is definitely compentent and absolutely is it good. You are not likely to be disappointed.



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