Burst - Lazarus Bird
Relapse Records
Progressive Sludge/Metalcore
8 songs (59:51)
Release year: 2008
Burst, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

As numerous as Metalcore bands are, those that are actually worth listening to grow fewer in number daily; yet from this bastard runt of a genre several bands have sprouted and taken wing, rising above their cloned comrades and retaining just enough musical magic of their own to make them special. Sweden's Burst are a fine example of this, formed in 1993 yet only finding recognition - even in the underground - with their fourth album, 2005's Origo. A compelling mixture of genres, Origo proved that you could do more with Metalcore than sicken onlookers with horrific hairstyles and breakdowns ad infinitum. Enjoying that album at the time, and enjoying it again when researching this review, I expected a slice of the same aural pie again - another interesting mixture of late Enslaved, Refused and Neurosis, tipped onto a solid Metal base and cooked until just right.

Well, consider me dumbstruck. I knew that Burst were a talented bunch of lads - this is the band that Jesper Liveröd left Nasum for, after all - but I didn't know that they had an album as good as this in them. Lazarus Bird, frankly, shits over Origo. It takes it by the scruff of the neck and kicks it back into the past where it belongs. One listen to Lazarus Bird is enough to ensnare you, yet it's so technical and complex that you'll be listening for months. Take opener I Hold Vertigo, opening with pseudo-Death Metal riffing before Linus Jägerskog's harsh vocals start to declaim; an unholy mixture of System Of A Down and The Mars Volta given a Hardcore edge. One false ending and many, many riffs later, you'll barely be aware of the passing time as this subtly catchy piece twists and writhes, the Prog elements coming into their own halfway through with spoken vocals and ambience reminiscent of everyone from Aussie psychedelics Alchemist to American barnstormers Mastodon. I Hold Vertigo ends seven minutes later sounding like a completely different band, yet you know that you're listening to the same thing due to the underlying Metalcore base - no wimpy stuff here, just a solid blend of good, honest Metal and Hardcore riffs.

After many listens, what emerges from Lazarus Bird is the image of a band that is confident and mature, capable of adding to and subtracting from their sound in the eternal search for musical perfection. And whilst Burst may still be several steps from finding it, this is the closest thing that you're going to hear for a while. From I Exterminate The Eye's laid-back Funkiness to Nineteenhundred's Free Jazz, you're rarely given a chance to sit back and examine what you've been presented with. Instead, the band keep you swirling, surrounding you with aural wonder, leaving you free to explore, to concentrate on one particularly arresting moment or simply shut your eyes and give yourself over to the intense madness. Make no mistake, this is not a light snack; Lazarus Bird will keep your taste buds satisfied for a long time to come. Fans of Origo will likely be disappointed at first by this album's lack of immediately catchy moments, but give it time and you'll be sucked in deep.

What's especially impressive is that Burst have staked their own ground. You'll find reflections of the other bands mentioned above, but for once in the Prog-Metal world we have an original band, a band that aims higher than merely ripping Tool or Opeth off, a band that casts its net wide without giving into crass commercialities such as hit songs. Seriously, this is a call: anyone reading that appreciates their music taking time to work its magic, enjoys giving an album repeated listens to unlock it, then step up; forget your prejudices against the Hardcore (mentions of which have probably turned the majority of readers off automatically) and embrace an album that settles Burst's place amongst the elite. Cult Of Luna have broken the mold; now Burst have raised the bar.

Killing Songs :
I Hold Vertigo, I Exterminate The I, We Are Dust, Cripple God, Nineteenhundred, (We Watched) The Silver Rain, City Cloaked
Goat quoted 90 / 100
James quoted 85 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 7 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:03 am
View and Post comments