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Hacride is one of the most broad-minded bands in contemporary metal. There are definite precedents audible in their sound: vocalist Samuel Bourreau's hoarse bark is reminiscent of Sepultura/Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera, while the band's churning, repetitive riffs recall Meshuggah, Tool, and fellow Frenchmen Gojira in equal measure. Some of the oceanic, drifting interludes (in the middle of the title track, say) also point to Isis as an influence. But the sonic surprises they routinely throw at the listener -- from the saxophone that augmented 2005's Deviant Current Signals to the cover of electro-flamenco group Ojos de Brujo's "Zambra" on 2007's Amoeba -- make them unique. Lazarus is the group's third album, and while it's also the longest at just under an hour, it features only seven tracks -- the first of which, "To Walk Among Them," is 15 minutes long. And while that's at least five minutes longer than anything else on the disc, even Lazarus's shortest track, the instrumental "Phenomenon," feels epic. But Hacride never sacrifices metal's cathartic power in service of progressive dreamscaping; the last two minutes of "Awakening," featuring a computer-gone-berserk guitar solo and a drum break that sounds like Meshuggah's Tomas Haake imitating Steve Gadd's famous solo on Steely Dan's "Aja," is some of the most head-crushing metal of recent years. This is a band that deserves to be every bit as influential and revered as their better-known contemporaries.

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