Jono Moulds check out the new Dig Lazarus album for The Rock & Roll Circus. "Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time" was released on 15th October 2021.
Dig Lazarus are an exciting new rock band from Nuneaton, England. With upbeat, catchy, harmony driven choruses nestled between heavy riffs, their sound packs a punch whilst remaining fun, accessible and fresh. Having met as teenagers, the band quickly gelled and have spent the past few years honing their stoner surf-alternative-rock sound in venues across the UK supporting the likes of the VIRGINMARYS, The Brew, IDLEWAR, CROBOT, Massive Wagons, The AMORETTES, as well as a slot at Camden Rocks Festival, and more.
And a very unusual and brief kick off to this debut album as ‘Sermon’ is proclaimed via the backing of some good old Gospel Church organ, while the ‘The Reverend Boots Electric’ orates to the flock by warning them he’s not to be threatened with a ‘good time’. This leads us straight into ‘Road Runner’with its straight-ahead, no-nonsense guitar and driving, heavy pounding drums. The riff is simple, but highly effective, as it forms the backbone of the song. The track has a Rock/Punk hybrid feel to it, as there’s enough weight in there for a Rock song, but ‘snarls’ enough in places to that it crosses over into the Punk feel.
An early Sabbath style opening riff brings us into ‘Never Change’ Once again, the guitar sound is dense and thick, while all the time, trying their darndest to break their way through these speakers. The verses are sung over a tribal drum pattern, as guitar and bass work together by laying down that highly compressed, ever threatening, distorted sound. ‘Tustain’ sings ‘Can’t find a reason to make a change, can’t find a reason to lose the restraints. The chorus is repetitive, but there’s a hook there
that will get lodged in your mind and it’ll be tricky to get rid of it!!!
Some lighter sounding guitar kicks off ‘Tell me Why’ which, for me, has a ‘Wolfmother’ vibe to the structure, which hits you straight out of the gate. The initial salvo sees the guitar and drums working on a tight rhythmic bond, as ‘Tustain’ hollers over the top of it ‘Tell me why you’re left alone in the cold’, before there is a chorus section, where the band combine to voice ‘It goes on and on, ‘til the morning comes’. There is a drop in intensity just past the mid-way point, as there is a repeat of the chorus line (no doubt the crowd will be asked to participate at this point when they play it live). However, the song builds back up until its final throes.
‘Satisfied’ opens up with a run of ‘choppy’ chords and associated licks, that is, until the bass slides in and then we are off. The start reminds me of a mix between ‘The Killers and AC/DC’, but this resemblance soon disappears as we get through the verses and into the chorus, as I think ‘Tustain’ queries ‘Are you happy with life, are you satisfied’? Look out for a surprise outro to the track too. Something a little different thrown into the mix.
There is a definite punk vibe with ‘Dexter’ as the ‘ferocity knob’ is turned up past 10 on the amps. This song certainly has no smooth edges to it, as it’s rough, raucous and rabid, as the vocals sound like they are being sung through a megaphone, that has been attached to a Marshall stack, that’s also ‘plumbed’ into a fuzz box. Not for the feint hearted this one, or a cure for a hangover!!!!
The acronym of the album title ‘DTMWAGT’ brings things back down to ‘some kind’ of normality as it’s all in at the start of this bad boy. A straight-ahead overdriven chord foray is underpinned by some great bass runs by ‘Hall-McNair’, although, there is enough scope within the song that there are variations on a theme, as the drums fill the mid-section with some great patterns. And just when you think you can stick a label on things, there’s a trombone outro to look forward too. Crazy!!!
‘Feel’ crashes in on cue, as once again, the band don’t let the dust settle, as that thick sounding guitar along with solid bass and drums pound it out. The verses play out over this relentlessness, as the band ‘ease back’ a smidge (some guitar ‘chugging’, that clears the way for the vocal to be right at
the front of the mix) that allows the chorus to flourish, without losing any of the power of the track. The riff runs down on the final section, that then descends into a deluge of grunginess to finish the track off.
A start, that rings out and is akin to that of AC/DC’s TNT, as the ‘Joker’ comes forth to entertain us. The drums push out a constant beat, while the guitar hits that one chord and waits for the feedback to slowly sustain, all before a great riff leads us into the opening. The verse is initially sung over that sustained chord, while the bass and drums keep things steady. The chorus brings us a step closer to the crux of the tune, where ‘Tustain’ waxes lyrically ‘“I’m a liar and I’m a loser but baby you know I’m a joker to, but the jokes on you!” Some great support vocal can be heard over the mid-section/bridge, as they build things up to a heavy onslaught. Top tuneage!!!
Is that a cowbell? If it is, and my ears are not deceiving me, then Awesome!! As we have a cracking introduction to ’Keep it Clean’ as this classic sounding Rock track comes a-rumbling through my speakers. A quick paced song that has some lovely changes within it, as it goes from a straight ahead rocker, to a bridge section full of great melody lines and lyrics that are rattled off at some pace. It’s over before it’s started and as it doesn’t hang around to wipe its feet on the way out.
‘Sky Tonight’ has a ‘Foo-Fighters - Learn to Fly’ type intro, as we have a slightly more commercial sounding tune from the boys, however, this doesn’t sound all ‘fluffy and light’, as there is still enough solid playing within the tune for it not to stray into those murky waters. I really like the musical section (around half way through), with the addition of some piano thrown in for good measure (I believe it’s piano, apologies if it’s not ). A strong song this, like it!!!!
Hi-hat to snare and we are off and underway with ‘Outlaw’. A thunderous guitar riff then quickly takes centre stage as the band really start to rock, with a high gain, deeply resonant mix. The first verse is sung over some gloopy, syrupy, thick chords that are allowed to ring out, allowing the bass and drums to support with power and menace. I’m loving the backing vocal/harmony which comes into play throughout the bridge/chorus. Really adds some depth to the tune. On top of that, there are some nice changes, just after the mid-way point of the track, where there is some extended and expanded rifforama!!! BOOM!!!! TUNE!!!
Last, but by no means least, we have ‘Time Froze’, which bucks the trend a little (well, to start with) as there is some acoustic, mixed with a deep, but restrained guitar lick. Normal service is soon resumed though, as we are met by a ponderous, slow burning beast of guitar-soaked power. This feels like the backing music for the entrance of some snarly, fire breathing beast, pounding and huffing its way across the wasteland in search of vengeance!!!!! This dark mood and vibe are constant through the tune, and only lets up toward the final strains, as we end the song with more from the acoustic guitar, which I feel, ends on a very sweet and cleverly added Major chord.
OK then, 13 songs reviewed on Dig Lazarus’s debut album, so what’s the summary?? A three-piece band who has created tuneage that displays power, a great song writing knack and diversity. Their sound is heavy and full (which is awesome for a three-piece band), but also, on times, crosses into other musical genres (notably that slight punk edge), especially, when they become raucous and need to expend some that youthful energy. An album that’s well worth checking out!!
Review by Jono Moulds
Check out video for "Sky Tonight".
Dig Lazarus is:
Ash Tustain - lead vocals and guitars
Atticus Hall-McNair - vocals and bass
Jack Cotterill - drums and percussion
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