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The Bob Lazar Story - Vanquisher CD (album) cover


The Bob Lazar Story

Eclectic Prog

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Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
2 stars 'The Bob Lazer Story' is an Eclectic Prog band from New Zealand that was founded in 2006. The music covers quite an array of styles, quick to change from one style to another. The album 'Vanquisher' is their 4th full length studio album. The band is made up of Matt Deacon on guitars and vocals, Mike Fudakowski on bass, Chris Jago on drums. Guests Zeke Deacon also provides some vocals and Jacob Petrossian plays lead guitar on track 7. The album is made up of 16 tracks, most of them under 5 minutes, but 2 manage to make it over 5 minutes.

'Pongville' (0:50) starts out as a jazzy number and ends up sounding very pong-like. 'Eleven' (1:55) is a bit smoother with a tropical feel and a complex drum pattern. 'Eyes Only/Vanquisher' (2:00) comes across both bright and colorful, then changes to a slightly darker tone, but never really developing into anything. 'Section 8' (1:52) begins with heavy guitars, but then turns suddenly more minimal and then builds back some steam as it goes on. The rhythm is tricky again, very progressive and covering some interesting territory, but goes by so fast that it never settles into anything.

Finally, the 5th track manages to get up to 4 minutes. 'Project Top Secret' bounces around a lot, hoping to different rhythms and melodies and then suddenly becoming minimal around the 2 minute mark, before a sudden heavy guitar riff comes in contrasted by a brighter melody provided by electronic keys. After that, it chugs along directed by that chunky riff while the synth merrily sings along. 'Arps' (0:06) is fast and quirky, over almost as soon as it begins, just a cascade of fast notes. 'Ambient Pedals' (3:05) goes back to a heavy, chunky sound with drums pounding slowly along to the dark riffs. Several layers just churn along, tripping over each other clumsily. 'Randoloftentimes' (0:19) is simply electric guitar playing what sounds like a snippet of a solo.

'Is This Foodstool?' (6:36) is the longest track on this reader's digest of condensed tunes. The guitars and organ follow a King Crimson inspired style with some nice complexities, odd meters and a long, strange sustained note that suddenly takes the air out of everything. A bass sound just kind of plucks along after this for a while, then acoustic guitar picks up a pensive quasi- melody. Not much happens for a while as you wait expectedly for something to happen, it just doesn't. The track started interesting enough, but then goes nowhere. 'Tony!!' (0:19) sounds like a kid and adult yelling at each other indiscernibly. 'Restroom' (0:44) is some backward sounding percussion effects with a pointless melody on top of it. 'Goodbye Victor Tripaldi' (2:30) has a sort-of Tortoise vibe to it, tonal and regular percussion, lots of organ and guitar playing together. One of the more interesting tracks, but it is too short. It does manage to boil into a nice progressive interaction towards the end

'Hooves & Broken Biscuits' (4:32) starts with synthesized choral effects that morphs into a soft electric piano style, then following into a heavy interaction between drums, organ and guitar. Some hollering is going on in the background as the keys swirl around, and then the tune slips into a slow, blues style vibe led by bass and guitar As it nears the end, things suddenly get chaotic and the tempo speeds up to a moderate pounding while a heavy guitar takes over and leads the track to it's conclusion. 'Two for the Rest' (3:49) consists of keyboard loops that build one note at a time until a repeating riff is formed, and a laid-back, moderate rhythm takes over. The smoothness gives into a progressive vibe and then moves back to the steady rhythm again as everything else just kind of meanders along aimlessly, then it all comes together in a slow march with the guitar playing a more focused melody.

'Operation Full Klinger' (5:31) just kind of goes everywhere, never settling into any style, and then suddenly goes really weird by repeating an ascending and descending effect over and over again for about a minute and a half. Finally at 3 minutes, a jazz like vibe takes over with some guitar and slow drums which seems like it could develop into something, but most likely will only cause you to fall to the floor when you fall asleep. But you will be awakened by a sudden fast section with a crazy synth style solo, which ends up not developing into anything except for an ending. 'Elvensnip' (1:33) ends this wandering album with meandering guitar and electronic keys.

While it's true this album covers a lot of instrumental territory in a short time, it never seems to arrive anywhere. It just seems to be weird for the sake of being weird and not so much for being musically worth anything. There are some strange ideas here, and if the band could just settle in on an idea long enough, they might have been developed into something. And then, each time you think they have hit on something, things just suddenly take a turn for the worse. The many short tracks might give the appearance of being quirky or daring, and that would be okay, but what we end up with is a lot of time spent not going anywhere or developing anything, and only a couple of tracks that are truly interesting, but even those don't get time to develop, either that, or they just take a strange turn where it seems like time is just being eaten up. And with an album that doesn't even make it to 40 minutes, it seems that most of this album is just eaten up time.

Report this review (#2243237)
Posted Sunday, August 11, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars After far too long, The Bob Lazar Story are back with their fourth album, and for those who have yet to come across them then they describe themselves as "purveyors of tritonal wankery, and offer an oasis of ProgMathsyFusion to soothe your weary earholes,' so there. If that isn't enough, band leader/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Matt Deacon is the only prog musician I have been able to have a beer with here in the Garden City (Christchurch NZ, not WGC UK), as he also departed from the UK many years ago to settle in Aotearoa. What I have always found quite intriguing about the band is that there are based around Matt and drummer Chris Jago, both originally Scousers, but Chris is based in Los Angeles which makes both composing and recording somewhat interesting as they work independently to create something which sounds as if they are bouncing ideas off each other. Also of interest to fans of the band is the reappearance of Mike Fudakowski on bass, who appeared on the second album 'Space Roots'. I asked Matt what had happened with Mike and was told 'Fud was heavily involved in an 8 year-long Dungeons and Dragons campaign and couldn't be disturbed. He escaped with his life, just, and I brought him back on board for a few tunes.'

With album art which link to previous releases, a weird obsession with something called a 'foodstool', and a predilection for things very hot and spicy (hence the cover this time around), it is safe to say that this band are quite different to what else is around, and that's before we get to the music. For Matt and Chris the world revolves around Frank Zappa, although in recent years there has also been an influence from Cardiacs. Complex and complicated music, which at times also includes quite a sense of humour, one would never realise the two main musicians are on either sides of the Pacific ocean as they weave their patterns.

There are sixteen tracks with a total running time of less than forty minutes, and some of them are just off the wall skits not to be taken seriously at all, while others build and develop, all the time showing there is a future for instrumental progressive music from artist who refuse to conform to any given idea of what that should be like. Definitely for fans of Zappa, 'Sing To God' era Cardiacs, and progheads who don't want their music to be too serious.

Report this review (#2307911)
Posted Saturday, January 18, 2020 | Review Permalink

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