Vanquisher – The Bob Lazar Story
Matt Deacon is back with his project of The Bob Lazar Story and a brand-new album has finally surfaced after a couple of years entitled Vanquisher. The project is also back in full force and I was pleased to see the bass guitarist Mike Fudakowski has once again returned to the fold after 5 years. I particularly missed him on the last album Baritonia more so than on the EP Self-Loathing Joe but along with their power house drummer Chris Jago this is very much one very strong 3-piece outfit.
Vanquisher is the 7th musical release since Deacon and his project arrived on the planet earth and kicked off back in 2006 with the release of the debut album (Sic). That album and the other albums and EP’s that followed have been frying my brains out ever since I caught my first glimpse of a mysterious object flying over here in Birmingham England back in 2017. Upon further inspection I soon discovered that the object in question was a wooden stool, but not just any wooden stool and upon closer inspection I could see it had the remnants of food spattered all over it and had been on many adventures.
The Famous Foodstool
Matt Deacon’s Foodstool took off from his garage in Liverpool, England many moons ago now but its adventures consistently live on and will forever continue to do so. The one thing you are sure to get with the The Bob Lazar Story is consistency all the way and the latest album Vanquisher presents us with the Foodstool’s biggest adventure to date. It’s always good to see a new release and it’s very rare you will get to see one every year apart from a couple of EP’s that got released back in 2014/15. I always get a BUZZ! and certain amount of excitement to hear of a new release from this project and because of the consistency you get with the music it never disappoints. So, let’s take a closer look into the latest album but as ever before we do, let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.
The Packaging & Artwork…
The CD comes in a very good quality well-made cardboard 3 panel gloss coated DigiPak that comes with a plastic tray with a hub fixed inside to hold and protect the disc. It comes with all the usual linear credit notes printed on the inside of the gatefold sleeve, a couple of photos and the album track listing titles are printed on the back of DigiPak. Interestingly enough it also contains the reverse side of the coffee mug stain that was used for the front cover of the Baritonia album when you remove the CD from its hub. It’s also meant to be a striking portrait of Matt Deacon according to a recent interview he had with Kev Rowland, on the 12th of this month.
No expense has been spared on this release and due to the fact that I no longer collect vinyl this type of packaging very much appeals to me the most, simply because it replicates a mini version of the vinyl album. The other good thing about DigiPaks like this is that you are always guaranteed to get a gatefold sleeve which is something not all vinyl albums presented you with. DigiPaks like this will even sometimes entice me to buy an album all over again simply because they do look much better than standard plastic jewel cases and give a far better-quality presentation for your albums.
This is an excellent package and for the price of £11.50 inclusive of postage & packaging it really is excellent value for the money. I was also quite surprised to get it for this price being as it’s from New Zealand and was well surprised how fast it arrived too. I guess being that they are now signed up to Bad Elephant Records it’s most likely distributed internationally which is why it arrived so quick. Here in the UK I generally pay between £10 – £12 for a CD that comes in a Digipak so this price fits very well with my pocket.
The artwork was done by Roger Heal @WWGAMINGNZ. Heal is an artist who mainly does artwork for games and a few other things besides and is part of a two-man operation of Whistling Wizard Gaming in Christchurch New Zealand who create game apps for both the Android and OS platforms. Their game Hyper Crimson can be found in the Google Play Store.
To be honest with its simplistic design that is very much the trend that is associated with The Bob Lazar Story discography (has you can see in the picture above) I thought that Matt Deacon had done the artwork himself. Though there is a lot more detail in the odd shaped red chilli pepper and it does pop out a bit more at you. All the other album covers are more 2D and flat in comparison apart from the EP The Silence of Perez de Cuellar which does project at you a bit more. Apparently, the chilli pepper on the front of Vanquisher is that shape for a reason and that will only be revealed on the next release.
The Album In Review…
Vanquisher by The Bob Lazer Story was released on the 9th August 2019. The album contains 16 tracks to which 15 of them are all instrumental and the only other track that is not, is a bit of ZANY! fun. The ZANY! and the instrumental side of things have always been a feature of this particular project and musically it can be a bit ZAPPA ESC! and that’s what really ROCKS! my boat about this project too. Deacon describes his music being ProgMathsyFusion and basically that’s down to the fact that the keyboards are programmed with a mouse on a computer and predominately he is a guitarist.
Like many of the albums and EP’s in The Bob Lazar Story discography they do tend to come with a lot of shorter tracks in relation to those over a longer length. The previous 10 track album Baritonia was the first release to feature the most lengthiest tracks, though the longest track in the entire discography can be found on the Self-Loathing Joe EP released back in 2015 and is entitled “Ezekiel II” to which is 8 minutes, 59 seconds. In general, most tracks can be anywhere from a few seconds up to around 3 minutes but what I like is how Deacon can manage to cram in a lot over a much shorter distance and that is very hard to do. Though I would like to see an “Ezekiel III” or even an “Ezekiel I” one day and that was such a GREAT! track.
The album Vanquisher comes with an overall playing time of 39 minutes, 41 seconds making it the longest album in the entire discography and it knocked the 2nd album Space Roots off its perch by just over a minute. I myself am all for the 30 to 40-minute album time slot simply because you can get to play more albums over that time slot in a day. I also always tend to play the older albums of artists in particular when they have just released a new album, and I had no problem playing all 7 releases of the The Bob Lazar Story twice over the other day. That’s something you could never do with many artists albums these days because they do tend to make them too long, especially bands like The Flower Kings who more or less give you a double album worth of material with every release.
The music is credited to both Deacon and Jago and it’s a combination that works really well and has been part of the process for some time now. They both originally met at a Music College in Liverpool, England in 1993 and played a few gigs together back then too. Over the years they both went their separate ways and left England Deacon moving to New Zealand and Jago to America and via Faceback in 2009 they caught up with one another again. Jago can be very busy with the much of the session work, musicals and live gigs he plays in with many different artists. He was even on tour with the singer songwriter Neil Diamond though due to Diamond’s illness that has come to an end more recently.
Basically, Deacon writes the music out and uses Logic to program the drums, he then sends the music over to Jago with and without the drums so he can get to work on it at his studios. Jago throws much of his thing into it and when it comes back to Deacon he will work on some further changes from Jago’s ideas with the drums which is why Jago is also credited to the writing. This short video shows you him working on one of the tracks in his own studios in Los Angeles.
This video and a few others were put out as teasers over the few months before the albums release on The Bob Lazar Story Facebook page. Chris Jago not only is an excellent drummer but he also teaches students and helps produce other bands in his own studios and has gone from playing gigs in pubs all the way to the to making it on the Broadway in New York and has played for many well-known artists and created a very successful career in music for himself.
This video of Chris Jago being interviewed by Dom Famularo in the Sessions Series last year gives you more of an insight into this man’s incredible journey throughout his successful career and is well worth watching. I enjoy this video series a lot on YouTube and have seen many really GREAT! musicians on it and Jago is very much one of them too. He really is the driving force behind The Bob Lazar Story and I guess the music that Matt Deacon presents to him does present him with a challenge and is why he likes being part of it. No doubt you have to be quite a skilful musician and would have had to put in all the hours learning your instrument to play the music that Deacon is presenting here, so now let’s take a look at the musicians and credits.
Musicians & Credits…
All songs written by Matt Deacon & Chris Jago. Mixed by Matt Deacon in A-Town. Drums recorded and mixed at Shabby Road Studios, Los Angeles by Chris Jago. Mastering by David Elliott. Cover Art by Roger Heal @WWGAMINGNZ. Design & layout by Brian Mitchell. Distributed by Bad Elephant Records.
Matt Deacon: Guitars/Mouse/Vocals.
Chris Jago: Drums/Screaming.
Mike Fudakowski (DM): Bass (Tracks 1,2,7,13,14).
Jacob Petrossian: Lead Guitar (Track 7)
Zeke Deacon: Vocals (Track 10).
The Album Tracks In Review…
The latest album Vanquisher in many ways tones itself down a bit more in particular in the electric guitar department and allows the space for for more keyboard work and even the acoustic guitar to put in more of an appearance sort of thing. I am not saying the electric guitar is completely missing and it still is utilised with its driving force. If anything, it’s been toned down in the lead department so it’s not going to bite your head off as much. The other thing I have noticed especially in relation to the previous album Baritonia, is that even though there are 16 tracks on the album it does not seem like a couple of minutes before your up to track 7 already on the album.
But everything of how the album Vanquisher flows and runs along still very much presents itself to you with all the exciting experience and enjoyment you can get out of an album like this. You still get all the odd complex time signature changes, plus all the diversity with the transitional changes that can go in other directions with the music, even over the shorter distance with how many of the tracks are so short. It’s this kind of sophistication that I have always loved about the music The Bob Lazar Story presents to you. In some ways it’s perhaps like being in a taxi going along many routes to get you to your destination, only the driver has got you there a lot quicker than most.
As I mentioned earlier in the introduction it is GREAT! to see Mike Fudakowski a.k.a Fud back and he is without doubt another very talented musician and such a GREAT! bass guitarist. With Deacon being busier over the past few years with his postman job and Fud doing other things was why he was absent on the last two releases. But he’s back now and he plays on 5 of the new tracks on the album.
This video shows you his skills on the instrument and here he is playing along to “Cogs in Cogs“. which is one of my favourite tracks from Gentle Giant’s 1974 album The Power and the Glory. I have to say he’s done a top job playing along to it as well.
The album also features a guest appearance for guitarist Jacob Petrossian who contributes a bit of lead guitar to one of the tracks. Petrossian was born in New Zealand though I think he resides in Melbourne Australia these days, to be honest I have never heard of him before but he was the founder of Christchurch metal band Awakened Inferno, co-founder of Australasian metal project Auraic. I snatched this short tasty video he did a couple of years ago from his YouTube channel of him doing a very tasty job of a solo to Dream Theater’s “Another Day“.
Matt Deacon’s son Zeke also once again contributes some vocals and apart from making all the music for this lot and himself to play along too, the only thing video wise that he’s been doing is eating chillies and it was too HOT! to post here in my review :)))))). So, without further ado let’s get back to the album Vanquisher to see how it has turned out as I take you through its tracks.
Track 1. Pongville.
The thing I like a lot about the music The Bob Lazar Story presents to you is that it can be very adventurous and even a 50 second piece of music like this can say such a lot with how it rolls and motors its way along dramatically. In my reviews in the past of this project I’ve often mentioned how the keyboards in particular that Matt Deacon programs do sound midi-fide especially on the older albums they can very much sound like the 8-bit sort of sounds you would find in old games.
Much of the music presented by The Bob Lazar Story as quite often had me visualising the music being suited to cartoon animation and games such as Grand Theft Auto for example. Some of the music has even had me thinking back to the days of the Tufty the squirrel road safety adds you got on the TV donkeys years ago. Even though the keyboards do sound more like the real thing and more realistic over the past few years, they still today can give me that same association with those sorts of things. To show you precisely what I mean I made a quick video out of 3 free stock video clips to run along to the 50 second piece of music we have here.
Deacon chose the name “Pongville” for the piece which is a reference to a rule in a game of cards he plays every week with some of his mates, he also chose to use the Stinky title in hope that some of his mates would buy the album when it got released. I myself chose the title of “Pongville Somewhere In Pleasantville” for the title of my video simply because the music does have a pleasing and pleasant aspect about it.
The way the music kicks in at the start with Jago’s drums and how quickly the pace is moving along gives you the impression of rushing and driving along to get to work, you can see how busy this opening is with the keys Deacon has programmed and how they are running along and how Fudakowski is working the bass into the piece. All of this takes a mere 14 seconds and when the end of the rush hour is over it makes way for the more free caring relaxed side of things in the day were other people are going about their lives with more of a lazy step or even half step with how the timing moves along at its slower pace, it also almost grinding down to an halt.
All of this gets very well portrayed with how the music presents itself to you, and this more care free relaxed style once again features all 3 musicians doing the business weaving in and out some magic with the drums, bass & guitar lines plus the keys. Then at the 43 second mark it brings in the last piece for the final 7 seconds where it changes its mood and quickens up a bit more to bring to you the conclusion of how so well it’s built up to this final climax. It’s as if it’s unfolding the mysterious object, I put at the end of the video with dramatics here and ends off in style quite an adventurous story. It’s also like it’s telling you a story.
A piece like “Pongville” may only be 50 seconds long but it’s certainly got plenty to say over that short distance. You might be impressed by how well Jacob Petrossian flew across his guitar on Dream Theater’s “Another Day” on that short video clip I posted of him. But I am just as well impressed by Matt Deacon’s guitar lines that are so well executed and blended in with this particular piece. The guitar work is DELICIOUS! and so too is the work by Chris Jago and Mike Fudakowski and they have all done a super job here. This is very much the same fusion you will hear with the likes of Brand X, Frank Zappa, Gentle Giant and many others and is all so skilfully and smoothly done.
With all that’s been put into the the 50 seconds here it’s a damn site more than most songs would have going in them over 5 minutes. You really have to give a piece like this more spins to appreciate and get to hear everything that has been thrown into it. It’s that bloody good that is has to be one of the contenders for the TOP SPOT! on the album.
Track 2. Eleven.
Well by the looks of the title we have here it could look like it jumped the queue so to speak but it was actually inspired from two things. The first being that Deacon cannot stand the series entitled Stranger Things. I have to confess I had to look it up simply because these are the type of series that are found on places like Netflix I never watch myself. I see this particular series in question has a character in it who happens to be called Eleven. The fact the piece is also played in 11/4 was the other reason he arrived at the title here.
You get an extra 1 minute, 5 seconds in relation to the first track on the album and the opening 33 seconds consist of Jago’s drums and Fudakowski’s bass building up the intro and the bass does provide the basis of the main theme whilst the drums keep it in the groove sort of thing. Then the keyboards come in and more of a melodic structure around the existing bass line helps give the piece more of a theme.
To be honest there is far less going on in this piece than the opening track on the album and it does more or less run along in a straight line, it is nicely built up though with the keys and the short stop break in the middle helps, so does the acoustic guitar which nicely ends it all off on the end. Overall, it’s a very cool thematic piece and works well on the album even placed at number 2 on the album and not 11.
Track 3. Eyes Only/Vanquisher.
Next up we have a 2-part piece done over 2 minutes precisely though I pretty sure the first part “Eyes Only” is only a short 13 second melodic intro that leads us into the albums title track “Vanquisher” which is meant to be seen as the battle. To be perfectly honest I had no idea what a “Vanquisher” was or what the word related too and very much had to look it up. The word pertains to a conqueror or a victor who is a person who goes into battle, the sort of person Alexander the Great was when he conquered Greece, Egypt and Persia way back in historical times.
A Bony Chap
Over the years the vanquisher has been portrayed in many mythical stories in comic books and films and seen as some kind of hero. It’s even been portrayed like this bony looking chap I have pictured above who is known as a Frostbrood Vanquisher. Come to think of it, the name is also associated with a brand of goggles you would use for swimming. I am sure there are many pictures I could of chose to portray the “Vanquisher” that fits to the title we have here including battling heroics brandishing swords and all sorts, and this particular picture I chose does not fit to how I see how the music presents itself to me either.
To be honest I have no idea what sort of vanquisher Deacon was trying to portray here with the music, but for my ears what we have here is another superb piece of work that has plenty going on it. I think the closest I could describe the music here is that it sounds like we have all the fun of the fair going on some magic circus ride with a juggler battling it out on a chessboard. If I could have got hold of a picture like that, I would use it instead of the bony chap we have here :))))).
The whole piece easily works as one piece and goes through a plethora of transitional changes and time signature changes along its path. There is probably more going on with all the twists and turns you get over its 2 minutes here than what you would get in the full 95-minute Vanquisher movie starring Sophita Sriban, Nui Ketsarin. This is without doubt a MAGICAL RIDE! and both Deacon & Jago have worked their BUTT! off on it and it has to be a very strong contender for the TOP SPOT! on the album.
Track 4. Section 8.
Another short piece under the 2 minute mark and just like the opening track on the album this track is more of what you would expect from The Bob Lazar Story and this one is constructed with more of a familiar territory than the opening track with how it’s built up with longer melodic themes that it runs into. Unlike the opening track that is perhaps has more of a pattern play worked into its structure. Though I can easily visualize the same association of how it would fit to cartoon animation and games just as I can with most of the material in the discography of The Bob Lazar Story. It also has that mystical or mysterious way of portraying a space adventure story to you as well with the use of the keyboards and other melodic themes.
The piece kicks off with the drums rustling up the feathers so to speak and drives its force along with both the drums and heavy distorted guitar for all of 10 seconds. The keyboards work their way in the piece like solo spasms where everything else drops out at times allowing them to carve out fine melodic vibes that can reoccur in certain sections throughout the piece. The drums kick back in in several sections with the bass, guitars and keys all working their way in with them. In some parts the electric guitar is even replicating and working a saxophone into it all and there are some lovely acoustic guitar little sections that add melodically all too it.
It’s like building themes upon themes and that has always been a consistent part of this project and this particular piece is more familiar with the material you will find on all 3 EP’s The Silence of Perez de Cuellar. Ghost Of Foodstool and Self-Loathing Joe. I think because the last album Baritonia did try and go down other roads in some respects is why that album took me much longer to get into it. There is a certain magic that weaves its ways along so beautifully in pieces like this, it has the power to be raunchy, powerful, soft and very aesthetically pleasing at the same time. That is what has always appealed to me about this music and why it speaks a lot to me. There is a lot more going on here than meets the eye sort of thing and it’s fused JAZZICAL! combination is purely a sophisticated TREAT! and this is another high contender for the albums TOP SPOT!
Track 5. Project Top Secret.
The title of this next track could very well of inspired me to play practical joke and leave this space blank for it :))))). But of course I could never do that when music has something to say to me, and speaking of how much the music does have to say you would think that with this particular track being twice as long (even more so in some cases) would have a lot more for me to speak about. Well that’s never gonna be the case and every piece of music can present you with something that is either interesting or less interesting in parts and this 4 minute piece may be longer but that’s not to say it has any more put into to it to make it was it is.
Quite often longer pieces can have things in them to stretch it out a bit more, and in relation to many of the shorter tracks that came before this one they certainly did give me more to talk about. Just the opening 50 second track “Pongville” alone gave me plenty to talk about simply because there was more going on in it.
The interesting parts about this particular track can be found within the first 1 minute and 55 seconds of it. For example, the melody line Deacon is playing on the intro with his acoustic guitar does sound like that he has reworked the melody line around the same melody he used his electric guitar to replicate the saxophone on the previous track. I like how it also builds itself up slowly at first and meanders its way along with the drums. Even Deacon’s job on the bass works well along this opening section too with the keys.
Then at the 1:09 mark we get the most interesting part and this does remind me a bit of music that the medieval prog rock band Gryphon did for their magical instrumental album Red Queen To Gryphon Three back in 1974. Then at the 1:55 mark we get this drone that stretches out the track a bit to make way for the more rocked out section. This is perhaps where music does not really go anywhere else and is why it’s less interesting in relation to how it all so well started off. I am not saying it’s a bad track by any means, but for me personally I felt all the magic was contained in that first 1 minute, 55 seconds.
Track 6. Arps.
Too short to be a Gap Filler and at 6 seconds it’s perhaps too short to even be considered as an album track :))). It could be seen as running along into a little break through and at the end of the day it was just a fun little experiment that was effective enough to be included.
Track 7. Ambient Pedals.
Matt Fudakowski makes his 3rd appearance on the album and this is more of a rocked-out track where both the guitar and bass are more or less just pounding out the heavy power chords. Effectively this is more like a track to give to the drummer to beat the shit out of and Chris Jago does that very well on it too. I think the thing that puzzles me the most is the title that was given to the piece. If there were any ambient pedals used on this track, they were either flat or totally dead :)))))). maybe they forgot to put the batteries in the damn things :)))))).
I think the only bit of ambience you do get in the piece was at the beginning with the mellotron and it was that and the drums that I personally found were more of the focal point of interest on this track. It does also feature Jacob Petrossian on lead guitar though the poor chap is hardly getting a look in on a track like this and it’s a shame really because he is a very good guitarist. It’s far from an annoying track and I can easily go along with the flow here, though once again it’s not really saying a lot in relation to many of the other tracks on the album.
Track 8. Randoloftentimes.
Another little ditty that features Deacon alone having a blast on his electric guitar for all of 19 seconds. It’s perhaps more of a common associated thing you always get with this project of his and another little break before the album continues to run along with more of the proper album tracks.
Track 9. Is This Foodstool?.
Well the title begs the question and the answer no doubt is YES! it is. Like I mentioned earlier Deacon’s Foodstool has featured on every release in The Bob Lazar Story discography and on this album, it’s getting a much bigger outing and is the longest track on the album weighing in at 6 minutes, 36 seconds. Over the 7 adventures (including this one) only once did the Foodstool get abused and that was when it landed in Germany back in 2012 on the album Space Roots where it appeared as nothing more than a little ditty just like the previous track. Only it got the organ treatment and was severely upset by the 24 second torture it had bestowed upon it. It was also the one and only time that the acoustic guitar never played a role in giving it the right vitamins to sustain it on its many journeys.
But of course, the acoustic guitar was not the only ingredient that made many of its adventures so adventurous and even though that may have been the only ingredient it got on its last outing on the album Baritonia it certainly got to go down more roads and avenues on other outings. It does on this outing for its first couple of minutes too and in many ways, this could be seen like some of the other lengthy tracks such as the 5th track on this album “Project Top Secret” for example which could be seen as a game of two halves. It’s not too unusual to see the second half being brought in or introduced with a drone either, and some work well for it whilst others could have been done a bit better by applying a bit more thought into the process of it all.
I have to confess that upon the first few listens of this particular track just like “Project Top Secret” it was only really the first half that was speaking to me the most. Though after more spins you can see how this track works quite well for its second half on the acoustic guitar. I think many who are not prepared to give this track more spins will write it off and miss out on the lovely flow and feel you get here with how it all ends off.
I think I should also point out that many of the lengthy tracks in The Bob Lazar Story project could be anything over 2 minutes because it’s those shorter tracks that certainly have a lot going on in them that make them work so well and stand out. It’s like I stated earlier on it’s a very hard thing to do and quite often there is more progression and changes in these smaller tracks than what you will find even in 20 to 30-minute prog rock epics.
I’m not saying that Matt Deacon is not able to sustain the excitement of his music over more time and make them just as interesting over a longer distance, because he certainly has done in the past and there is a track later on I will get to eventually where he does manage to do it superbly. But quite often he will go down the game of two halves with his approach that are over a longer distance and even tracks like “Ghost Of Foodstool” and “Ezekiel II” were very much constructed with that same approach. Only on both of those tracks it was his other half Tanya Didham who added another element to them and kept them interesting in the second half by adding words and a voice. Also not forgetting the voice of David Biedny on the first of those tracks as well.
Effectively that is why those older tracks worked so well and were easier to grab hold of you than this track will at first and will take further listens. I would also say that both of those older tracks are pretty much firm favourites of mine as well and they did merit the TOP SPOT AWARD! on the EP’s they came from too. But I would very much say that “Is This Foodstool?” is a contender for this albums TOP SPOT! and it’s another GREAT! album track.
Track 10. Tony.
A good bit of fun and a very convincing little comedy sketch put across by Matt and his son Zeke. Tony is more than likely still in the woods somewhere in Baritonia;))))). To be honest as daft as a comedy sketch like this might sound being stuck on an album like this, I think the acting skills here are entirely convincing and it’s been very well recorded and captured very well with the recording. I would even go as far as to say the acting performance was worthy of an AWARD. Though not the album TOP SPOT! award and I will leave that to those at the Academy Awards at the Oscars to judge :))))).
Track 11. Restroom.
Another little ditty and I suppose after all the laughter you got from the previous sketch you might need to relieve yourself by paying a visit to the rest room. Though you might have to juggle your way to get the toilet to take a leak judging by the fanfare the two of them are rolling out here.
Track 12. Goodbye Victor Tripaldi.
There is no doubt many of the titles for the tracks in The Bob Lazar Story project can have some weird yet interesting titles and it often amazes me how Matt Deacon arrived at them in the first place. Though I have seen him at times on his Facebook page touting around for strange titles and many of them do come from suggestions of those who participate. However, the way he arrived at this title is quite a fascinating story and it came about when he happened to notice that one of the admins of the Progressive Rock Fanatics group on Facebook was being abused by one its members who happened to have the name of Victor Tripaldi. Because of all the abuse the admin banned him from the group and Matt just happened to leave a comment saying “Goodbye Victor Tripaldi” and suggested it would be a good name for a band. His comment got over 20 likes hence the reason why the title wound up here.
“Goodbye Victor Tripaldi” very much has all the right twists and turns you would expect from The Bob Lazar Story and there is some GREAT! acoustic and electric guitar work from Deacon particularly in the first section and the keyboards he’s programmed also do the BIZZO! Fudakowski is back on bass once again doing a GRAND! job along with Jago on the drums and all 3 are working their magic into the piece. Even though this piece is only 2 and half minutes long it still is a bit like a game of two halves and also has that familiar drone to bring in the second part. Much of the last part is also where they bring down the excitement of the magical ride on the fairground, though the fairground organ does make a comeback as they build it all back up for the climax ending and you can hear Chris Jago’s appreciation right at the end with his one of his screaming YELPS!. It’s another contender for the albums TOP SPOT! for me and this is a ride you would not want to jump off in a hurry.
Track 13. Hooves & Broken Biscuits.
As I mentioned earlier in my review of “Is This Foodstool?” regarding how Deacon can sustain the excitement of his music over more time and can make them just as interesting over a longer distance, and this is a track where he does so MAJESTICALLY! This 4.5-minute piece of work is very much my personal favourite track on the album and merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!
The title was chosen by Deacon’s pal KD (stan) Baxter who also came up with the title of “In The Woods With Tony Iommi” for the last album. Though I do think it’s a really good title, I personally do not see it bearing any resemblance to the music we have here, and if anything, the music certainly has more of a seafaring feel about it and is more like travelling on a voyage across the sea. This is the final track on the album Fudakowski plays on and all 3 of them are really progging it out over some very fine cross-styles, it really is a masterful piece of work.
The piece starts off with a choral mellotron which is quite majestic and runs into much of what you would expect with how it meanders itself along for the first 1.5 minutes. it does also remind me a bit of “Ezekiel II” from the Self-Loathing Joe EP here too and in many ways, I wish this piece went on as long as that 9-minute epic too, and it could of also of been an “Ezekiel I” or “Ezekiel III” as well.
Then we get this section between the 1:25 – 2:02 mark that puts me in mind of the sea and does have a Gryphon feel about it. Even Chris Jago’s screams remind me of Brian Gulland from that band. The next section that runs between 2:02 – 3:34 very much puts me in mind of the band Focus and this is really GORGEOUS! stuff the guys are playing so well here. To top it all off they go and raise the notch and deliver a KICK-ASS! ending and boy can these guys play or WHAT! I should COCO! and this track is PURE BLISS!
Track 14. Two For The Rest.
A lovely melodic piece to bring the tempo down from its boiling point to simmer along and cook on a slow heat. This track features some lovely slide guitar and subtle guitar lines from Deacon and it’s a bit like being away on a holiday island soaking up the sun and relaxing a bit over the first 2 minutes and 20 seconds. As it fades down nicely with the vibes of the electric piano it introduces itself again by fading in with an acoustic piano and changes its mood to more of military pace with Jago’s drums switching from a smoother more subtle pace to more of a roll. The guitar introduces another fine melody to drive it home and they both do another excellent job of it.
The title comes from an oft repeated phrase at the at the shipping port where he works as a cargo handler and if the ship has finished loading, they sometimes opt to keep two guys on the wharf and send the others home. It’s another fine piece and one I really cannot leave out as being a contender for the albums TOP SPOT!
Track 15. Operation Full Klinger.
The title refers to an operation plan that Deacon had dubbed the name with; he also told his old work mates of his plan at the time which was a plan he devised so he could get his redundancy from his old job to which the extra-long hours were driving him mad. So, he pretended to go crazy and it paid off for him in the end. It’s the second longest track on the album weighing it at 5 minutes, 31 seconds though 2 minutes and 3 seconds of it are given to what sounds like a whirling flying sorcerer out of control. It also disappears so that you do not get to hear where it crash landed :))))).
The opening 35 seconds of the piece present you with the familiar music you would expect from The Bob Lazar Story and its sort of like you are hustling and bustling along your way through your daily routine. It’s a bit like going along the street feeling happy as Larry sort of thing. Then the following 15 seconds you get this mad rush as if you’ve just spotted something out of the ordinary that makes you want to run for your life away from it, and it’s at the 50 second mark that the out of control flying sorcerer makes it entrance and that sequence runs along up to the 2:53 mark.
In many ways the whirling twirling drone could be seen as overkill considering it goes on for 2 minutes and 3 seconds of the track. But what comes after it really makes up for it all and is enough to not let it annoy you enough and get on your TITS! so to speak. It’s precisely at the 2:54 mark that the music comes back into play and the section that runs from that mark up to the 4:37 mark does have a soft jazz like Focus feel about it, but it also reminds me of “Outside Now” from Act II of Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage especially with the way the guitar chords blend in subtly with the vibes from the keys and the way Jago’s drums have that slight echoing ambient sound of his sticks hitting the drums. The final 54 seconds feature a flying 2 counterpart synth solo and as it comes down it all fizzles away the ending off with a solo clavinet. it’s another really GREAT! track.
Track 16. Elvensnip.
Deacon winds up the last track on the album on the acoustic guitar and plays a nice little ditty over 2 counterparts. By the sounds of things, I think by now he’s put batteries in his ambient pedal and got it to work :))))). It echoes its way out very well indeed and puts the album to bed in fine style.
To sum up the latest album Vanquisher by The Bob Lazar Story I would certainly say that I got everything I expected to get and more besides. Sometimes quality comes in smaller sizes and even though many of the tracks on many of the albums and EP’s of this project can be very short, they can still present with you more twists and turns than a cheap garden hose, an handlebar moustache, twisted candy, a classic thriller and aunty mabels knickers rung out with her bare hands rather than a mangle. The music speaks for itself and so do the skilled musicians behind it all.
I think with any album you have to take the rough with the smooth and not every track can be like a bed of roses, it’s also very rare many artists will make a solid album and those are more of the minority in most cases. I also think that no album can be thoroughly analysed and judged by giving them one or two spins either. Many of the rough edges will take much longer to iron themselves out, and if you can give them more of your time you will eventually grow into it and get to appreciate it much more clearly for what it is. The other good thing about all the music in discography of The Bob Lazar Story is that it’s relatively short. So, it should not present anybody from giving an album like this more spins.
Throughout my review here I have thoroughly analysed every track on the album by giving it my uttermost attention and giving the album many spins. I have pinpointed out all the good and the bad points on every track with how they honestly spoke to me. I can see room for improvement on some of the tracks for sure just as well as I can see improvement on the tracks of many other artists albums. I have always used objective criticism in my reviews in a way to try and get the best from the artists next release.
I would even like to think that it was my review of the last album Baritonia with how I felt that it was missing Mike Fudakowski that persuaded Deacon to get back in touch with him and bring him back for this release. But at the end of the day it is up the the artist themselves regarding if they take it into account objective or even subjective criticism in or not. After all any artist should really have the belief in their own music at the end of the day and that is what should matter the most, and my own views are that of one person alone and not how the music will speak to everyone else on that score.
The music behind The Bob Lazar Story is very sophisticated and complex and in many ways Matt Deacon is very lucky to have the likes of both Chris Jago and Mike Fudakowski at hand to call upon. You need musicians of this calibre to even make studio albums like this and they are both highly skilled musicians just as much as he is himself. The album Vanquisher packs in plenty for the buck and my personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Hooves & Broken Biscuits“. “Section 8“. “Eyes Only / Vanquisher“. “Is This Foodstool?“. “Goodbye Victor Tripaldi“. “Two For The Rest” and “Pongville“.
To conclude my review of Vanquisher by The Bob Lazar Story. I personally think the album is not a solid album but one that has plenty of strength with the biggest majority of the material that was written for it. It’s not an album that will suit everyone’s taste in particular with genre the music sits in, and for none musicians who are into more widely commercial popular music they will never see the sophistication of what it takes to make music at this level. But for those who are into prog rock and jazz fusion and are into the likes of Frank Zappa, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Brand X, Gryphon and many more. I personally cannot see why the music of The Bob Lazar Story will not appeal to your taste.
The music does speak for itself and can say a hell of a lot even over a 50 second piece of music. The music may fit in with all those I mentioned above but it’s also highly original material done in very much the way they present it to you with their own style. This what makes The Bob Lazar Story unique and stand out. It’s why I am very much a fan of this music and I can honestly say that I get a lot of pleasure out of it and why I am always coming back for more.
The Bob Lazar Story has pretty much been consistent with every album and EP in their discography and it does have something I can take and get a lot out of. Albums do not need to be solid and are still capable of giving you plenty in the way of a return of what they cost to buy. and there is plenty of value and satisfaction for the buck I can take from the album Vanquisher. It is without doubt another truly GREAT! album and one I highly recommend you get your hands on.
You can listen to the album for free or even purchase the album in both Digital & Physical formats on Bandcamp here: https://theboblazarstory.bandcamp.com/album/vanquisher
Tony’s Come In Many Human & Alien Lifeforms And Can Easily Be Mistaken…
The album track listing is as follows:
01. Pongville. 0:50.
02. Eleven. 1:55.
03. Eyes Only/Vanquisher. 2:00.
04. Section 8. 1:52.
05. Project Top Secret. 4:00.
06. Arps. 0:06.
07. Ambient Pedals. 3:05.
08. Randoloftentimes. 0:19.
09. Is This Foodstool?. 6:36.
10. Tony!. 0:19.
11. Restroom. 0:44.
12. Goodbye Victor Tripaldi. 2:30.
13. Hooves & Broken Biscuits. 4:32.
14. Two For The Rest. 3:49.
15. Operation Full Klinger. 5:31.
16. Elvensnip. 1:33.