Wastelander - Wardrive
Planet Metal
Blackened Thrash Metal/Crust Punk
11 songs (36'30")
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Alex

We certainly hope it does not come to that, but the wars of the future between developed industrialized nations could be catastrophic for the mankind and the environment those remaining after the holocaust will inherit. Those lucky (or is it unlucky?), who will survive could be contained to relatively less contaminated areas, living in bunkers, in accordance with jungle laws. Mad Max movies, anybody? According to my Lansing, MI neighbors to the north, Wastelander, those areas do exist in the Wolverine State already, even before the nuclear war hit. Those of us who had pleasure traveling through Flint can certainly attest to the truth. So, given this acrid unpleasant backdrop, and given the need to expel metal music pent up within, the duo of Matt War (bass/vocals) and Xaphan (guitars, vocals) joined forces in Wastelander, to show a strongly extended middle finger to all those who think USBM is only about one-man bedroom fuzzy schizoid melancholy.

Having brought drummer Pit Viper on board to man the drum chair, Wastelander built on the strength of its eponymous demo which already made splashes in the local underground scene. Wardrive is what can be unabashedly called war metal, a mixture of blackened thrash, rock’n’roll and hardcore crust punk. Can you handle it? If yes, read on. If you take Darkthrone primitive riffs, combine them with Motorhead straightforward song structures and heap an unbelievable amount of in-your-face attitude, this would begin to remotely describe the annihilation Wardrive delivers. The guitars in Wastelander are stretched through the buzzsaw, totally fuzzy, rattling and quivering. Bass, entirely audible, often assumes almost a lead role, Matt War demonstrating nimbleness peeking from behind layers of crust and grime (Knee Deep in the Dead, Baptized in Ashes). Touching off both punk and black metal basis, the vocals are mostly shouted, interrupted with an occasional demented shriek.

The brutality, duly supported by the lyrical subject matter, should not be, however, confused with the lack of skill. Only in the case of Wastelander, it is not the skill which drives the songs, but the raw emotions needing the release are being supported by the surprising sensical moments. Wastelander solos (title track) are tight and to the point, but even more importantly, amidst all of this wastelaying chaos, the band finds the way to write catchy tunes (the end of Days of Hell, Knee Deep in the Dead, Wastelander), almost gurgling out hooks and melody despite the overwhelming need of being nasty. Thrown in samples also fit well, but the closing melodic outburst of Frost Storm, depicting exactly how the nuclear fallout is going to feel, is totally unexpected.

Superchrist and Bestial Mockery are my closest references, and even though this style are not my most often consumed cup of tea, I can’t help but to complement the Wastelander team on a quality roaring pungent ripper of an album. The Wardrive concoction goes down even better if you are feeling smashingly angry and/or fueled by consumption of a couple of too many Long Island tea cocktails.

Killing Songs :
Knee Deep in the Dead, Frost Storm, Wastelander
Alex quoted 76 / 100
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