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Wastelander - "Wardrive" (CD)

Wastelander - "Wardrive" CD cover image

"Wardrive" track listing:

1. Intro
2. Wardrive
3. Days Of Hell
4. Desert Law
5. Mindsweeper
6. Knee Deep In The Dead
7. Baptized In Ashes
8. Frost Storm
9. Final Combat
10. Wastelander

Reviewed by on April 14, 2009

"War's vocals are as good as they need to be for an album like this — and, thankfully, not a bit better! "

Wastelander's "Wardrive" is big, dumb, loud metal at its very best — and I mean that as a compliment. Oh, sure, the songs are nominally all about death, destruction and the end of life as we know it, but you can tell from the opening blast of the title track that these songs were written by guys with smiles on their faces. Guitarist Xaphan starts things out with a Motorhead-style riff before Matt War's bass line rumbles to life like a tank being started up.

Promo materials say the band was "inspired by the blackest heavy metal and the rawest hardcore and punk." I'd say the punk side won out for the most part here, though Xaphan's solos definitely display the intricacy of metal. His hiccuppy solos in "Wardrive" and "Days Of Hell" are highlights of the album.

Matt War's bass is prevalent in the mix in ways that are quite reminiscent of Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister, though his playing is a little more basic. Still, it's good to hear the bass rocking up front for a change.

Drummer Pit Viper's playing is adequate, though he really only shines on "Mindsweeper," which features plenty of fills to keep him busy.

Lyrically, the album's got a certain dopey charm, like when War sings: "Armageddon at last is here, break out the guns and beer, as we drink to man's demise." War's vocals are as good as they need to be for an album like this — and, thankfully, not a bit better! The same applies to the production, which is just barely adequate.

Though I wouldn't say the quality drops off much, there is a sense of sameness that permeates the entire album. You just won't tire of it until about the last third or so. Still, you've got to admire a band that sounds like it had so much fun recording songs about bummers like ice storms, burning cities and the end of civilization.

Punk rock fans with a taste for metal, and vice versa, will get a kick out of Wastelander's "Wardrive."

Highs: Matt War's rumbling bass line on "Wardrive;" Xaphan's excellent guitar solos.

Lows: Quite a bit of repetitiveness in both subject matter and sound.

Bottom line: Despite lagging a bit at the end, "Wardrive" is mostly big, dumb, fun punk/metal at its finest.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)