CD, D-Trash Recrods, 2005
Hailing from Talinn, Estonia, Evestus began work as a solo electronic music project around 2004. “Destiny in Life”, his self-released hardcore-industrial debut album was later re-released by the Canadian label D-Trash Records and, in 2006 Evestus released his second full-length recording, “Wastelands”, an album which draws inspiration from the universe of the “Fallout” computer game series. Coming from D-Trash records and judging from the cover I was expecting something along the lines of a no holds barred post-apocalyptic digital hardcore/industrial assault. To my surprise, what I found is more adequately described as an excellent and engaging, sample-heavy soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic road movie with plenty of 50’s ‘Atomic Age’ retro feel and the occasional “Mad Max” references thrown in (a track titled “Thunderdome” should be pretty obvious). “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and all that…
Narrative pieces from “Fallout”, two tracks, “Intro – Leaving The Vault” and “Visions Of Before”, provide setting and context for the album. Placed at the beginning and end of “Wastelands”, they divide the album into roughly two halves. The first half seems to focus on bits and pieces of a hypothetical main character, while the second half functions more like a world description. “Cat’s Paw” provides an epilogue of sorts, while an untitled last track aims at providing some perspective at the past and present of US politics.
Most, if not all tracks, consist of musical constructs arranged around samples which form the core of the “Wastelands” experience. Musically, the album is anything but easy to describe, considering the variety of musical styles that is present in it, as Evestus seems to be quite at ease working with a variety of music styles, whether composing or sampling them, from jazz to industrial and breakbeats to hardcore. Testament to his sampling and musical skills is that “Wastelands”, both as isolated tracks and as a whole, functions extremely well and each half flows almost without a glitch, the album being a textbook example of accomplished musicianship and tasteful sampling skills.
Eclectic and full of ear-catching twists and turns, “Wastelands” is a case in which no single track can be considered as being representative of the album but there are stand out tracks. “Reflection” is a particularly memorable one, starting from the catchy cello and rhythm work and culminating with the clever use of sampled Travis Bicker lines. The jazzy “Health Guide”, while seemingly playful on the surface, becomes deadly serious when one listens to the commercial’s words more attentively. In the second half, the “Navarro”-“Fallout”-“Vault Tec” is particularly effective, from an almost ambient start to a composition revolving about the dangers of radioactive fallout, culminating in an almost epic track with pounding beats and intense guitars. For those wanting a dose of digital hardcore, “Jetflight Part II – Bad Trip” is the track to look out for, merging contrasting elements into a chaotic but highly coherent whole.
Skilfully composed and performed, “Wastelands” is an evocative album that defies simple categorization and is sure to appeal to a wide audience, despite (or perhaps because) of the large amount of musical elements and influences which are successfully merged in Evestus’ compositions. It is a must for anyone interested in good music and confirms Evestus as a musician to be on the lookout for in the future.
— Miguel de Sousa