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W.A.S.T.E. – A Silent Mantra of Rage

W.A.S.T.E. - A Silent Mantra of Rage

2CD, Vendetta Music, 2009

Silent, huh? You have to laugh at the irony of the title, really. Those of you, like me, who were all-too-aware of their debut album and subsequent EP will know full well that silent is about as far from this artist’s modus operandi than it’s possible to be. The first album was a utter brute of an album, an hour or more of pure hate and fury condensed into the musical form of extremely heavy rhythmic industrial noise, that to put it mildly was all-too-much for many, my girlfriend included. In some respects it was almost the successor and perhaps natural progression, at last, to Scott Sturgis’ work as Converter.
And with this (delayed) second album, things have been taken a little further. But the spectre of Sturgis still remains, particularly in the opener “War Never Changes”. Metallic, hulking beats emerge from a firestorm of static to create the perfect soundtrack to punching holes in the dancefloor. The hate and fury hasn’t gone very far, either. There is a startling, clinical feel to much of the material here, like the atmosphere is being cut through with a (very sharp) blade of surgical steel, and at point’s it’s almost overwhelmingly heavy, too. Just take “Gun To The Head”, which builds and builds a metronomically crushing beat until your head seemingly can’t take any more…and then it breaks for air. Then it starts over and goes even further.
The thing is, it gets nastier. “A Glorious Genocide” has an almost gleeful overload of punishing rhythms and effects, and phasing samples that are never quite clear enough to make out, as if there is very precise and deliberate torture of your senses going on. And the sounds of dripping water, and echoed screams and wails in the distance, turn the torture a very different way by way of “That Moment of Terror”. Someone get these guys soundtracking Saw VII.
Heavy-duty weaponry is deployed in other ways, too. “Cleansing The Earth” has such a brutal power that it could likely be used for doing exactly that, while “Marked For Extinction” is aimed so squarely at the dancefloor that it perhaps needs a health warning. I’d love to know where the docu-sample in “Death March” comes from, too – a 4/4 attack of a track that is more straight-up industrial than much of the material on display here. As the album closes out, things don’t let up: “Assassins” is such a dense meshing of sound and furious power that it needs to be played very loud indeed, while the closing title track is a tense, beating heart fit to burst before it descends into the same firestorm that opened the album.
This is a startling album, of the kind that I’d almost given up hope on hearing again. It is viciously heavy, both in terms of atmosphere and also musically, and pushes things to extremities than many artists that profess to be “extreme” can’t even get close to. This does have a flipside, though, of course, in that this kind of music is very much a minority pursuit. But for those of us who can stand it, and indeed revel in music this brutal, the ringing in our ears is indeed something to savour.
A final note: the well compiled remix CD that accompanies the album is also worth a listen, for the variety of treatments some tracks get.


— Adam Williams

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