Wastelander - _Wardrive_
(Planet Metal, 2008)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (7.5 out of 10)
It seems the well conceived CD / cassette insert is an endangered species these days. In the era of burned CDs and Photoshop collages, it seems most bands merely toss off an obligatory four panel lyric booklet and get out as cheap as they can, assuming that only a handful of fans will get their hands on the real thing anyway. But in the Olde Days, before MySpace profiles, when your band's only stab at major publicity was hoping the editors at Metal Maniacs got in touch with your manager, the photos accompanying the lyric inserts were the band's chance to show a little personality and prove the members' metal credentials.

Michigan's Wastelander remember those days fondly. When you're lucky to get even a group photo nowadays, these boys go all out and insist on individual pics. And so we've got Matt War on vocals and bass, slouching against a stack of speakers and an antediluvian phonograph, amidst several dozen empty beer cans (Black Label from Canada, for those keeping score), with freshly minted LP covers from Venom and English Dogs scattered strategically about; guitarist Xaphan in a sleeveless denim jacket scarred with a plethora of band logo patches, ready to pounce amongst LPs by Hawkwind, Bathory and the Stooges; and, finally, drummer Pit Viper, anonymous in a military grade gas mask, no albums in sight, but two fisting an empty pint of Jim Beam in one hand and a family size can of Dinty Moore beef stew in the other. Hell yes! Does it get any more metal than Dinty Moore beef stew?

It stands to reason, then, that Wastelander maintains a predilection for historic authenticity, and sure enough, _Wardrive_ -- with its crayon war machine cover art -- is pure Teutonic thrash with no trace of any modern influences. Lyrics to songs with titles such as "Final Combat" and "Desert Law" are rendered in the alarm clock LED font which 25 years ago represented the countdown to doomsday, here perhaps spelling out two minutes to midnight in a genre whose cross pollination with death / black metal has become near absolute. Keep the fire burning, lads.

Contact: http://myspace.com/thewastelander

(article published 15/1/2009)

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