Waster - Waster - (9/10)
Published on February 21, 2019
Genre:Groove / Heavy Metal / Hardcore
I didn’t want to undersell this album’s good points, because this was clearly a very important statement for a band to make. Any self-titled album is, but Canada’s Waster make this aurally obvious. After a hard slog trying to make things work over the past few years, I’m really happy that they managed to get their shit together and write the most important record of their career so far. It not only surpasses their previous two efforts, but it also redefines their sound, ironically, into something completely unrefined. On their new self-titled LP, the Winnipeg warriors deliver fistful after fistful of pummeling groove metal in a manner that could only have come from years of inner anguish. Waster is an incredibly satisfying release of aggression in the purest way.
The keyword here is ‘raw’. The production quality maintains a gritty, muddy sound which seems to scrape up dirt and mud from the sidewalk and launch it right into your fat face. The very first thing one hears when spinning this disc is an eerie shimmer, then a gut-busting riff that hammers at your skull until you’re a puddle of shit on the floor. And the rest of the record follows suit! Huge riffs, a cavernous drum sound, and one of the most consistent vocal performances in this sub-genre. “The Scythe” was just the right way to kick off proceedings, but follow-up tracks “Agony” and “Impostor Syndrome” are the kind of fist-pumping hardcore anthems that absolutely beg to be put in a live setting. Though these can’t quite compare to my favourite track, “Bones Exposed”. With such a memorable refrain; bouncy, headbangable rhythms; and deliciously groovy riffs – this is the one cut you should get your hands on if you hear nothing else.
I can’t praise vocalist Nick Wiebe enough for his non-stop performance here. The vocals ride the fine line between ‘stagnation’ and ‘consistency’, but I’m definitely of the more optimistic ilk. It’s a powerhouse effort, sounding like the bastard child of Waylon Reavis and Jamey Jasta. Then, when he’s joined by Andrew Neufeld on “Rumination”, it’s a delightful combination. Special kudos to bassist Tim Halbert as well, not only for being audible, but for providing some sweet-ass clangy basslines that genuinely shine. Of course, the dual attack of six-stringers Michael and Harley is thick as fuck – and they were sure to bring a plentiful bag of tough-ass riffs with them. The entire LP is riff after riff after piledriving riff which flattens the listener like a fucking steamroller. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly punched my windscreen by jamming out to this record in my car.
The whole album is structured wonderfully. There are the more menacing, broody tracks like “()” which contrast nicely against the speedier, punkier likes of “Soul Separation” or the fiery finale “Chemistry Of Breathing”. On top of that, the whole affair is refreshingly brief and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Quite the opposite actually – it tends to have me either salivating for more or hitting the replay button. If I had to give a serious gripe, it would be that this album is very much based in one tone. This is not for the metalhead who wants a multi-faceted philosophical journey. It’s hard-hitting groove metal that goes right for the jugular. And I, for one, can’t wait for more. These guys never made an impact on me before, but their self-titled speaks to me. Well, it doesn’t so much ‘speak to me’ as much as it ‘digs its nails into my eye sockets, rips off my skin and leaves me with a skeletal grin’. Waster are coming…with bones exposed!
Oh, but please, change that god-awful album art!