The name HACKSAW TO THE THROAT pisses me off, even though I have no right to be. Why does it? Because a lot of Metal fans will think this band is simply a Grindcore act and will miss out on a tremendously complex piece of work that is rarely Grind. Although the opening of “Breaking Point” does surge out with a Grind intensity, “Wastelands” then goes on to become sumptuous array of technical and melodic Death-cum-Thrash Metal that is a real treat. Again, like so many in albums in Metal today, it is quite difficult to even attempt to convey a focused genre that “Wastelands” is. So I won’t go forth with that anymore.
Normally an album that is all over the map gets a negative review, or generally it would from me. Not the case with “Wastelands”, as all the parts are so expertly and engagingly played and written it becomes its own mesh of songs that as a whole really pack a wallop. As I said, after a rising guitar intro, “Breaking Point” then trundles out a jugular attack not unlike PIG DESTROYER; its caustic thrashing accented with pinched harmonics, a noticeable trend in Grind circles these days. The album’s eponymous track is an epic not just in duration, but in the expanse of movements the song weaves together into a memorable trip into the workings of a band as comfortable and expert in Melodic Death as they are in whispers of soft acoustic moments and then infectious Thrash. Next in “Divide By Zero”, the opening salvo of again a more Grind sensibility gives way to a slightly toned down but incredibly technical work of Death Metal that I just groove with all the way. Make no mistake either; when HACKSAW TO THE THROAT delves into a more technical setting it is not of a wankery mode. No, their technicality is a sound, rooted incursion that is as engaging as it is precise. ‘Erebus”, another epic in length, is to a degree the same formula of rising and lowering into different arenas; slow, raw, and in between. And god damn if that formula isn’t some of the best shit I’ve heard all year. Absolutely fantastic to this reviewer’s ears. One, among other reasons that “Wastelands” can’t be pegged into certainly the Grind category, is the sixth cut, “Obsidian Sun”; an eight minute chamber piece consisting mainly of piano with accompanying classical strings, and a simply spectacularly beautiful movement of music. These guys have chops all over the musical spectrum.
There is a second reason I’m pissed about HACKSAW TO THE THROAT, and that is the band decided to call it quits last month. It’s apparently for personal reasons and I respect that fully. It’s just a shame that such a talented band will no longer be around to at least please this one Metalhead. But, “Wastelands” is out there, with its stunning exhibition of musical genius and if you can find a copy, GET IT!
(Online September 30, 2007)