Monday, November 21, 2011

Waster - Thunder Pit (2011)

Winnipeg has a lot to celebrate, with the return of their NHL franchise, The Jets, and five Blue Bombers being named to the CFL All-Star team. Then, in our ever-expanding list of Canadian bands on the rise, you'll find Waster. This five piece band is picking up where some classic bands started, following in the footsteps of Pantera in both sound and style. But this isn't a knockoff band. These guys have an attitude all their own, one that is sure to get some fists in the air with "Thunder Pit."

The title track, "Thunder Pit," starts things off with a bang. There is an obvious guitar groove here, and the vocals will certainly draw comparison to the late Lynn Strait. Nick Wiebe shows some impressive delivery, especially when backed by a true stomp-inducing musical track. Short and to the point, this one is a great way to kick things off. The band's first single, "Rocket Rider," is equally catchy in its scope, with guitars chugging up and down the scales. The breakdown section is a classic, complete with screaming vocals from Wiebe. An unfortunate mixing issue buries a tremendous solo in the outro portion, one that is barely audible in the sea of distortion. Listen closely, though, and you get a taste of the talent this band has to offer.

There is no subtlety in "Highabetic," a track reminscient of a track from Snot's lone album, "Get Some." This one is a high flying affair, going 0 to 60 in a flash, with no chance of relenting. Even as the short breakdown kicks in, the riffs are fast and furious. The dynamic mix of punk and thrash suits the band well, and they construct a whirlwind of sound, finished by another ripping solo. The southern guitar tinge that opens "Forty Creek & 40 Speed" could be a lost Pantera track, and Wiebe certainly has the chops to pull it off well. Musicianship is tight, even if the mix gives you the impression otherwise. The guitars sound muddy at times, if not a little bit too dominant, but the idea is in the right place.

Don't worry about the name choice on "Techno Rollercoaster," there aren't any house beats to be found here. Just good, hard edged, distorted guitar metal. The riffs are catchy, the vocals are gritty and the rhythm section holds their own up against the wall of sound. A little tweaking of the levels, and this one could be a hit. This remains the theme throughout the rest of the disc, with the production work being the only rough spot to be had. Whether it be the thrasing "So Devil" or the slower paced "Slumberjack," these guys do it all with gusto, keeping your head in a state of constant motion. The latter, in particular, is a blissful minute and 45 seconds of distorted glory.The Pantera influence comes into play in the later set of tracks, beginning with "Powerburner." Channeling his inner Phil Anselmo, Wieber's voice is the perfect compliment to the heavier, but down tempo fret work on display here. This is, arguably, the heaviest track on the album, choosing to rely on more groove oriented guitars to drive things forward.

But in the blink of an eye, you are back to light speed with "Whiskey Woman," and there is no way to save yourself now. Prepare for a case of whiplash, combined with the spontaneous formation of mosh pits in your home or car. Dueling guitars provide a great layered attack, one with the ability to go from fast to slow without skipping a beat. One of the more well rounded songs on the album, this one has something for everyone. The album ends with the longest track, the six minute "Tongue Cancer," which sees the band harnessing the style most typically known as "stoner metal," hitting all the deep, rich guitar riffs in a smoldering heap of southern fury. These Canadians might do southern metal better than the southern bands themselves.

You aren't going to find very much lateral movement in the music, but it isn't about time signatures and music theory with Waster. Track after track, there is something that will get your head moving. Whether it be the catchy riffs, or the party till you drop pacing, you are sure to find something to love. "Thunder Pit" may not change the way you listen to music. It may remind you of bands, past and present, like Snot, Pantera or Down. And, when it's all said and done, is that a bad thing?


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