HELLCRAWLER - Wastelands CD
Hollow Earth Records
Genre: Death Metal/D-Beat
After I listened to the first couple of cuts on this Slovenian band's debut full length I realized two things immediately. The first was that this act got their band name and album title correct. If I were to imagine what the survivors of some post apocalyptic event would sound like if they started a band then this would be close to it. The second thing is that this five piece act obviously found some DISMEMBER, ENTOMBED and DISCHARGE records in the rubble in order to influence them a bit. By the end of this it's obvious that the old school Swedish stuff were listened to most. By the way people used to slam dance to that just like it was Hardcore (a little fact some people seem to have missed).
Just for the record though HELLCRAWLER are not playing by the rules on here. The first cut "Devastation" opens with a movie soundbite from Mad Max (?) then from there it's onto some headbanging death n roll which is pretty damm good. Just to add some diversity they break it down in the middle and drop some Doom on ya plus add a melodic solo before returning to the pounding riffs. You have to listen to this all the way through to notice how this band has a pattern going on. Name dropping those bands earlier is minor to what all HELLCRAWLER is doing on here. The second cut "Rattlesnake Tavern" starts off similar to the first cut with punishing fury then the band changes directions by introducing some melody which would likely get a crowd raising their horned fists high into the air.
Wastelands is a decent release simply because the band surprises you with every song on here. On a few cuts I wish they would just stick to the punishing formula because they have a brutal sound going for them. But the variety they throw at you, like a Doom instrumental as their title track followed by "Post Apocalyptic Revolt" with it's Iommi opening riff, is hard to argue against. In the end this is thirty minutes of unrelenting extreme music and the equivalent to being strapped into a chair for continued torture.