After their first two albums and an EP, and seeing a live show that was so loud and intense that it felt like the back wall was going to be blown at points, W.A.S.T.E. are back to sear your eardrums once again. And you have to wonder exactly what they can do next: almost like Swans a few decades back, it is beginning to appear that as they get more and more extreme, there must be a point where they can’t take it any further – unless of course, Shane Englefield chooses to release an album of pure, loud static. Well, that is probably more likely than W.A.S.T.E. going mellow and acoustic, I guess.
A quick refresher for those of you who might not know what they sound like. And it’s a short one, too – heavy, very loud industrial noise that you either love, or hate. There is no inbetween, and up until subtlety has hardly been in evidence. But then, it didn’t need to be. This is the antipathy of background music, this is music that grabs your attention by pinning you against the way and screaming in your face.
And needless to say, this new release picks up the baton and runs with it. It isn’t quite a full album – seven new tracks, and four remixes of old favourites, but this sates the appetite nicely. Opener Want This World To Burn is a thunderous beat emerging from what appears to be a raging fire, while Scab Collector has a voice welcoming you to something, but is steamrollered by the brutal rhythm before finishing the line.
Talking of steamrollering, Steel Toed Rampage jumps through the wall at you, with a rhythm apparently beaten out by about two hundred drum machines in perfect sync, and sadistic, high-pitched squeals filling in the high end. Easy listening this is not, and is also confirmation – not that any were needed – that there are still ways of making this all the more fucking extreme. The bizarre eighties-esque guitar-wankery interlude, that comes out of nowhere, just left me confused, though.
Sometimes You Don’t Come Back therefore comes as a little surprise. The first mellow, laid-back W.A.S.T.E. track I can recall, this is almost a welcome interlude after the mentally exhausting prior fifteen minutes. It is hardly Little Fluffy Clouds in outlook – the atmosphere is still impressively dark and bleak, but without the extreme nihilism that infests just about every other track.
It is perhaps no great surprise that this doesn’t last. Butcher Knife is a little more insidious, though, starting slowly before laying in with the punches, including a wonderfully bass-booming beat, and Still Drunk, Still Crazy is yet more nasty, brutal noise. The final track of the new ones – Part 1 of Some Shit to Come – is very interesting. Beginning with a lengthy Vin Diesel sample from Babylon A.D. – the words of someone despairing at the state of the world – it is a short, downtempo dirge that eventually finishes with the harshest thirty seconds of noise I’ve heard put onto CD: a blistering assault of static, screeching electronics and a beat cowering in the corner.
The remixes get interesting, too. Efficient Ways Of Killing Mass Amounts Of Motherfuckers (Bitch Per Minute remix) somehow appears to merge the original with an old cheesy dance track to fantastic effect (I just cannot wait to unleash this on an unsuspecting dancefloor, and see what happens), while Omega 3 (Doomer remix) and Scab Collector (Catastrophe Noise remix) are more dancefloor-bound monsters. In fact, the latter is a snappier version of it, while the snarling, rumbling remix of the now-pretty-old Mediaface by Synapscape is a welcome new take on a track I’ve heard in various forms. The vocals – distorted to hell, of course – sound really impressive in amongst the aural carnage.
I wasn’t expecting anything less, but once again Shane has delivered an utter brute of an album. It isn’t going to widen his audience too much, I wouldn’t think – there can’t be too many people who are into industrial this heavy – but it does everything the fans expect, and pushes the envelope that little bit more. How much further he can push it in the future, I’m looking forward to hearing.