After two years of touring and doing shows across the country, southern/stoner metal quartet Wasted Theory are back once again, which means it took them two years to put in the finishing touches on their recent studio jams, releasing their sophomore album Defenders of the Riff, a follow-up to their successful debut album, Death and Taxes. With their second album, Wasted Theory have started where they left off with their debut and now they have brought it back to life, shape it up, a bit different sound wise, however they have kept the soundscape of the band’s music. But what’s the difference between these two records?
By skipping the first two EPs from the band, Cinco Dechado De Cancion and Godspeed that was just a collection of a bunch of cool jams and not pointing to the true face of Wasted Theory’s music, you get to Death and Taxes. This was released in 2014 and was a powerful debut from Wasted Theory’s camp and was a [bit] modern sounded southern/stoner metal, whose potent hard rock side was bold and immense, yet the production kept the sound close to the retro type of sound of its genre. But when it comes to Defenders of the Riff everything seems are in the opposite way. The album’s production is more modern than the debut album, which made the music sharper and less vintage sounding and these are riffs and melodies, delivered from ages of heavy rock music, just like the album cover the colorings of which and characters recall the old school dark fantasy / sci-fi comic books.
Wasted Theory comes up with a cheesy album title for their new album but it easily sums up what’s going on in the album. Strong and chunky bluesy riffs are still right there and moaning guitar solos are still riding on those heavy rhythms and crushing drums parts. Musically, nothing has much changed in Defenders of the Riff, even it is safe to say that things are even getting better. Larry Jackson Jr., vocalist and guitarist is on a stronger part of his career where his throaty vocals have merged into the band’s personality, filled the whole length of the album. His riff guitar trading with Dave McMahon is definitely one of the best parts of the album. Along with those two, behind the drums kit, Brendan Burns still burns down the ground and all that while having a lot of fun because he still sounds heavy and hard-hitting. Rob Michael (ex-Fear of God, Have Mercy) who has joined the band in 2015, has done a unsurprisingly great job on bass. It seems Wasted Theory now has a trustworthy mentor from the great old days of heavy music in their band.
Defenders of the Riff is a fully enjoyable, trippy album and it’s all about a high-spirited, free-as-a-bird yet crushing and chunky type of heavy music. This is where southern/stoner metal meets traditional heavy/doom metal. There are so many elements borrowed from classic legends Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Blackfoot and even Cirith Ungol, to bands like Kyuss, Monster Magnet, 90’s Metallica and Soundgarden. Defenders of the Riff is a loud album, louder than anything Wasted Theory have done before and the opener song, “Get Loud or Get Fucked” explains it all. Better to play it as loud as it should be played, getting into the music with a “Belly Fulla Whiskey!”