Wasted Theory have a thing for titles. Their third record, Warlords of the New Electric , is their second for Argonauta Records behind last year’s reissue of 2016’s Defenders of the Riff ( review here ), and both albums set lofty ambitions as regards positioning the band. This is interesting to note, because their songwriting could hardly be more grounded. Based out of Delaware, the Southern heavy riff rockers have brandished straightforward, ultra-dudely chug and groove since even before the release of their 2014 debut, Death and Taxes ( review here ), and done so proudly. It’s worked for them, and it continues to work for them as they push their sound forward on the eight-track/36-minute long-player, which is inarguably their tightest and most professional-sounding collection to-date.
They toured both coasts supporting Defenders of the Riff , so some sonic progression was to be expected, but in teaming with producer/engineer Joseph Boldizar at Retro City Studios in Philadelphia, they’ve found a space for themselves that is both crisp in and full in its tone on Warlords of the New Electric , and as their penchant for titles extends to the songs themselves in “Rawhide Hellride,” “Bongronaut,” “The Son of a Son of a Bitch” and nearly every other inclusion — you can keep “Doomslut Rodeo,” which feels willfully blind both to the cultural moment we’re living in and general decency to others; you’re not 12, grow up — and familiar homage is paid to whiskey, weed and Black Sabbath , there’s no lack either of live energy in the material. Indeed, Warlords of the New Electric itself feels both born of touring in terms of its craft on shorter, stage-ready cuts like “Rawhide Hellride,” “Heavy Bite” and “Drug Buzzard,” and in some nomadic implication of the name they’ve given it, which, whatever else it may be hardly feels like happenstance. They clearly put some thought into these things.
Comprised here of guitarist/vocalist Larry Jackson, Jr. , guitarist Andrew Petkovic , bassist Rob Michael (since out of the band) and drummer Brendan Burns , Wasted Theory work quickly to demonstrate how far they’ve come in two years with a sound less outwardly about burl than the groove itself. Burns is right at home on his hi-hat in “Drug Buzzard” following the opening “Rawhide Hellride,” and as Jackson belts out lines like “Heavy metal heavy drinkin'” in the second track, even his guttural delivery seems to have taken on more character than it’s had in the past, and as they move into “Bongronaut” and “The Son of a Son of a Bitch,” and especially “Bastard County,” he reminds here and there of Earthride ‘s Dave Sherman , who over time has also been able to make a rough-throated, “whiskey-soaked” vocal style his own. Via The Obelisk