As has become increasingly evident to keen observers and pundits everywhere, the heavy metal revival of the late '00s seems to be particularly taken with the key styles that made significant headway during the early '80s; and although the undiluted Bay Area thrash template has attracted the largest number of modern purveyors, so too have the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and the first generation of black metal bands, beginning, of course, with the seminal Venom. The latter are certainly the single greatest driving force behind the creation of Lansing, MI's Wastelander, whose favored M.O. on their 2008 debut, Wardrive, consists of intentionally crude, punk-inflected blackened thrash, low on finesse, but high on violent attitude. Indeed, only Wastelander's lyrical preoccupations don't quite mesh with those of the satanically obsessed Cronos, Mantas, and Abaddon, focusing, rather, on every conceivable horror of warfare, leading up to what they obviously perceive as an inevitable global apocalypse (living near Detroit will do that to a person). Ergo, the fearsome assemblage of military musical vehicles paraded before the easily duped, blindly supportive, and ultimately doomed masses, including the title cut, "Knee Deep in the Dead" (about biological warfare), "Baptized in Ashes" (nukes), "Final Combat" (more nukes!), and "Wastelander" (the day after the nukes!). All together, and with a little help from quaint supportive sound effects, these play out like a veritable super-sonic WWIII, and are fleshed out by additional examples of even more unbridled Venom worship like "Days in Hell" and "Frost Storm," both marked by subtle melodic undercurrents that only authenticate their inspiration in the pre-Scandinavian black metal aesthetic. In short: the art of revivalist blackus-thrashus-maximus simply doesn't get any more entertaining or -- yes, fun! -- than Wastelander's lovingly crafted love letter to the planet's nightmarish demise that is Wardrive.
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