Things have been progressing like crazy in all fronts of extreme music; bands transmigrate from one genre to another in the need to create something worth listening to and bring together the best of influences. But can a band combine different characteristics from multiple genres and still create a solid sound that is totally their own, trademark noise? Hellcrawler prove all of the above with their sludgy blackened metal meets barbaric crustcore.
Label: Hollow Earth Records (link)
Band Website: bandcamp
There are times that pure death metal is too narrow a path for our intricate taste in brutal music, and on the other side even the most brutal crust is too much of a punk deal. We want something that combines the heaviness and darkness of both these genres. And Hellcrawler have a little bit of something for everyone. Either if you're a punk kid with dreads down your back, a metal dude clad in black or simply a HC kid won over by metal, you are in the right place with this gut-punching factory of brutal noise. You can either just put on this album, get Satanic and let it raw (recommended), or we can try to go into specifics and analyze these sounds a little bit. In fact, we'll do just that in the next couple paragraphs to give a better idea.
I like the fact that what's going on in Wastelands is dark and bleak, just like it should. This is why I'd say that this album, if I had to categorize it somewhere, belongs most of all in the crust genre. It is raw and dark and it has an overall punk attitude. But if you pay closer attention, you'll come to notice that these guys actually play some fucking proper metal that will satisfy many different metal tastes at once. They have the pseudo-black metal in check with their nasty unholy guitars and BM blasts; they have the retro death metal vox which nod to stuff like Hellhammer and Possessed; then again, they have the flaming hotrod rock n roll solos every now and then, just for good measure. There is a ton of D-beat too, so punx need not worry.
The production isn't clean or anything, but of course it's just right for this style. I couldn't imagine this band with triggered drums and computerized guitars. No fucking way! What blasts from the speakers through Wastelands is a truly barbaric sound that makes me picture the band play right down the end of a sludgy mountain cave in their native Slovenia. Stuff gets so dirty and muddy that at some points, even though these guys are speeding it up big time, it still feels like they're playing slow or at least mid tempo.
Summing up, I'd say that this is some of the best crust I heard in recent times, and a band that definitely deserves to be considered a bit ahead of the pack. There are so many others doing the same tired melodic crust thing or Motorhead/rock crust type stuff, we don't need more bands like that. Give Hellcrawler a chance and try something new and uncomprosmisingly heavy! With song titles like "Motosluts from Hell", what else do you want?