Just taking a look at the album cover, you can immediately tell you're in for some dark and nasty music and that's exactly what Hellcrawler delivers here with their debut album "Wastelands." The best way to describe the sound here would be "deathcrust," but more along the lines of the relentless d-beat style with the occasional death metal tremolo. This isn't your typical Entombed clone though, and they manage to conjure up some wicked crusty madness shrouded in darkness.
The riffs here (for the most part) are your standard, super-aggressive and fast crust-riddled riffs that get your heart pumping like you just took a shot of adrenalin. These Slovenian bastards really know how to hit the listener with an onslaught of riffs that are sure to cause some whiplash, just take a listen to the songs "Rattlesnake Tavern" and "Motosluts From Hell," I promise your head will bang. But, in the midst of all of the mayhem, Hellcrawler captures some really great atmospheric passages that fit in extremely well with the rest of the music. Anyone who heard Amebix's most recent record, knows they went way overboard with the progressive stuff and lacked any sort of aggression they once had. On "Wastelands," though, Hellcrawler weaves in just the right amount of progressive, atmospheric moments and it works out perfect. The track "Devastation" in particular, showcases the band's ability to mix the two different styles.
The other instruments aren't really stand-outs but every one does their job just fine. The vocals are more death metal oriented and they suit the crusty metalpunk music excellently. The bass thumps along and the right pace and the d-beat assault is always present. Overall, I have no complaints about this album. It's a great time and manages to successfully mix in the more atmospheric moments perfectly, not overdoing it, but having the right amount to give the listener the vibe that they are in a wasteland. If you're a fan of old-school death metal or some ripping metalpunk in general, then Hellcrawler is a band that you need to give a listen.
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"The Molten Faces Tribe"
4.3/5 or 86%.