Saturday, 27 May 2017

Wax Ruins - HEAVYGAZER (Album Review)

Release date: May 20th 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

HEAVYGAZER – Tracklisting

Exploits Of Man
Praise a Name
Temple Smoke
Clarity and Inclusions
(Sparks) Into Mountains
Strange Sorcery


Brian E. Smith
Blake McWhorter
Mark Baker


Wax Ruins is a band from Texas, USA that specializes in a different kind of Doom Metal sound. The band takes influence from bands diverse such as Ride, Tool, Torche and Yob. Their debut album - HEAVYGAZER - is a complex and progressive sounding album that pushes the boundaries between Indie Rock style anthems with a heavy Sludge/Doom Metal outlook. Distorted and full of psychedelic experimental riffs that allow the band to create something you don't hear every day.

Opening track - Exploits Of Man - is an almost twelve minute epic that opens with indie/shoegaze rock theatrics before heavy moments of Sludge/Stoner riffs appear with trippy vocals leading the way. The band adds a YOB style gloomy atmosphere to their music. The song never becomes bogged down by the different ideas and sounds that Wax Ruins have at their disposal. Moments of drone rock appear and it allows the music to flow more naturally.

Second track - Praise A Name - opens with a long drawn out psychedelic drone sound merged with sludgy/stoner based guitars. The song slowly builds up an exciting rhythm before a Torche style atmosphere appears. The drumming is calm and precise before the song moves into firmer Sludge/Stoner Rock territory. This song is perhaps the more Sludge/Stoner rock sounding song on the album. Wax Ruins may play it too safe on this track but it's still an excellent track that showcases their song-writing talents to great effect.

The next two tracks - 'Temple Smoke' and 'Clarity and Inclusions' - both see Wax Ruins tease the audience again with the change of direction in their sound as the album moves from different genres again. You're treated to moments of psychedelic rock, sludge, doom and stoner riffs with the band showing a great talent for sonic experimentation. The vocals and lyrics have a bleak outlook to them and may prove off-putting for some listeners.

HEAVYGAZER isn't an album for everyone. It's a challenging album to listen to but if you put the time in then you will richly be rewarded with a complex sounding album.

The fifth track - (Sparks) Into Mountains - is without question the standout track on the album. Sixteen minutes of pure doom/sludge/psych/prog rock experimentation where the band throws everything at you. It's quite an uplifting track despite the bleak moments that appear on the song. There is a definite YOB influence on this song with the band managing to create their own sound.

The final two tracks - Return and Strange Sorcery - offer two final rounds of trippy psychedelic stoner/doom based moments with elements of Post-Rock making more of an appearance. Though after hearing this album multiple times over the last few days I'm beginning to hear the Post-Rock vibe a lot more. A sign at how talented these guys are in creating weird and wonderful sounding heavy music. The production on HEAVYGAZER is incredible as the album is loud and intense from the start.

The album artwork is striking and matches the mood perfectly that the album conveys. If you're in the mood for a different sounding Doom/Stoner Metal album then HEAVYGAZER is the album for you. It's perhaps the best debut album I've heard this year and that's saying something. HEAVYGAZER is a brilliantly complex and uplifting album.

Words by Steve Howe