THE WANDERING ASCETIC
Naming your album after a revered Edge of Sanity opus probably isn't going to go unnoticed by the metal community. It's largely irrelevant though, as The Wandering Ascetic are less concerned with lofty futuristic concept albums regarding the end of humanity than they are hammering out mid-paced death/thrash mini-epics about Hitler's girlfriend. Sorry, that's reductive; there's more to them than that, I'm sure. One thing is for certain, I'm already enjoying this 'Crimson' far more than Dan Swanö's yawn-inducing 'masterpiece' (sorry, I'm just not a fan of Dan Swanö).
If anything, The Wandering Ascetic share more with Carcass. It's a lazy comparison in some ways; vocalist Kathir (from erstwhile death metal band Rudra) shares a lot of vocal ticks with Jeff Walker, but musically Carcass are never quite this straight-ahead metal (I'm ignoring 'Swan Song', as you should, too). It's close enough to know what you're getting, though. And what you're getting is ten tracks of uncomplicated death/thrash that, while structurally simplistic, show off the playing chops of the individual members quite nicely. It's difficult to highlight songs for particular special mention, because they're all very much in the same class; well-written headbangers. Each track is guaranteed to get your feet tapping (at least mine did), with an energy that is infectious. But, it's largely forgettable stuff too. Happy Meal Metal, if you will.
There's also the opportunity to scratch your head at some of the song titles (the afore-alluded 'Eva Braun'; 'To Hell, Back and to Hell Again' (my personal favourite); 'The Exorcism of Mrs Doe'). Such titles would have you believe this is some sort of comedy band; Asia's answer to Cannabis Corpse or Austrian Death Machine. Maybe that's the point, but there is nothing so obvious lyrically (at least that I can decipher) that would lead me to believe these guys are anything but serious.
I liked this album, but I'm probably not going to come back to it much. It's not a classic of the genre; nor is it destined to become so. What it is, though, is well-played, decently written, competent metal. No real flair, no lasting excitement, but certainly nothing wrong with it either.
Review by Steve Cowan
12th February 2019
1) Eva Braun
2) I Sing the Body Electric
3) The Exorcism of Mrs Doe
4) The Gods Bleed!
5) Beast of Burden
6) The Will to Live
7) To Hell, Back and to Hell Again
8) Here for the Good Things
10) Orang Laut
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"It's not a classic of the genre; nor is it destined to become so. What it is, though, is well-played, decently written, competent metal."