There probably isn’t a more fitting way to mark the continuing normalization of our daily activities than to get your faces ripped off by music that feels like it’s been boiling for 15 months, waiting to explode. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like the first time I’m back in a room with people witnessing heavy music live, as I slip into the back of the room to avoid being kicked in the mouth.
I’d imagine once Wanderer can get back on stages, it’s going to be fucking war. This Minnesota-based D-beat-powered metallic beast is delivering their first full-length album “Liberation From a Brutalist Existence,” a collection that had to wait to come to full fruition based on the goddamn pandemic, but now the music is here to rip you limb from limb. The band focuses on topics such as escapism, suicide, self-reflection, dealing with abuse, and existential issues on a molten 10 tracks spread over 23 minutes. The band—vocalist Dan Lee, guitarist/backing vocalist Brent Ericson, bassist Jack Carlson, drummer Mano Holgin—are joined by a slew of guests including vocalists Sanjeev Mishra (Straya), Mollie Piatetsky (Closet Witch), and Brandon Carrigan (who Lee succeeded on vocals), as well as engineer Adam Tucker (he recorded, mixed, and mastered the album), who added auxiliary percussion. It’s a rabid, furious album, one that’ll wake you from your stupor easily.
“Marionette” starts the record by chugging away and eventually letting loose as Lee’s growls rumble, and the D-beat-fed tempo rips you up. The shrieks rip, the feedback burns your flesh, and everything ends in sludge. “Mind Leash” is a quick basher that punishes with fast, chaotic playing dressed in boiling growls and scathing madness, and then it’s into “Abrasion” where the guitars jolt, and muddy playing makes it tough to come up for a breath. The track hulks as the growls punish, and then a burst of atmosphere leads to heavy crunch, a smothering chorus, and guitars heavily lingering. “Bloom” brings thick bass trudging and every other element following suit, bruising bodies. The guitars fire up as the melodies ring out, heading into a spacious pocket that picks up and drives right into “Decay” that continues agitating the fires. The track speeds and pulverizes, the pace bashes skulls, and the body burns into ash.
“Hellhole” pounds with filthy guitars and oatmeal-thick mashing, while a heavy doom cloud hangs overhead and darkens the ground. Then, the band just flattens you deliberately, collecting static and feedback that spits power. “Simone” brings pummeling guitars and burly death growls from Lee as the drumming decimates. Wild shrieks from Piatetsky get into your system and devastate you while the playing feels incredibly thick, splattering to its inevitable end. “Frost Cage” opens in the midst of punishing drumming and guitars stabbing violently, with heavy growls to boot. That all blasts into the ground, the growls carve, and flesh is beaten into submission. “Bourn” clobbers with sludgy power and flattening playing as hardcore-style violent splits faces. The guitars scorch as the playing gets thrashier, the violence increases, and it all ends in panic. “Contented” closes the album, the longest track of the bunch, running 3:56. Guitars char and the bass flexes, and then the playing slows but maintains pure heaviness. Abrasive howls make their impact as the guitars scorch, the low end crushes ribs, and the track is sucked into a noise vortex in the sky.
Who amongst us hasn’t had to wait excruciating periods of time for good things to come to fruition through this hellish pandemic? But I can imagine from the volatile nature of the music, Wanderer must have been bursting at the seams to release “Liberation From a Brutalist Existence.” There is plenty to leave you heaving on the floor, and if you work your way through the lyrics, there’s a lot to parse through and apply to your own existence. This record is a fire breather, 23 minutes of metallic wrenching that will be the best workout you have all day.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/WandererMN
To buy the album (vinyl), go here: https://entelodonrecords.limitedrun.com/
Or here (cassette): https://badmouthrecordings.bigcartel.com/
Or here (digital): https://wanderermn.bandcamp.com/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.entelodonrecords.com/
And here: https://badmouthrecordings.bandcamp.com/