Album: Waste Analysis
Genre: Industrial Rock
I touched on this a while back, but I have a generally pessimistic view when it comes to digital releases. Saving you the reader from rehashing my elitist outlook on music distribution, I will state that one of the big reasons I don’t like digital releases is that I have a ton of them that I haven’t and probably will never listen to. I’ll download a friend’s album with the best of intentions, but unless it’s on a CD in a jewel case or digipack, I will probably never get around to giving it a proper listen. That being said, my boss on this site hasn’t been giving me as much work as I’d like (blast him an email and berate for me, will ya?) So, I figured since I’ve had a lot of downtime lately, I’d go digging through my collection of zip files, pick something at random and review it for you all. Today’s specimen: Waste Analysis from Brainwashaudio. I’m not 100% sure of my association with the person who made me download this, but I’m pretty sure it’s from a casual association on one of the web forums that I’m a member of. (Edit: after looking at the credits, that’s exactly where I got this album.) So this zip file is pretty shrouded in mystery and should be at the very least fun to explore!
As so many of these independent bands putting out digital-only releases do, this one doesn’t have any art files, so damn you to hell if you want to make a hard copy for your collection. As a very nice change though, this one does include a text file with full credits and (Gasp!) lyrics. I really wish there was some artwork to go with this file (Edit: I found what appears to be a cover on their website) but the text is still a very nice read as well as what is a nice little unintentional look into their song writing process (looks like Stevil is the mastermind of this album but isn’t afraid to ask for help.)
Well, it’s definitely unique! What I love about music recorded by full bands is that when they’re all involved in the writing process, influences can be hard to trace down and can very well be all over the place and still work. As an example, right from the first track, we have a mellow piece which at first is very hard to put into a particular genre. As each song goes by, you can hear various blues artists, a smidgeon of Einsturzende Neubauten, and a big chunk of Sister Machine Gun’s later works, though it is arguable as to how intentional the Sister Machine Gun sound actually is. It’s a rather raw rock album that’s been saturated in electronics and doesn’t hesitate to experiment from time to time. They have a pretty contiguous style but love to break from away from it for the odd song here and there. On a side note: I love Zipperhead as it really did make me laugh out loud. Lyrically with this song, I think they did a good job of demonstrating their point which I believe to be that drugs can be silly sometimes. Even that particular song aside, there’s lots of little gems woven in that make Waste Audio a very enjoyable listen.
To me, Brainwashaudio gets instant cool points just on the basis of Waste Analysis being properly mastered. It is impossible to stress just how important mastering is. The noise floor does pop up every once in a while though. In particular on Slave One, it becomes evident that there’s a noise gate somewhere whose release is running a little too slow, so after certain sounds hit, a little bit of noise creeps in immediately afterward. It’s not enough to be annoying or even really that noticeable unless you’re looking for it though, so it’s forgivable. On Drool Steel, it’s impossible to ignore, though. The mp3’s are encoded at 256kbits, so encoding artifacts are next to nihil. Mixing is great on this album for the most part. Towards the end of Oppression Service, there’s a bit of a high pitched effect which really could have used some EQ treatment as it’s extremely harsh on the ears. Also during the parts where distorted bass is used in conjunction with acoustic drumming, there is a tendency for the low end to go to mud, and overall the drums could have been mixed a little better, but they’re not so bad as to completely distract from the overall mix, so again, it’s forgivable.
Artistic Merit: 9.5/10
Brainwashaudio pulled together something very individual on this release and their worth as artists is very much proved here. From this mass group of individual tastes, they brought out one unique sound which blends so much musically, that it becomes impossible to pigeonhole them into one particular category but instead just becomes easier to give them the moniker of being imaginative musicians.
Sometimes the style gets a little monotonous, but for the most part, the compositions carry enough momentum to keep the album moving along, and the scattered song here and there that is experimental or instrumental gives enough breaks to where when you come back to the meat of the album, you aren’t bored. I think the tracks could have used a little rearranging to keep the monotonous moments from occurring, but otherwise it flows very nicely.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Waste Analysis is a great listen overall. It’s very easy to ignore the niggles about mixing and noise levels because the compositions rise above this and make it a very entertaining listen. I wouldn’t so much put this as industrial rock, but that’s the best description I can think of. As a whole, I’m sure most listeners won’t have any trouble finding something to like about this album and it is very much worth the download.