(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
At this point in the game, most anyone that pursues music within the off-the-radar underground knows who the hell Wasted Theory are. They should actually do more than merely just know, they should be well-versed with the band’s style of bluesy, boozy, gritty raunch ‘n roll. I know that I have been an avid fanatic about this bad-ass bunch since I got wind of their 2014 introduction, Death And Taxes.
As powerful as that début was, it was but a drop in the bucket of what was yet to come. 2016 brought us the mighty sophomore follow-up from Delaware’s finest, the pummeling cruncher, Defenders Of The Riff. The clever title was just a suitably appropriate extension of what the band themselves truly embody. Like sonic vikings of the studio and stage both, Wasted Theory have waged savagely amplified warfare at the likes of Maryland Doom Fest and Descendants Of Crom this year.
With one wrecking ball anthem after another, the good times roll you over with powerhouse cuts like “Get Loud Or Get Fucked“, “AmpliFIRE!” and my own undeniable favorite, “Belly Fulla Whiskey“. Yeah, the sophomore outing from Wasted Theory is a gut wrencher that lands with an impact like that from the butt of a shotgun to your cranium.
Now, take a moment and ask yourself, “What could make Wasted Theory’s Defenders Of The Riff any better than it already is?” Don’t bother to answer though because I am going to do that for you: Simple. A re-issue from the well-respected Argonauta Records that re-presents the original 10-track masterpiece but now with two additional songs included!
Not just any two songs either, Wasted Theory or otherwise, no. See, the band recently underwent a roster change that saw new axe-man Andrew Petkovic taking the place of the now-exited Dave McMahon. What better way for remaining members Brendan Burns, Larry Jackson, Jr. and Rob Michael to introduce their fans to Andrew, and vice versa, than a pair of tunes. But not just any old pair of tunes though, as I said.
Instead, Wasted Theory felt ballsy enough to tackle reinterpreting two well-known classic tracks from the annals of rock history. And now, we are going to take a look, and listen, to them both and see just how enhanced this re-offering is with the new bonus material. I’m sure you are going to immediately recognize both of the songs covered here but let’s go ahead and break’em down anyway, shall we?
“Rockin’ Is Ma Business” – Damn right it is! Originally recorded / released by The Four Horsemen in 1991 (with involvement from The Cult’s Ian Astbury and producer Rick Rubin), this timeless classic is a life mantra for many of us. It has been taken on by the likes of Alabama Thunderpussy (1999’s River City Revival) and even German death metallers Fleshcrawl. Each band always seems to put their unique spin on this coarse rock standard and Wasted Theory continue that tradition with fist-pumping zeal. When the band proclaims “Wasted Theory’s gonna rock this shit!” that ain’t no idle chatter, folks…it’s a matter-of-fact rallying call.
“Changin’ Times” – It is no easy decision, or feat for that matter, to take on the re-tooling of a Nazareth song from one of the most popular hard rock albums of all time, Hair Of The Dog. But the WT quartet do exactly that on their version of the Scottish band’s heavy blues tune. The guys keep it close to the vest for the most part, staying true to the original up until a certain point. That point is around the 3:00 mark when, still mostly following the formula, some mind-blowing extensive jamming unfolds over the next three and a half minutes. Andrew and Larry cut loose, going head to head with some absolutely jaw-dropping, incendiary guitar pyrotechnics as the quartet kill it.
So there you have it! An overview that will hopefully help you gather an idea of what you’re getting with the Argonauta Records re-release of Wasted Theory‘s armored tank of an album, “Defenders Of The Riff“. Without question, one of the fiercest, rockin’-est efforts in recent times, one that many of us thought could not be topped, just was with some kick-ass new content.
Wasted Theory‘s “Defenders Of The Riff” drops via Argonauta Records on Friday, November 17th and is available here.