As I listen to Wasteworld, I have the comical (to me) image of Expulsion in the studio, playing the album start to finish, and then each of them collapsing in a heap by their instruments, exhausted and completely spent. It’s not that Wasteworld is the heaviest record I’ve ever heard, nor even the fastest, although it’s far, far closer to that latter superlative than to the former. It’s more that, alongside the blistering speed, there’s a massive amount of kinetic energy, a tangible passion and frenetic zing (for lack of a real word) that makes Wasteworld one of those “fuck yeah” metal records. Expulsion can (and do) shred—this is a solid tech-thrash record if ever there were one, filled with dizzying guitar riffs and fleet-footed drum fills. This band spares no expense on fast-picked guitar runs, which admittedly isn’t always a plus, but an above-average sense of songwriting and Expulsion’s obvious love for their craft keeps Wasteworld from being just another mile-a-minute wankfest.
This Expulsion hails from the Netherlands and should not be confused with the similarly named Swedish outfit from the late 1980s, that latter unit featuring several future members of Tiamat. This Expulsion formed in 2002, and Wasteworld is both their first full-length for Deepsend and their first at all, following 2005’s The Mass Insanity EP. The band’s website describes Wasteworld as “incinerating speed thrash exclusively,” and I’ll agree one hundred percent, noting for the benefit of the dedicated thrasher that this thrash is in the finest European tradition and not of the Bay Area variety. To the band’s description, I’ll add that there’s a wee bit more to this than pure-and-simple Teutonic thrash. The vocals stick closer to a death growl, with a few moments of cleanliness, and the riffs tend toward the melodic shred side, and between the growls, the speed, and the riffage, this falls at the far end of thrash, right where that genre runs headlong into death metal. Somewhere between Kreator and Gothenburg lies Wasteworld…
Opening with the instrumental “Avidnya,” the party truly starts with “Land Of Empty Graves,” which sets the blueprint admirably for the rest of the record. The production is stout, modern, punchy, and the performance is tight as hell, with special kudos given to guitarists R.B. and M.P. for riffs like the twisting one in “Martyr.” In an album filled with killer guitar-work, that particular riff is arguably the instrumental highlight of the whole record, with a melodeath tinge atop thrashtastic rhythms. The second-place finish goes to the starting riff in the following track, “Messianic Shadows.” And how about the first half of “Promise Never Made”… (Also note the sparing use of keyboards as accents alongside A.B’s spoken vocals, making that particular song the epic centerpiece of the record…) Almost every track on Wasteworld features some really cool melodic hook, either in the speedy lead guitar riffs or in the few moments of mid-tempo chug that provide temporary respite from the record’s head-spinning tempo.
If the last few Kreator discs or the early, non-sucky records by The Haunted weren’t (or aren’t) fast enough, melodic enough or complicated enough for you, but you love their sheen and their power, then Wasteworld’s for you. Faster thrash you may never find, and regardless of speed, Expulsion are an impressive entry to the tech-thrash fold.