Brian E. Smith (vocals/guitar), Blake McWhorter (bass) and Mark Baker (drums) are WAXRUINS. The band released HEAVYGAZER which effortlessly combines elements of shoegaze, alternative and post-rock with a bit of drone metal. Right up front I’ll say they have released a stellar album. It’s got a little in there for fans of esoteric music.
Take for instance “Clarity and Inclusions” which has elements of bands like Sunn O))) and Queens of the Stone Age. At their most rocking the music veers towards hard rock but once the sheets of white noise appear they certainly fall closer into drone metal territory.
The band also goes into more classic shoegaze territory comparable to Ride on “Praise a Name.” It’s pretty incredible how intricately connected the band makes the genres feel. It’s something that takes creative control and usually a good amount of pre-production.
The production fits the bill as well. They got an appropriate sound for what they were trying to accomplish. The vocals are a bit buried, the drums are crisp, the bass is defined and the guitars have just about the perfect amount of distortion.
“(Sparks) Into Mountains” is unequivocally the centerpiece. The song starts off in clear post-rock territory. Nostalgic, thought provoking and quiet beautiful. I wasn't expecting it but was happy to hear. Thank god they don’t go down a predictable post-rock path which has been done to death ever since Explosions in the Sky helped bring attention to the genre on Friday Night Lights. I’m a little inclined to not spoil where this song goes but what I will say is that it is unpredictably epic not unlike the under appreciated release Stubborn Persistent Illusions by Do Make Say Think.
The band gets its heaviest on “Return” while “Strange Sorcery” reminded me the most of ’90s grunge in an Alice In Chains type of way.
WAXRUINS is on top of it. The most impressive aspect is the integration of various genres which would be mishandled in a lesser band. Don’t pass this up. Highly recommended.
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