The anger is waxing
Post-punk rock band Imperial Wax must’ve been eager to write this new album and get their emotions out. Gastwerk Saboteurs is not stagnant a debut, though its variety may not appeal to non-punk fans. The band, made up of members from the UK band The Fall, surely enjoys jamming out sans vocals, seeing that two of the songs are over nine minutes and populated with repetitive, well, jam-out sections. Elsewhere, angst is abound and dissatisfaction breeds.
The selfish yelling heard in the opener, “The Art of Projection,” is fueled by an external source as if someone told the singer that he needs to change his life around because he is too selfish. It very likely led to a breakup or a falling out, since this guy is churning out some noisy anger. Perhaps a follow-up to this specific set of feelings is “Barely Getting By,” track six, which, by the end of it, is parallel in its expression of displeasure to track one.
“Saying Nothing,” “No Man’s Land,” and “Poison Ivy” are other, fewer standout examples of the negativity that is quite clearly communicated throughout this whole album really, though there are spots where it seems to subside ever so slightly. The two interlude-length tunes are a touch calmer, “Wax On” and “Wax Off,” as well as they are undoubtedly verbal plays on not only the band’s name but the famous Mr. Miyagi line from “Karate Kid.” The closing number is entirely instrumental, and not as frantic as songs like “Turncoat” and not as powerful or aggressive as the other 9-minute track, “Rammy Taxi Illuminati.” However, nine minutes of instrumental is a lot to take in.
A common scenario in albums that are rather clearly in one genre, is that the track that feels the most different ends up being a standout, like “Dancing in the Dark” on Imagine Dragons “Evolve” (a review that came through this reviewer) or “Under the Bridge” on the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Blood Sugar Sex Magik.” That happens here with “More Fool Me,” perhaps the best tune to show non-punk friends to try and ease them into the genre. For those non-punk types, getting to this point in the album will feel like an earning some sort of reward, a transient one at that.
In every song on Gastwerk Saboteurs, there is negativity to be found, but let’s hope that singing and playing through the pain helps these guys get through. Not a dynamite album, but worth a spin nevertheless.