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Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Wasteland

Label: Rise Above Records
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8.5/10

We’ll start this review on a personal note. I interviewed Rise Records president, Lee Dorrian, in 2017, and Uncle Acid were one of the bands in his stable that he spoke highly of. I then heard their 2017 re-release, of “Vol 1,” 2010. . . and sure, I liked it, but full disclosure: I didn’t think it was extraordinary. Listening to their new album for 2018, “Wasteland,” I finally get what the big deal is with this band. With the right guidance, money, and luck, they could easily ascend to become Modern Doom royalty.


They continue with their consciously retro 70s sound, from production to guitar tone to everything, but they’ve mastered the art of the engaging, gripping, well-written song. Track 3, “No Return,” is a masterpiece, but is mainly the same thing repeated for about 6 minutes, until they indulge in 2 minutes of ambient outro with spoken-word soundbytes edited in. Since we started this on a personal note: I sat an extra two minutes in the car in my garage, wanting to hear the song in its entirety. There are a few songs on this record that are basically repetitions of the same musical phrases over and over for the duration. None of then fail, but some are more successful than others. “Shockwave City” and “Blood Runner” are two of the other best of the record. Their love of Black Sabbath is no secret, but they also channel Heavy 1970s acts like Judas Priest, Focus, Rush, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Triumph, Alice Cooper, etc. The drug reference right in the band name might give the wrong impression; sure, this music can be stamped with the “Stoner” genre label, but it has no requirement for the audience to be under any chemical or natural influences. This is good stuff for sober people too. Vocalist/guitarist Kevin Starrs has a constant light distortion fuzz on his high, soft singing voice, which usually matches the guitar tone, but is even present over the acoustic strumming of “Wasteland,” the title track. That song in itself is a fairly basic chord progression, but Uncle expertly guide it to a satisfying climax on a higher plane. In summary, I’m sorry I’ve been a deadbeat Uncle Acid enthusiast. Wasteland is a great record. Tune in and turn on. . .

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