Raunchy
Wasteland Discotheque

I like sweets – occasionally. Usually I find some new candy that’s relentlessly addictive, and I binge on it for awhile, until I tire of it. The same can be said of a band like Raunchy. They have a sound that is ridiculously catchy and formulated for mass appeal – the kind of stuff that you hear for the first time and immediately find yourself bobbing your head, tapping your feet and singing/screaming along with the chorus. The problem is with stuff like this is that you’ll want to hear it over and over again until the flavor becomes old and/or stale. Now I realize that a lot of metal fans do not like such stuff at all, but I don’t find anything wrong with fulfilling a sweet tooth every now and then.

Raunchy’s style could be summarized as pop tinged melodic death metal, possibly even bordering on American metalcore, but it hasn’t always been so, or at least I’m told. Their first two albums are fairly high praised slabs of melodeath crossed with Strapping Young Lad styled industrial metal, and glossed over with a pop-like sheen. I’ve never heard them myself, so I can’t back that statement 100%, but I seem to get that description or something like it pretty consistently. However, Wasteland Discotheque and their prior release Death Pop Romance (which had sunk its teeth into me for a short while a couple years back) seem to lack that industrial element nearly completely, and have replaced it with more focus on the catchy/pop aspects.

Wasteland Discotheque is built around a sharp modern production with the melodies and vocals out front, and a keen understanding of pop aesthetics. Simple head bobbing drum beats can easily be exchanged for furious double beats and busy fills; soaring and instantly memorable melodies can be traded for jagged and sharp rhythms; catchy clean vocals can be swapped with all out screaming – they do a pretty good job of mixing it up, keeping things from becoming too monotonous or repetitive, but even then it is a tad formulaic. Most songs here move at a fairly brisk pace, with nuggets of pop cropping up in all the usual places (i.e. the chorus) where the tempo is almost always slowed. There are several moments of brilliant lead work, candy coated or not, and a fairly tasteful use of keys in places. The title track and “A Heavy Burden” see them incorporating a fair amount of industrial sounds, but it’s pretty much limited to those two.

Just for shits and grins, I have to mention that the band has included a cover of Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” – not the greatest choice of covers, but whatever – they make it sound like it their own.

In the end, there’s no denying that Raunchy are excellent songwriters and they do what they do as well as anybody, but stuff like this is not really meant to have a lasting impact. As I said before, the flavor wears out quickly. I’d have to imagine their greatest potential would be as a “gateway” band to heavier grounds for those new to the genre, but for those seasoned, your time would probably be better spent elsewhere, unless you need to satisfy a sweet tooth.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
December 3rd, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: ceno

    Nice review, Larry. I would also call it a one-week album, though in my case I haven’t heard it enough to feel tired yet.


  2. Commented by: Stiffy

    Confusion Bay was a realy good album. Maybe I’ll give this a shot


  3. Commented by: Staylow

    Confusion Bay and…whats the other one? Velvet Noise? I don’t quite remember. Those are the two I haven’t heard. These most recent two are good for a little bit, but it soon becomes tiresome. If the first two have more of a lasting impact, then maybe I should check them out, because what they’re doing here is bordering on really cool – the poppy overtones just need to be lessened.


  4. Commented by: Power_of_Sire

    I haven’t heard their first two offerings either but they seem to get a lot of praise. I have Death Pop Romance and it never really stuck with me. I will however admit I am a sucker for poppy metal. I will check this one out but Im not expexting to much. Nice review Staylow!


  5. Commented by: Apollyon

    Velvet Noise, I thought, was awesome. Haven’t liked the stuff that has come after that too much (Confusion Bay was just ‘ok’.) New one is forgettable.


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