REVIEW: Waste – Pray for Nothing [2021]

Artist: Waste

Album: Pray For Nothing

            Waste is one of those words with a spectrum of meaning—just as it can be adapted into a verb, a noun or an adjective (even an adverb, technically), it can take on just as many beings. One can embody waste; to be worthless or akin to refuse. One can waste; time, money, energy and emotion among other things, or, similarly, something can be a waste—the physical properties of the action described by the verb form. You get the point. Ultimately, these various connotations and contexts for the word capture that which is despicable, despised or detested—and it sure as hell captures the atmosphere and energy radiated by the blistering young heavy act of the same name. Waste capture crushing breakdowns and visceral grooves and deliver them in a succinct, sinister package on Pray for Nothing—a robust collection of ruthless hard-hitting anthems that sacrifice intricacy for pure, immolating hatred. Coming out of what seems like nowhere with a full-bodied full length record packed to the brim with things to throw ‘bows to, Pray for Nothing starts strong and refuses to relent, giving enthusiasts of all things heavy a straight-forward, frill-free release to kickstart an otherwise sluggish year.

            Pray For Nothing is a furious release that follows in the footsteps of bands like Spite or Monolith that fall somewhere in the deathcore-metalcore spectrum but don’t cleanly adhere to clear-cut borders that define either genre. On one hand, songs like “Faceless” and “Pray For Nothing” are pure vitriol—songs that use scathing blast beats and jarring grooves alongside gut-busting breakdowns to capture an almost unmistakable “deathcore” vibe. Other songs—especially those that define the record’s front half—borrow heavily from the contemporary fight-riff-filled nature of modern metalcore a la Extortionist and Distinguisher, albeit with a gloomier and more brooding flair. Here, thick, punchy percussion trods along in catchy, groovy and moderate candor while low-tuned and lurid guitars partner with slinking, crunchy bass tones to create a bombastic, breakdown-laden onslaught on the listener. Other cuts—like “Sorrow”—are more moderate, using an eerie near-spoken segment to kick off an otherwise explosive salvo of flesh-rending percussion and dissonant fretwork. “Fiend” and “Sleepless” are two more songs that see the band backing off on sharp leads and riff-driven segments In favor of low-down-and-dirty groovy segments that keep the listener’s head bouncing as if it were mounted on a swivel. Throughout Pray For Nothing, Waste don’t get that fancy—there really aren’t any moments where the listener’s jaw is going to slack in terms of instrumental intricacy. Instead, the listener’s jaw is more…forcibly dislocated, as the band focus on combining high-energy and hellish aggression, with a polished, well-rounded and dynamic production that lends added depth to the low end (especially on “Faceless”) while still ensuring that the sharp, snappy elements (the snare and leads, especially throughout the record’s title track) still cut through the dizzying layers of dismal, devastating dissonance.

            Where Waste are more technically impressive is with their vocal element. In a fashion, every opportunity the band opted for instrumental modesty, one could argue, was done so the band’s frontman could flex just that much harder. Hitting just about every register and style one could want, Pray For Nothing is a vocal fetishist’s dream come true. “Pray For Nothing” and “Faceless” see squeals and raspy screeches thrown into the mix alongside crazed and frenzied mid-range yells, while “Bully” and “Fiend” waste no time in highlighting the frontman’s fearsome low end. Where the vocals are concerned, Waste throw modesty out of the window, and practically tackle the listener with track after track of songs that combine seemingly boundless vocal diversity with lyrical content that spans from sociopolitical trends to antipathy bordering on sociopathy.

            There exists only one thing left to address when it comes to Waste, and as much as I’d like to just forego it, it kind of has to be said: in many ways, Waste follows in Spite’s footsteps—and throughout some portions of Pray for Nothing, they feel as though they may follow a little too closely. Take the album’s titular track, for example. The closing, climactic breakdown feels eerily similar to the closing portion of Spite’s two-part “Digging” series. Likewise, “Sleepless” and its vocal patterns are remarkably similar to a couple different patterns heard throughout Nothing is Beautiful. Then, yeah, there’s the fact that Waste’s frontman sounds suspiciously like Spite’s Darius Tehrani, but If we’re being honest, that’s beyond anyone’s control and a true complement if ever there was one. This whole statement isn’t to say that Waste are copying, trend-hopping, plagiarizing or anything like that—that’s not what I’m saying at all—but its worth mentioning that some of the similarities are truly hard to ignore. Ultimately, Pray For Nothing is an absolute slaughterhouse of a record. Demented, twisted and dastardly from start to finish, Waste create something wicked, fun and wholly heavy. While maybe a little more instrumental variety would have added some extra depth to the record, it’s hard to ask anything more from a release that set out to be as relentless as possible and, largely, succeeded.


For Fans Of: Spite, Bodysnatcher, Extortionist, Beacons

By: Connor Welsh