Wasted Struggle – Agenda of Fear

Band: Wasted Struggle
Title: Agenda of Fear (EP)
Label: Sludgelord Records
Release Date: 17 January 2020
Country: Hungary
Format Reviewed: Digital Download

Well, good luck categorizing this one.

On the Bandcamp page for Hungary’s WASTED STRUGGLE, tags helpfully include “Punk”, “Hardcore”, “Chaotic Hardcore”, “Metal” and “Black Metal”. Make your way to the Sludgelord Records page for this, the band’s latest release “Agenda of Fear”, and add to that “Blackened Sludge”, “Doom Post-Metal”, “Grindcore”, “Screamo”, “Sludge Metal”, “Stoner Doom”. Hmmm. Basically, the sounds on this EP summon thoughts of panic, frenzy, and carnage, with some very wild and urgent riffing, hurled in front of your face like acidic fairy dust, while you tumble down a hillside backward.

“Hardcore”? Well, it’s furious and frenetic and abrasive; thundering along, like a beat up muscle car, belching petrol, but still able to charge down the highway at 100mph. “Grindcore”? Insane, propulsive drumming, sudden shifts without warning, lurching from crazy angular rhythm to another. “Sludge Metal”? Screaming, filthy, sickening riffs, gut churning screams. “Blackened Sludge”….? I’ll be honest, I don’t even know what that means.

The opening title track and “Bell’s Hypothesis” kick things off in face ripping fashion; rapid fire, molten lava riffing, with great, sudden headbanging breakdowns, where you really get the visceral feel of the chugging guitars, like they’re slicing meat.

“Mass Hypnosis” hangs on a great, zigzagging, ascending guitar riff. The breakdown when it comes this time is very reminiscent of noise masters UNSANE and even more so CONVERGE, which becomes an increasingly relevant reference point as the EP continues. The final third of the track with its brooding rhythm and high, ringing guitar notes are extremely affecting.

And from here on in the momentum doesn’t let up. The drums on “Confinement” offers a great pounding tom rhythm, that could almost pass for QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE in one of their more manic, speeding Heavy Metal moments. “Battles”, meanwhile has a great, sleazy swing to it, possibly channelling some of the classic, Proto-Punk spirit of THE STOOGES, and there’s a cool call and response vocal part towards the end of the track.

TODAY IS THE DAY are another relevant reference point to the careering madness of this release. Standout track “Grey” opens with a relentlessly hammering rhythm, before suddenly shifting into an out of the blue dark, melodic allusion to Steve Austin’s peerlessly creative, experimental, Noise Metal masters (specifically “Heathen” from 2014’s “Animal Mother”), with again a strong association of CONVERGE in the ominous dissonant tones the band creates.

I’m starting to get a little self-conscious that I might be seen to be throwing out too many high marks willy nilly, but what can I do? I just keep ending up with excellent new releases to review. “Agenda of Fear” is a great, manic 20minute burst of demented, jet powered fury. The antithesis of music to gently fall asleep to. 8/10 Tom Boatman

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8/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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