Wastefall - Soulrain 21
Sleaszy Rider Records
Jazzy Progressive Metal
10 songs (60:02)
Release year: 2004
Wastefall, Sleaszy Rider Records
Reviewed by Joe
Archive review

The Greeks have a reputation for being very fiery and passionate people. This may or may not be true but this reputation certainly applies to Greek band Wastefall. Their second release Soulrain 21, is an album brimming with anger, frustration and melancholy and the best thing is you really get to feel the emotion coming through the speakers. Titled after twenty-one teenagers were killed in a horrible accident in Greece, but the subject most sung about I feel is quite simply: The Man. The management, Government, whatever you want to call it, Wastefall are certainly angry, young men trying to stick it to The Man and you know what? They do a good job of it. Fans of Pain Of Salvation may get slight deja vu listening to Wastefall, with not just the music, but singer Domenikos Papaemmanouil (he likes to be known as just Domenik, although I can't imagine why), also playing guitars and keyboards, sounding remarkably similar to POS's Daniel Gildenlow with his scream/shout/spoken/sing technique. Domenik is to be admired all the same for he does a standup job and communicates the lyrics with a rare passion in his voice.

Their first album Fallen Stars and Rising Scars was a bit too slow and possibly too much of a blues/jazz feel for my liking. That said, Soulrain 21 still possesses a subtle jazz influence but has notched up the metal aspect ten fold with some simple but effective down tuned riffs throught the album. By jazz influences, I don't mean any toe tapping, knee slapping, overlong and self indulgent jazz music involving trumpets and saxophones. No sir, it's simply the off beat structure of the music, the groove laden sudden breakdowns and a strong bass sound that works wonders with a heavy progressive metal core that is Wastefall.

A rather cool instrumental opens the album, with Soulrain displaying perfectly the feel for the whole album: heavy, off beat and an interesting Mediterranean feel with violins and plenty of acoustic guitar throughout the album. Stunned to the World is one of the heaviest and aggressive songs on the album and doesn’t put a foot wrong. In fact, the entire album seems to flow very well, with just the right mixture of heavy parts against slower, acoustic passages. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but all the songs have a similar sound, all tarred with the same brush if you will. With that in mind, we have a very consistent album that makes it hard to pick out any particular stand out track. If you love that Mediterranean, jazzy sound then Empty Haven is just that. Their Greek heritage certainly shines through, check out Domenik’s wailing near the end of the song, nice stuff. Lullaby for the Gods is perhaps one of the stranger tracks on Soulrain 21. Starting off as almost a classical track but then changing into basically a vehicle for Domenik to vent his anger with plenty of shouting and yelling. It does work surprisingly well and again the Pain Of Salvation similarities are inescapable.

Lesser and Live With It both continue the pace and quality of song writing presented in the previous songs with the former containing a fantastic chorus and Domenik’s singing reminded me of Matt Barlow formerly of Iced Earth and now of Pryamaze, very aggressive and powerful. This trait appears here and there on Soulrain 21 and proves what a versatile singer Domenik is. Summerlonging Angels is an unorthodox ballad in my view. Not really over-the-top or soppy but again with the strong Mediterranean influences, it’s almost an upbeat ballad but slows down the pace considerably and a necessary change from the other songs. Self-Extinction Project is along the same lines as Stunned to the World and Lesser but still contains enough variety to keep things interesting. Riot of Oblivion shows Wastefall at their most versatile. A ten minute number which comprises everything great about the album, including their own Greek touch, the heaviness and the off beat jazz style appears most prominent in this remarkable song. The last track called 21, is a downcast ballad speaking of the accident mentioned before. Not sure if this really suits as a finale and it isn’t quite as well written as the other songs. It’s certainly not bad, but just not something that you would want to keep coming back to with each play.

A hugely engrossing and in depth album, Soulrain 21 feels very fresh in a time when many prog bands tend to to go another way. There certainly are some wild solos and a huge prog feel, but despite some strong Pain Of Salvation influences, Wastefall have written something that can be easily identifiable as their own.

Killing Songs :
All great
Joe quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Wastefall that we have reviewed:
Wastefall - Fallen Stars And Rising Scars reviewed by Ken and quoted 70 / 100
Wastefall - Self Exile reviewed by Al and quoted 75 / 100
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There are 4 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Nov 01, 2007 11:43 am
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