“The world has changed many times and it’s changing again.” One of the things that hasn’t changed is the portentous voiceover on proggy concept albums: we’ve missed that voice. Last heard warning-
THIS YEAR …
-which, as we know, is much better than last year.
We don’t need to reach far for dystopian inspiration, but Dr Schafausen (AKA Sergio Pagnacco) makes it tuneful – ‘My Beautiful Girl’ is a heavier Meteora-era Linkin Park, which is no bad thing (although, most staff at Scream Blast Repeat would disagree!). Inspired by the heart-breaking suicide of Pagnacco’s girlfriend in 1989, the topic is analogous to Disturbed’s searing ‘Into the Fire’. This is a love letter to the lost and the nu. Sweet-sing-death-scream; fat, chuggy riffs; thunderous kick drums; soft-spoken outro. We’ve missed this.
The titular ‘Waiting for Tomorrow’ is what Thirty Seconds To Mars might have been, in some other dimension where bands sound as good as they look. Leto couldn’t have handled those death screams, or the depth and ferocity of the percussion, but he’d love the sweet centre break and brooding, plaintive harmonies. Take out the rapping, and you might even compare this to modern Deftones with those low-tuned riffs and emotive vocal notes.
‘Can’t Get the Best of Me’ screams filler. They barely bothered to describe it in the press release, but the crunchy guitars are technical and too enthralled to the djent playing style to be a nu metal pastiche. Slipknot sang about maggots. ‘Transient Parasites’ harks to another insect: Kafka’s Gregor Samsa. “I’m so helpless and alone,” he growls. It’s not a happy tale for the unfortunate critter, but the stabbing Meshuggah riffs should provide some catharsis.
‘2127’ notes the ‘27 Club’ of dead rock stars and the equally saddening fate of rappers, dead at 21. Wildly veering from the nu-metal rail track, this is Lil Nas X-style rap-song, trap bass and pop-hop percussive claps. Until the two-minute mark, that is, when we’re back to Slipknot shouts and fret rage, before segueing into an uneasy combination of the two. It’s not the best track here, but easily the most interesting.
Dr Schafausen is a literal doctor, with a PhD in audiology sciences. ‘I Will Never Live in Silence’ is a musical essay on the effects of tinnitus, but those not armed with the liner notes will just hear a rousing thrashy din with some pleasantly pleasing melodies. The Iron Maiden-style twinned arpeggios around the three-minute mark are delightful.
The notes accompanying ‘Crypto Violence’ reveal Waiting for Tomorrow’s central weakness: it’s not half as clever as it thinks it is. Facile clichés are presented as insight, shrouded in musical components that are equally clichéd. It’s the Dark Knight Rises of albums: deceptively shallow, offering little we haven’t seen before, but crowd-pleasing, nonetheless.
Release Date: 09/03/2021
Record Label: Sliptrick Records
Standout tracks: My Beautiful Girl, Waiting for Tomorrow, 2127
Suggested Further Listening: Slipknot – Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses (2004), Linkin Park – Meteora (2003), Disturbed – Indestructible (2008)