August 1st, 2014
Release length: 1:00:25
The Waystone starts off with “Iron Lady,” an enthusiastic cut with an epic touch thanks to the obvious Iron Maiden influence. While the hooks and down-tuned bass guitar presence that rattles like bones at times helps to fill the distinctively empty audio, as does the drum kit other than some cymbals. It’s not that there’s constant washout, but some just don’t sound right, likely related to a compression issue. “Resistance” has a faster pace with some superb pacing in the chords and drums during the main verses, making the tighter hooks and energy of the chorus a lot more effective and memorable. There’s also “Dreams to Nightmares” with solid Thrash Metal chugging in the main verses that gives way to a hint of Crossover for the chorus, as if a less enthusiastic Gwar until the highly melodic chorus that brings the band back to the Heavy Metal world as rich and vibrant as “Iron Lady.”
Towards the end of The Waystone, Kaine starts to get a little adventurous with song lengths. “This Soul Exchange” takes its time advancing from it’s clean guitar introduction reminiscent of the softer notes on “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera before shifting to an upbeat chorus that sounds like a full band supporting a lone minstrel from the medieval days with a message and a guitar. While it’s not a bad song, the production just can’t support this type of extensive song, especially by the seven minute point when it moves into a bit of a romantic Shoegaze approach with a simple keyboard presence in the background. The title track ends up a near twelve minute opus itself, or at least it wants to be. The first two minutes are sat in near silence, building to slower paced Iron Maiden worship that seemed to just keep going. Once again there’s no real bite to the music, everything sounds pretty lifeless for the sake of a grander track, and by the guitar solo at the seven minute mark you’ll find yourself crying aloud for it to just end, which it doesn’t. Instead there’s a keyboard solo a few minutes later that adds onto the catchy Rock oriented “Wanderer” that doesn’t really go anywhere.
Sadly, there are a few that don’t work to the band’s advantage. “The New Wave” tries to bring in a commanding performance that blends some Judas Priest elements with Alice Cooper-tinged Hard Rock in the chorus. The music itself sounds as good as it could be given the thin mastering, though the effect sounds pretty weak and common place with harsher vocals that sometimes don’t fit in with the attitude, not to mention sound like out of place rapping even though that clearly is not what they are going for. “Solidarity” allows the bass to shine at certain times, though that rattling due to the bass guitar tuning greatly hurts the main verses and some bridges. This removes the solid groove it relies on for strength right from the very beginning thanks to the softer eighties Rock introduction that works well thanks to the light hum of the instrument.
While there’s some good songs and potential present, The Waystone just ends up hard to get into. The thinner audio quality does little to help the slower songs or simpler passages, plus there’s the conflicting bass hum against a tuning that is deeper than it has any right to be on a Heavy Metal album. Tack on vocals that don’t suit the music or seem to go in a different direction than what you would expect, small to large chunks of fat that could have been trimmed down to keep things flowing smoothly, the incredibly generic material of “The New Wave” and the goes nowhere Hard Rock style of “Wanderer” and its obvious that Kaine is still going through a bit of an identity crisis in the sense that they want to include all the influences (intentionally or not) in a general theme of grand NWOBHM power and hooks. This makes The Waystone a noble album in theory but, save for a handful of catchy songs, ends up rough in execution.
01. Iron Lady – 5:47
02. The New Wave – 6:57
03. Dreams to Nightmares – 5:16
04. Solidarity – 6:44
05. Resistance – 5:42
06. Entropy (Unrelenting Chaos) – 3:39
07. This Soul Exchange – 8:16
08. Wanderer – 6:18
09. The Waystone – 11:47
|Initial Pressing Score: 6/10