Album Review: Waxeater // Extra Medium
From the land of Blooming, Indiana, but now in the bourbon-drenched stretch of Louisville, Kentucky, Waxeater is an American assault on the senses. Releasing music for over a decade, Rob Montage (vocals and guitars), Elliot Turton (bass) and Aaron Sortman (drums) brew their own form of punk rock meets grunge meets, well, whatever makes your ears bleed…in a good way. Earning a reputation for high-powered performances and humorous, tongue-in-cheek vocals has gained the group a cult-like status among their followers. The latest addition to Waxeater’s repertoire is the twelve-track album Extra Medium.
The follow-up to their no-holds-barred album Baltimore Record, Extra Medium is 30 minutes of explosive punk-rock rage and anguish. Recorded with Ohio label Phratry Records, established in 2004, Extra Medium is a sophisticated album showcasing Waxeater’s boundary-breaking sound. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the album release was pushed back from March to September – the fact is, it’s here now for everyone to enjoy.
“Their successful interplay on Extra Medium shows that with time comes wisdom, but why the hell would anyone waste a good time thinking?… This is good time music with an extreme fringe or purpose. The underlying goal of “think a little but prioritise the fun” detonates the speakers.” – Waxeater Extra Medium press release.
Beginning with the explosive track ‘We Get It’, Waxeater introduces you to their ferocious, ear-bleeding sound. Starting with steady instrumentation, which soon explode into just under four minutes of pounding drums, heavy guitars and forceful vocals, the group lay the groundwork for their angsty take on sociopolitical situations and the affect on modern life.
Without letting up for a single second, Waxeater showcases their lively sound raising emotions to breaking point until the track ‘Recent Regrets’. Bringing things down, but still pushing their agenda, the track adopts a slower, steadier hard rock style. The calmer, if you can call Waxeater calm, continues with the hard rock-influenced track ‘God Loves A Tryer’ incorporating clarity of concept in the moving lyricism.
While you may consider the album to follow a smoother approach, the immediate crescendo to ‘Give/Earn’ is an explosive reminder of their energetic sound. What I find particularly appealing about this sexualised track is the use of female vocals – softer, but as aggressive as Rob’s yelps and yowls. Ending with the blistering ‘(no) Doubt (about it)’, Waxeater leave you quivering from head to toe astounded with your Extra Medium experience.
After 12 swirling tracks, Extra Medium demonstrates Waxeater’s innovativeness and versatility fusing different styles, but placing their unique stamp on the punk-rock album. Reaching into your soul, tossing you about a few times and spewing forth in a torrent of aggressive awesomeness, Extra Medium is a punch in the face with a tequila shooter.