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Wasted Shells
The Collector
February 2014
Released: 2013, Broken Bones Distribution
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: UK Team

The first thing you’re likely to notice about ‘The Collector,’ the second album by Swedish metallers Wasted Shells is the sheer energy at work. On opening track ‘Machine,’ they rocket out of the starting gates with a single minded commitment to high-speed aggro metal and are so hyperactive they could make Alexei Laiho look like the Dalai Lama. It’s like injecting pure caffeine into your veins, while simultaneously chugging shots of Red Bull through your eyes before charging naked into the night with a baseball bat and a bad temper.

And once that initial shock has worn off, you’ll notice the frankly excellent guitar work. There are catchy power chord riffs and spiralling solos cropping up in each and every song, so fans of blistering axe work will love this. The blistering lead at the end of ‘Thrown Down’ for example is so metal it could make your speakers bleed mercury.

But while their passion is never in doubt and the fret board masturbation is top notch, Wasted Shells have one significant drawback – the clean vocals of singer Ola Svensson. This is a real shame because for the most part, ‘The Collector’ is tremendous fun to listen to and when he’s barking out guttural screams and an Anselmo-style drawl, Svensson could stand with the best of them. But when he switches to a softer approach, things fall flat. It’s not entirely clear if this is down to production problems or his own skill as a vocalist, but choruses that should soar instead come across as rather blunted and forced.

This is especially problematic on ‘The Atheist’ and ‘Used To Be Mine,’ both of which rely heavily on the clean singing style and while they’re still very good songs, it’s hard not to think of other frontmen who could do a better job at the melodic parts.

Get past that however and there is still a massive pile of mosh potatoes to stick your face into. ‘Bulwark’ for example is positively blinding and features a remorselessly heavy outro crush reminiscent of the closing moments of ‘Davidian.’ There’s also one stand out pit anthem in ‘Stand Alone’ and while it might not be a major selling point, the artwork is really damn cool too.

All of which means that ‘The Collector’ might not be an instant classic, but as the musical equivalent of a night spent with a six pack and a Jason Statham movie, this’ll do just fine. And if you ever need to revive someone from a drug induced coma but can’t find any adrenaline shots, sticking this album on should have much the same effect.

Review by Tim Bolitho-Jones
Track Listing

1. Machine
2. Stand Alone
3. Thrown Down
4. The Atheist
5. Used to Be Mine
6. A Barren Country and the Walking Dead
7. Man o' Mankind
8. The Fall
9. Bulwark


Ola Svensson - Vocals
Marcus Skantz - Guitar
Tobias Ohlsson - Bass
Kristoffer Ling - Synth
Jonathan Sennö - Drums
Johan Svensson - Guitar

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