Wasted Theory may present themselves as the proverbial rock ‘n’ roll outlaws, but there’s a surprising amount of method to their madness. The Delaware quartet releases their albums in regular two-year intervals and has stayed close to a riff-driven southern blues metal formula since their 2012 formation. When a band is this dedicated to a style, variations between their efforts aren’t based on what has changed but rather on how well their persistent elements are executed.
In this sense, their third full-length Warlords of the New Electric picks up right where 2016’s Defenders of the Riff left off. It’s somewhat shorter than its predecessor, but it shows off the same COC-meets-Earthride sound, with a good deal of song variety to boot. “Drug Buzzard” plays out like Dave Sherman got ahold of “TNT,” “The Son of a Son of a Bitch” brings some appropriate swagger, and “Bastard Country” provides an especially effective mid-tempo beatdown. Just about every song also squeezes in a tempo fluctuation that avoids sounding forced.
The quartet still operates on the principles of groove and retain their excellent chemistry, but their dynamic seems to have gotten heavier between releases. The bass isn’t quite as prominent this time around, but the guitar tone is much beefier and the emphasis on riff writing furthers its dominance. The vocals also seem to have more grit behind them, not quite going into a full-on growl and still occasionally showing off some catchy lines.
I think Defenders of the Riff may still be Wasted Theory’s crowning achievement, but Warlords of the New Electric doesn’t seem pressured to live up to it. It presents a similar formula in a slightly heavier, more compact package and a continued emphasis on catchy riffs keeps things feeling fresh. Wasted Theory may have an established way of doing things, but I’d hardly call them lazy. Fans of all things stoner and southern are strongly advised to check this one out.
“The Son of a Son of a Bitch