Meth Leppard – Woke

Formed in South Australia, Meth Leppard is one of many modern grind/metal acts who use humor to tackle day to day political and societal conflicts. The Leppard themselves remind me of King Parrot and Six Brew Bantha particularly, as each of these bands seems to approach day to day life with a sneering form of sarcasm and humor that I genuinely find obnoxious. King Parrot makes it work well enough but, especially when it comes down to the band of the hour, the humor is trite and bland more often than not. Songs titles like “Dead Kardashians,” “Boomer,” and “Sick Bern” give the listener hints of just how obnoxious this record is in terms of “message.” Even when this type of humor is done well, it can’t help but feel like a crutch for what really lies behind the soon-to-be-poorly-aged references: mediocre grindcore.

Maybe calling what Meth Leppard are doing here mediocre is a bit harsh, as they manage to cram in some legitimately fun riffs into a pretty fast 15 minutes. They manage their time wisely, opting to fill tracks like “Surplus or Die” with blasting grind as opposed to bogging down time with on-the-nose samples or any form of frivolous experimentation. Barring some slower chugs on the title track and “Elitism,” this is as straightforward as grindcore gets. Tight performances, meaty production, and chaotic energy are aplenty here. 

Yet, on the other hand, I can’t help but feel like Meth Leppard utterly lack anything that makes them stand out. They meet the minimum requirements of making music that doesn’t suck shit, but they lack that powerful presence that you need to have on a record. They’re too clean and cheeky to resemble grindcore’s roots, but they’re also missing out on the essential umph needed to stand out in a sea of modern groups. It’s plainly not impressive to just play fast in the year of our (dark) lord 2020. These Aussies sure as hell have some chops to their playing and I’d even argue that they’ve got a decent amount of potential when it comes to said performing. The material just isn’t unique, heavy, or engaging enough to say that I wholeheartedly enjoyed this album.

Without a lyrics sheet to go by, I have no clue what to make of the song titles beyond vague references to American and global politics (trust me, I don’t need an Aussie to tell me how fucked America’s political system is – I have fucking eyes). This said, naming your album something like Woke and your songs things like “Sixty Nine Feet Under” lead me to believe you’re just taking the piss (and not in a clever way). It sucks because no matter how much potential these guys have, Meth Leppard currently stands for political memes. As we learned from bands like Neckbeard Deathcamp and Anal Trump (both bands with their hearts in the right place), political memes may get attention on Metalinjection.com, but it’s gonna leave listeners with a bad taste in their mouth if you can’t back up your vague political affiliations with strong music.

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