Somewhere out there, in the multiverse of infinite possibilities, exists a world where the Beatles recorded "Helter Skelter," decided to stop cutting their hair, and never looked back. While that world might only be a dream, the next best thing comes by way of Cambridge, England's Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, a band whose psychedelic proto-metal excursions evoke the melody of a Fab Four fronted by Charles Manson, along with the creeping menace of early Black Sabbath.
Formed by guitarist, vocalist, and visionary Kevin A. Starrs, the band made its debut in 2010 with the lo-fi Vol. 1, which was made up of songs Starrs put on MySpace that gained enough of a following to demand actual release on CD. (It was also reissued in remastered form in 2017 by Rise Above.) Many of the songs on Vol. 1 were recorded with the help of a bassist and drummer, known as Kat and Red respectively, and the album made enough money that they were able to record and release a second record. Done in a friend's garage, Blood Lust was initially a small-run CD-R before first Rise Above and then Metal Blade reissued it to a wider audience. While making the record, the band split apart and Starrs roped in a new rhythm section of Dean Millar on bass and Thomas Mowforth on drums. Guitarist Yotam Rubinger also joined and the band set about making another album, again with Starrs producing.
This time the budget was a little bigger and the sound was more powerful. Mind Control was released in 2013 on Metal Blade. Their next album was inspired by cheap crime paperbacks and was meant to conjure up a bleak and grimy atmosphere while telling the tale of a serial killer. To help capture that feel, the band headed to Toe Rag Studios to work with legendary engineer Liam Watson. Starrs produced the record and played bass too, since Millar had left the band. Mowforth was also gone, replaced by Rubinger's brother Itamar on drums. The album, 2015's The Night Creeper, was a return to a lo-fi metal sound and found them gaining a wider fan base, including some hardcore psych rock devotees won over by their sound and devastating live show.
After the album's release, the band's lineup shifted again, with Vaughn Stokes joining on second guitar. Subtract the Rubinger brothers, add Jon Rice on drums, and this is the trio that headed to the legendary Sunset Studio in L.A. to record their fifth album. With the help of engineer Geoff Neal and the same echo chamber Van Halen used in the '70s, the band laid down basic tracks before Starrs took the music home to Cambridge to finish in his home studio. As with many albums released in the late 2010s, 2018's Wasteland was a politically charged and dystopian album, fueled by Starrs' massive guitars and the lo-fi, Sabbath-in-a-tin-can punch of the band. ~ Gregory Heaney