Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Album Review: "Mass Confusion" by Dust Bolt

In many ways thrash is the subgenre of music which permanently put heavy metal on the map in the United States.  Sunset Strip glam metal was hugely popular and slightly preceded thrash.  However, many argue glam metal is not true metal and it has clearly fallen out of favor.  (I believe glam metal is true metal, it has never fallen out of my favor, and I continue to worship at its altar regularly, but realize it has its detractors).   

The Florida death metal scene was also an American contribution, and has a tremendously devoted fan base, but has failed to produce any genre transcending iconic bands.  

Thrash on the other hand, having hit its peak during the height of  American metal interest in the late 80, produced some of metal music’s few undeniably metal household names, such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax.  In addition, thrash has remained a viable genre, with new thrash albums blasting their way into our ears regularly.

It is a testament to the continuing influence of thrash that a band would immerge from south Germany delivering the musical hallmarks of a style mostly born in San Francisco.  Dust Bolt has all the breakneck riffing, intricate musicianship and thundering chords of thrash, however their vocal style is very different.  

Vocalist Lenny Breuss drives the songs with a rhythmic, anthemic shouting which is closer to a hardcore band than anything you would hear on a Megadeth album.  Their third album “Mass Confusion” is a crossover thrash amalgamation of the sounds of early Metallica mixed with the sounds of recent Hatebreed.  It is fast, aggressive and relentless.  The only let up being slow melodic passages which open a few songs, serving as the calm before the storm. 
Dust Bolt
During my initial listen the similarities between Dust Bolt and Hatebreed stood out the most, with a vocal style which reminded me of Jamey Jasta. However, the second time through  I felt the case could be made for Breuss sounding like Tom Araya of Slayer.  There are even moments I could hear similarities to Corey Taylor of Slipknot.  

These vocals are over the top of arpeggio laden solos, perfectly placed harmonic squeals, double bass drums, a galloping bass line, palm muted power chords and truly epic riffs.  While the music itself is decidedly and gloriously thrash, the vocal style drew from a diverse group of influences, and ended up creating a unique crossover thrash sound. 

It is no wonder Dust Bolt has had a meteoric rise in the German metal scene, and has earned a spot as a supporting act in festivals and tours featuring some of the biggest names in metal.  Hopefully, the future will include a North American tour, where they can triumphantly bring their sound back to the Bay Area which helped spawn it.

Release: 7/8/16
Genre: Thrash Metal, Hardcore, Crossover Thrash
Label: Napalm Records

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