Dust Bolt_Mass Confusion.jpgaWith the summer truly upon us here in the Americas, what better way to celebrate sun, fun, beers and beach balls than some rehashed, rethrash from Germany? Dust Bolt is another in the endless wave of rethrash that’s been slowly eroding the shores of our collective tolerance since the early days of the millennium, some of it has been good and most merely passable. Dust Bolt‘s 2014 Awaken the Riot was one of the better recent platters of thrash n’ bash and I enjoyed their fusion of vintage Kreator and Sepultura with punky rage and youthful energy. They did absolutely nothing new but what they did was with such enthusiasm, they won over even a jaded first wave thrash vet like myself. I hoped they could keep the good times rolling with Mass Confusion, but like all successful parties, eventually you run out of beer and good cheer. The keg isn’t completely kicked here, but it’s coming out foamy, and you know what that portends….

In the band photo below you’ll notice the rocking of a Suicidal Tendencies hat. That’s prophetic, as Mass Confusion sees Dust Bolt punking up their style considerably. The hardcore element was there before but served merely as an accent to traditional thrash fare. Now it’s much more a focus and the songs often feel rowdy and goofy rather than furious and pissed off. At times this makes them sound more metalcore-ish than one would expect, and that’s rarely a good thing.

Things open with a short sharp dose of thrash on “Sick X Brain” and it’s effective and furious but quickly jumps into a big breakdown, almost as if to alert listeners what looms ahead. The title track features their tried-and-true mixture of German and Bay area thrash which is welcome, but sadly, the song itself is fairly generic and doesn’t stick. “Allergy” mixes left over Exodus riffs with a punk attitude and while it’s thrashy and energetic with some interesting riff ideas, it feels flat and the shouted vocals and gang-shouts are not particularly appealing.

Dust Bolt_2016.jpga

It isn’t until the album’s halfway point that a song really jumps out at you, and oddly enough it’s the weirdly emo power-ballad, “Exit.” Kicking off with gentle acoustic strumming and angst-ridden vocals it’s such a stark departure from the band’s typical work product it can’t help but grab you. It gets heavier along the way, adopting an oddly epic feel along with vocals right off a Bush album. It’s definitely an odd duck with some core-leanings, but it works and ends up and album standout. “Empty Faces” also manages to impress with a simplistic but thrashy aproach that isn’t quite as interesting as the band’s earlier days but has enough quality riffing to keep one banging along.

The rest of the album is either decent but uninspired thrash with pirated Slayer riffs (“Turned to Grey,” “Blind to Art”) or questionable ditties like “Taking Your Last Breath” which starts off sounding like a bad Body Count song (as to differentiate it from the average Body Count songs). At 47 minutes Mass Confusion doesn’t feel too long so much as it feels generic, uneventful and lacking in intensity.

We all know thrash lives, dies and kills posers based on the quality of the riffs, and though there are some enjoyable ones scattered across the album, many of them are of the chugga-wugga variety and do little to pique the ear. They do rob the Big Vault of Slayer Riffs more than last time, but the results are not particularly exciting. The same goes for their depredations at the Waffle House of Exodus and the Beer Garden of Kreator. Making matters worse, Lenny B’s vocals are much less intense and over-the-top this time. Rather than a rough thrash rasp, he’s more based around a simple shout and it doesn’t lend much punch to the mix aside from the infrequent scream. It actually gets annoying on several tracks and I kept wishing for more aggression.

As an admirer of the earlier works of the Dust Bolt catalog, it pains me to see them become just another rethrasher with one High Top in the past and one in modern metal. Mass Confusion isn’t the worst thrash you’ll hear this year, far from it, but there isn’t a helluva lot to bring you on board and keep you there either. Looks like this summer’s speed will be supplied by old guard thugs like Anthrax and Death Angel while the young and the restless get their shit together for another wave. Cowabunga.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: facebook.com/dustbolt
Releases Worldwide: July 8th, 2016

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  • brutal_sushi

    This feels like a “summer fling” type of album. Put it on really loud in your car, driver around, drink some beers, thrash out for a minute, then go back to deep emotive prog rock.

    • DoublePedalGangstaMetal

      I was with until that last sentence.
      Why not just put on some ST now that you’ve come this far and make a night of it?

      • brutal_sushi

        “Deep emotive prog rock” is a fill in line for what you tend to listen to the most

        • DoublePedalGangstaMetal

          Ehh, OK. Guess I need to brush up on my metal blog lingo if that is the case.
          Anywho, whatever rocks your boat mate.
          Have a good one. Cheers.

        • DoublePedalGangstaMetal

          If that came off as condescending it wasn’t meant to. Did mean that last part. Horns up.

    • Diego Molero

      Just don’t drink and drive.

    • Blueberry Balls

      Replace deep emotive prog rock with Inquisition and you have my formula.

  • eloli

    I wasn’t aware of this release, thanks for the heads up.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    I thought for sure Fisting would be in here with all this Body Count name-dropping.

    • DoublePedalGangstaMetal

      “Evil Dick don’t care about Dust Bowl
      Evil Dick just wants long, hairy corn rows”

    • Blueberry Balls

      Ice T will mangle yo dangle, son!

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        You cannot fucking do this after I’ve begun relaxing with a couple beers. Miller Lite is expensive and I almost spewed it up everywhere after reading that. You glorious bastard.

        • Blueberry Balls

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I fucking knew it.

          • Goatwhore has a great ass!

          • Blueberry Balls

            I’d bang that goat! Yee-haww!!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    It’s really hard being a Thrash Metal band… The real good stuff was made between 1983 and 1999 at most, and even the best bands of the time’s current output can’t match their early prime. New bands have it even worse because even when they are really good they make you want to listen to their influences…

    • NEKROMANTHEON!

      • Juan has a point, but so do you.
        Rise, Vulcan Spectre might be one of the best Thrash albums of this century.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Two votes for them, now I’ll have to check Nekromantheon out…

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      It’s really hard being a Thrash Metal band…unless your name is Vektor.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        If your name is Vektor you’re actually making it even harder for the other Thrash Metal bands.

  • WhamBamSam

    As this month’s crop of shamelessly retro releases from the new guard go, I think I’ll stick with the new Monument. I’ve never seen such a slavish (or should I say Powerslavish) exercise in Maiden worship, but it pulls it off pretty damn well.

  • Blueberry Balls

    Last one was fun! Going to check this out. Weirdest name though. Never got it.

  • GardensTale

    Tiny typo: exciting, not exiting. Good review otherwise, I’m already not that big on thrash in general so mediocre thrash certainly ain’t entering my ears.