Dust Bolt // Violent Demolition
Rating: 4.0/5.0 — Natalie Z. jumps on the re-thrash bandwagon!
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: facebook.com/dustbolt | reverbnation.com/dustbolt
Release Dates: EU: 2012.07.27 | US: 08.07.2012
Written By: Natalie Zed
Thrash revivalists Dust Bolt are based in Germany, and Violent Demolition is their first full-length. Formed in 2006, they also produced the EP Chaos Possession in 2010. While this band are working in a genre with a ridiculous amount of competition [armed with skull tanks, no less! – AMG], this album displays the balance of skill and drive, skillfully deployed momentum, so pull ahead of the pack.
Dust Bolt have definitely pulled from German-inspired thrash when it comes to the origin of their aesthetics. While they are certainly aware of the Bay Area movement (especially the galloping pace of Slayer and the sheer force of Death Angel) and draw sparingly from that sound, it’s obvious that Kreator is their biggest influence. This result in a rawer, more primal and aggressive sounds that the more polished acts of the 90s, and even more so contemporary thrash bands. Dust Bolt‘s sound is filled with lots of grit and growl, like the throaty purr of a vintage Harley.
Violent Demolition is characterized by an excellent take on production: not too clean, but the sound is huge. The emphasis of the production is all space and power. The fat, chugging guitar tone, supplied by Lenny B. And Flo D., is front and centre, just enough buzz and torque to generate some friction and grip in the ear. There is a great back and forth to the riffing as well, duelling axe work that only occasionally unites is a bang-on harmony. Conversely, the production also gives the solos a much smoother treatment, so the performances flow and glitter like liquid crystal in the ear. The drums are low in the mix, roll like far-away thunder, which makes them seem more ominous. Lenny B’s vocals are basic, rough-and-tumble growling, used more as an accent that a centrepiece, but perfectly adequate and suit the rest of the sound well.
While there is much to comment on, the best thing about Violent Demolition is the pacing. Dust Bolt come from a tradition of speed and intensity, never keep up the blistering pace sheerly for the sake of it. Likewise, they don’t indulge in any lugubrious, brooding passages just because. They allow the songs to ebb and flow very naturally, letting the gears grind down a bit here and there before roaring back to life. Seeing it done this well really allows you to appreciate an excellent sense of rhythm and pace, and note how relatively rare it is in contrast.
Violent Demolition blasts out of the gate with “Opulence Contaminated,” which sets the tone admirably with it’s thick, stylized riff structures and impudent energy. The album highlight is unquestionably “Pleasure on Illusion,” which features a particularly excellent solo as well as some genuinely surprising and well-executed shifts in tempo. It demonstrates great skill without posturing or showing off – a hard balance to strike, but Dust Bolt do it consistently and well.
I find it hard to get excited about anything but the absolute best in thrash metal, especially anything with a retro tint to it. It’s very much a saturated market, and rife with mediocrity besides. But Dust Bolt prove that they are worthy of your time and attention with Violent Demolition. It is hardly a life-altering or genre-defying album, but not everything has to be innately challenging. This is a satisfying, well-executed, solidly good record that goes down smooth. If you’re a trash fan who can’t gen enough of your favourite aural drug of choice, this is certainly one to pick up.