Having been rather busy as of late doing a paper on Edmund Husserl, I should probably be able to come up with a phenomenal introduction but instead find myself facing the Crisis of Angry Metal Guy Ledes head-on. I suppose a riff on how Grave Desecrator’s fourth full-length Dust to Lust works amusingly with Coffin Dust and Coffin Lust because coffins go with graves and chronologically Dr. A.N. Grier’s typically great work on the former came before my thoughts on the latter like the album name, but that’s not how you bait the clicks. No, that requires something scintillating and titillating, and such master baiting requires me to put down my rye and Coke and use both hands. So, I’ll make the best of the situation and bait with one hand, drink booze with my other, and tell you guys about some cool Brazilian death metal.
Grave Desecrator teeters on the edge of war metal in their sound, but play too many actual riffs and shoot for more than being a third-rate Blasphemy clone. Dust to Lust goes back to the roots of war metal, and naturally their influential countrymen Sarcófago play a sizeable role in shaping the sound here. Old Sepultura (pre-Arise) and old Slayer (pre-South of Heaven) are large influences as well, with the latter noticeably informing the chaotic guitar solos. I hear Morbid Angel in there too, primarily drawn from Altars of Madness, but Grave Desecrator isn’t as inventive and weird as that record. A contemporary band that you may be reminded of is Chile’s Slaughtbbath, especially their under-appreciated debut Hail to Fire.
Perhaps the biggest flaw of war metal is putting intensity above proper songwriting and proper dynamics, and Dust to Lust avoids this pitfall handily. Hit single “A Witching Whore” manages to successfully ride a mid-paced Slayer and Morbid Angel crossover and do something interesting with it, and the solo straight outta Haunting the Chapel made my inner Slayer fanboy happy. “One More Soul” is exactly what I was hoping for in this type of record, merging frantic Hell Awaits riffs others from Altars of Madness and Beneath the Remains with a backbone of I.N.R.I.’s deathrash for a barbaric pummeling that’s pretty addictive and memorable. The simplified Morbid Angel sound of “Gods of Death” will tickle pink those who wish more bands would rip their early stuff off instead of Gateways to Annihilation, although the one-of-a-kind soloing of Trey Azagthoth is replaced with the chaos leads of early Slayer to nice effect. “Temple of Abominations” begins on an engaging mid-paced riff that pleasantly reminds me of old Sepultura, and then goes full-on Sarcófago, albeit a wee bit more polished and precise. The solo is pure Slayer, and Morbid Angel’s debut makes an obvious yet enjoyable cameo in the sound too.
If you couldn’t tell from the above praises, Grave Desecrator isn’t much for variety. This is fine with me, as things that aren’t broken have no need to be fixed. The main issue I have with Dust to Lust is that it has a bit of fat that could’ve been trimmed. Fifty-one minutes is a long time to listen to this stuff, and that it’s a good bit longer than any of the classics referenced here doesn’t do it any favors. This isn’t a question of short attention spans, but rather the simple fact that Grave Desecrator’s riffs and songs don’t live up to the standard set by their chief influences. Giving us more music of lesser quality obviously prevents Dust to Lust from being great, but it’s nonetheless consistently good. The mastering sounds better than the DR6 implies, and while the bass isn’t overly present it sounds like more of a tone issue than a mastering issue. Dust to Lust sounds fairly old, and given that the band’s influences are exclusively pre-1990, that seems to be the idea. It won’t win any awards, but to my ears the production is a complete success.
Grave Desecrator gives us an overload of a good thing on Dust to Lust, and overall it’s a good album. If you like one song on here, you’ll like them all. Sure, the intro track and interlude are pointless, but two and a half minutes isn’t worth ranting about. Dust to Lust didn’t blow me away, but it made me nostalgic for a time I wasn’t alive for (being born shortly after the 80s ended and all). This isn’t a new classic, but I don’t care and, if intuition serves me correct, neither does the band. This is good, old-sounding death-thrash played competently by people who clearly love it. If you like metal, speed, and fun, you’ll have a good time with Dust to Lust.
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist Records