Review Summary: In the beginning of the 70's lies a hidden gem of proto-metal of an American power-trio that sounds as if it consists of British musicians.
The 70’s were the golden era of rock music. Especially in 1972 albums such as Deep Purple’s Machine Head, Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Uriah Heep’s Demons and Wizards, Black Sabbath’s Vol. 4, and of course the colossal live Made in Japan were released. In addition to their undeniable historical value, these albums were released by British artists that dominated the rock scene back then. On the other side of the Atlantic, 3 teens from the US were forming a short-lived band that released only two albums but had a strong impact on a small nucleus of fans that recognized something different in the sound of Dust
. The sound of Hard Attack
, the band’s second and final release, that we now call proto-metal is influenced by the likes of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, the Who and even Cream. So, what we have here is an American band that sounds as if it consists of British musicians. The band members however were not strangers to the world of rock. Drummer Marc Bell became known as Marky Ramone, while singer and guitarist Richie Wise went on to produce the first two KISS albums along with Kenny Kerner who wrote the lyrics of Hard Attack
. Nevertheless, bass player Kenny Aaronson is the one who shines mostly throughout the album with his amazing musicianship.
As a result, the fact that the album sounds like a fusion of the aforementioned bands is not accidental. In addition, the listener can recognize elements of KISS from the very beginning with excellent riffs, heavy rock attitude but most notably huge chugging bass lines. But it’s not just speed and heaviness that this band has to offer. The combination of acoustic and electric guitar showcases the band’s ability to create more melodic passages along with their proto-metal sound. The song Suicide
is the pinnacle of the whole album as one can listen to the band’s Sabbathian sound accompanied by drum fills reminiscent of Ginger Baker. Bear in mind that in this release Marc Bell (aka Marky Ramone) is just 16 years old. Additionally, one can listen to melodic brakes in the middle of some songs that remind Uriah Heep and psychedelic influences from the likes of the Beatles. Moreover, the band sounds even more interesting when they add strings and organ to a mellow song with lyrics such as “Angry angels cried, Satan yearning cast a spell on us, Cherubim with wings that cannot fly, Dancing demons fill the sky”. An additional sample of proto-metal can be heard in the speedy instrumental Ivory with its catchy riffs, cool bass licks, and Paice-like drumming. As you may have guessed, Dust
is not your typical 70’s hard rock band. Yes, they do incorporate elements from several bands but they add their own style in order to produce a rather exciting outcome, that we now call proto-metal.
On the other hand, the album could have sounded even more consistent if it lacked some country passages and subpar southern rock influences. It feels sometimes that they’re trying really hard to reach the 40-minute mark and covered it with a couple of fillers. The band should have stuck with psychedelic and heavy rock elements in order to produce an even more focused and aggressive outcome. However, this is probably due to Dust’s
lack of recording experience along with their young age.
Unfortunately, after this album, Dust
disbanded leaving their fans wondering what they would turn out to be if they matured more and the following generations with a hidden gem and an excellent example of proto-metal material.