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D.U.S.T. - PRESS ARCHIVE

FROM THE SUBLIME TO THE OBSCENE
(Coreen Wolanski, !*@#)

This first effort from D.U.S.T. certainly won’t be swept under the carpet anytime too soon. Oh what refreshing sounds to my ears is this. It has been a long time since I’ve gotten this excited about a disc so quickly; by the third song I already wanted to go back to the beginning of the CD and start it again. The songs are ridiculously catchy, incorporating that ’80s pop song feel with a more current, abrasive edge. The vocal work, courtesy of Mikey, is certainly the driving force behind this debut album’s 11 songs. Alternating between melodic and moody, the songs will appeal to fans of Echo and the Bunnymen (or many other English pop acts prominent in the ’80s). This English group seems to take everything that was so grand about ’80s pop music, leave the crappy bits behind and update it all to make their brand of delicious alternative synth-rock. A nice melding of guitar rock, electronics and straight ahead pop, D.U.S.T. seems to know just what left-of-centre listeners are craving these days. They’ve thankfully showed us that the riff is still alive, pop music isn’t all just fluff and the keyboard is as important an instrument as anything else.


(J 'Hirez' H-R, Legends Magazine)

Ladies and gentlemen - are you ready to rock?! Please put your hands together for D.U.S.T! This is stadium rock.

I'd always thought that bands evolved into stadium/arena rock when they, well, started to play huge ampitheatres and realised that scratchy indiepunk tunes about where to get a good Chinese meal in Camden Parkway weren't going to make sense to the n-thousand baying fans watching through binoculars from the floor of some enormodrome. Or more likely viewing the wild camera-gyrations on a huge video screen as some stick figures potter about on a stage in the middle distance.

So they start to write simple songs - because it's hard to play widdly bits when you're striding about on a stage the size of an aerodrome - about how big everything is and how awful it is to live out of a succession of hotel mini-bars, which is about time they should be locked away or meet with a carefully-arranged Terrible Accident. God, stadium rock disgusts me. So here we have DUST (sod the full-stops) who play hand-tooled, arena-grade... Well, it's not got the ugly bombast of 'Breakfast Club' era Simple Minds, nor the Status Quo-alike qualities of Stereophonics, so 'rawk' is the wrong word. Arena-pop? Nah - that's yer Britneys, that is. They remind me most of Then Jerico, I think.

There are... Nods to ZZ Top, a seriously random cover version, heroic vocal performances, basslines with hidden depths and... Xtian's magic bloody guitar. You know the bit about arena-rock not having widdly-widdly guitar because it's hard to play when you're being slung about the place on the end of a wire like an overweight clay pigeon? Right, forget it. I've watched this chap wander about the stage, leap up and down, fall over and attack a keyboard player - it can't be long before he's doing Otway-style somersaults - while all the time producing a guitar noise that approaches the sound of two people having a Joe Satriani contest after sinking a couple of pints of tequila each. I've also watched Mikey perform most of a gig lying down because he was too hammered to stand. Rock & Roll, kids - it's not big and it's not clever... Actually, in this case it's very big and dead clever, but that spoils the rhythm of the sentence. Anyway, I suggest you buy this record so DUST can afford liver-transplants in a few years.


LORDS OF MADNESS
(Chris Parasyte, Comatose Rose)

It can be hard to successfully blend elements of industrial, gothic and classic rock. Some bands can do it, but most just shouldn't even try. Britain's D.U.S.T. is one of the bands that makes you glad anyone tries at all. They manage to not only pull it off with great success, but they do it so well, they put other bands to shame.D.U.S.T.'s new EP, Lords of Madness, pulls together influence from gothic rock, britpop and classic rock, and filters them through the industrial music grinder. Imagine the love child of Ian Astbury and that guy from the Manic Street Preachers fronting a band made up of members of Nine Inch Nails and London After Midnight and you're on your way to getting the D.U.S.T. sound.

There's a certain energy in D.U.S.T.'s power rock that bands like Linkin Park and Filter can only listen to in envy. Mikey Altered's vocals are strong, clear and filled with powerful emotion. The highlight of Lords of Madness has to be the song State of Disgrace - a catchy almost-pop song that assaults the listener with hard hitting guitars and synths, and Mikey's best vocal performance on the EP. If there was going to be a mainstream radio single to come off of this EP, State of Disgrace would be it. Mikey's classic rock influence drills its way into the vocals on Child (there is also a fantastic remix of this song on the EP). If Van Halen ever wanted to record or tour again, Mikey Altered could be just the kick in the ass they need. After listening to the Lords of Madness EP, D.U.S.T. has made it onto my list of Top 5 bands I have to see live before I die (along with Project Pitchfork, Gary Numan, Hate Dept. and The Sisters of Mercy).

The only problem I had with the EP was the fact that it was over so damn soon. Lords of Madness offers seven new D.U.S.T. songs (though two of these are short "intro/outro" type tracks, each about one minute in length) and two remixes. Most of the songs fall victim to the "three-to-four minute" syndrome - a horrible disease that kills too many songs before they manage to reach their full potential. Still, if a song that short can get you really hooked right away, that's never a bad thing. Listening to Lords of Madness left me wanting a lot more D.U.S.T., and that's exactly the way it should be.


(Keith Elcombe, Hard-Wired)

I saw DUST earlier this year at Gotham, and to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t impressed. Their stage presence was over stated, and to a degree, out of control, resulting in the music being masked and ‘bitty’. But maybe my mood was down to the crap weather, maybe also the over inflated bar prices played their part as well, because this release is first class.

Lords Of Madness is well produced, musically competent, and shows a band well on the road to becoming a household name within the scene.

Heck, it even smacks of a professional act! (smirk)

Okay, so what are DUST like? Well, for a three piece band, they put across the sound of a four piece easily. The vocals of Mikey Altered have a vast dynamic range, but to my mind mostly sound like a cross between Midge Ure and the singer of the Levellers, with a hint of NIN thrown in for good measure. The sound is accessible, and varied enough to keep your attention throughout this release. Without a doubt, DUST are a modern Industrial band that haven’t forgotten the roots of the scene.

While typically industrial, and I use the word in its purist form here, the mix of 'From the Sublime to the Obscene' owes a lot to the EBM culture, with hastened dance beats driving the music forward.

Favourite track? This has to be the mix of 'Child', that has a great backing sample. The original version is pretty bloody good too – maybe a showcase track for the band?

This is a top release! I look forward to seeing where DUST go from here. Given the quality of this EP, I’d be disappointed if they don’t become any bigger.


(Mick Mercer)

Their final release under this name, for reasons that have yet to made clear, this shows them reaching heights which should rival the biggest of any band from the mainland European scene, as they have more ideas, and their cavorting imagination translates magnificently to the music. It probably isn't helpful to point out that early Depeche Mode constructed songs along similar lines when they got out of their bippity stage and started having deeper impact, in case you think I'm making a comparison, which I'm NOT, but it's an indicator of how easily a major could swoop for these mad creatures. Wasp Factory must hope major labels wake up at some point, and do a tie-in deal.

It's the voice that impresses first and not just because it's highlighted by mute backing on the brief entrée, but when they get frosty or noisy (apart from the delightfully colourful frenzy of 'Child') the clarity and character of the vocals keeps you impressed. Even when not breathless, their songs maintain a decent pace and ideas that never bore flit in and out. They play with their boundaries, going for higher vocals in 'The Burning' and a harder glazed furore, but when you have such a huge array of sounds this isn't difficult. They have a truly epic collective imagination, and can hold back, offering serenity with a sour sickening twist, or have a tubercular surge with rasping vocals barking out a rhythm. They scratch at the speakers and bang on their bars, cutting back for a few guitar pleasantries, then sicking up blood and splashing through it, and that's just ' My favourite Sin'.

They have pop efforts, which seem to be falling apart, there's a cretinous waste of time ('End Of Madness') and cyberwar from 'From The Sublime To The Obscene', but there's plenty more oscillating ogres besides, and best of all it's all got class, and it sounds aggravated.