Review: Dust Bolt – Mass Confusion

Review: Dust Bolt – Mass Confusion

Jul 24

Dust Bolt - Mass Confusion cover art


Dust Bolt – Mass Confusion (Thrash; Napalm Records)

Released July 8th, 2016


I am not one to bemoan the current rage of ‘rethrash’ or Bay Area heyday nostalgia in general. If there are both bands and music fans that want a certain sound done in a certain way then that music deserves to stand next to any other genre, scene, or trend. In the case of channeling the spirit of a time past, my only real qualifier of validity would be whether or not bands are putting in an honest effort not to mirror but to rejuvenate the sound. Do something new with it, use a modern lens to take it somewhere the originators never did, and most of all, make it exciting again. While many bands apparently don’t seem to agree, there are a great handful that do, Germany’s Dust Bolt included. While their recently-released third album, Mass Confusion doesn’t explore territory that’s too far-flung it is a fun, raucous and, most importantly, interesting dip into the modern-cum-retro thrash well.

The attitude of Mass Confusion gives no room for doubt as album opener ‘Sick X Brain’ makes a clear statement of intent right off the bat. The song, more of an intro than anything, is an in-your-face affair with a decidedly crossover thrash delivery, and while it doesn’t quite represent everything on offer during the record’s full spin, it does set the stage for its general direction. A direction that is fast, heavy, and aside from a few moments for breath never bothers to let up the energy for very long. The following title track is more well-rounded archetype for the modern interpretation of the genre practiced by fellow contemporaries like Municipal Waste or Mortillery. A neck-breaker tempo delivers a solid collection of tight riffs that are sharper than simple chugging but not so technical as to detract from headbanging potential, and a more mid-tempo middle section helps ground out the structure. As noted, there is an obvious influence of D.R.I-style crossover in Dust Bolt’s sound, but the overall palette covers a good deal more ground than just that. The band seems to be channeling three eras at once with their music; one foot is planted firmly in modern times with songs like ‘Allergy’’s death-thrash pummeling and very Swedish sounding melodic lines, the other foot is set firmly in the godfather period of Kill ‘em All with songs like ‘Taking Your Last Breath’ seeing some overtly Seasons in the Abyss flavors, all while the group simultaneously straddles the middle hardcore-influenced period of thrash’s history.

Dust Bolt band photo

It’s the wider scope that sets Dust Bolt aside from many of the other young bands in the scene; Mass Confusion, already a more mature sounding record than the previous two, has more to offer than most recent thrash albums. The album swings easily between modern sounds and old-school schticks not only song to song but within individual tracks, while they are also not afraid to throw in additional touches from outside genres. In ‘Turned to Gray’ and ‘Portraits of Decay’ the vocals use a lot more melody than usual, almost to the point of being actual singing, and mixed in with the usual shouts, screams, and growls it makes for an interesting flavor to add to the mix. The album is split in the middle by ‘Exit’, a downtempo track with an acoustic intro and a ballad mentality; not only does singer Lenny’s vocals sound remarkably akin to Corey Taylor’s, the track itself wouldn’t be at all out of place on a Stone Sour album. This album ‘breather’ in the middle and bookended by very proper opening and closing tracks give the record a great flow and sense of replay value.



Talk of ‘wider scopes’ and depth does have to be put in context however; these Germans are not pushing boundaries or really breaking any new ground. They are simply playing solid old-school-minded thrash metal and making it sound fresh and interesting by not constraining themselves with any purist mentality. They seem perfectly comfortable doing just that and it’s impossible to complain given the reliable head-bang quality of their growing catalog. In a glut of classic thrash-minded bands Dustbolt stands on their own as a well-oiled machine of Teutonic heavy metal.

Conclusion: Mass Confusion is a solidly crafted and enjoyable example of modern thrash metal.


Dust Bolt’s Website
Dust Bolt on Facebook
Napalm Records