I was a bit late one this one, I won’t often be reviewing a release from the year before but this is a little gem that slipped me by at the time and it would be remiss of me to not give it the attention it deserves and to let you know why it should be in your bandcamp collection! Dust of Nations are a three piece (although I have word a drummer may have just joined their ranks) instrumental progressive metal outfit hailing from Brighton which currently hosts quite a scene in its own right so to have such a strong voice in the mass is no easy feat.
Their self-titled debut is made up of nine tracks which entwine together to sound like one immense roller-coaster of a trip into a variety of prog, thrash and tech metal styles giving a knowing nod and wink to their many influences which shine through along the way. There is a great variety of styles, tempo and mood over its length and so much going on within each individual track that you will find yourself re-visiting this album again and again only to discover something new upon each subsequent sitting.
Opener ‘Dark Matter’ gives a good taste of what is to come, giving us ferocious riffs reminiscent of Between the Buried and me as they are accompanied and complimented by Joel Rawlins keyboards which on both this and ‘Residuum’ can be heard toying with creepy carnival theme sounds which remind me of Mr Bungle or Bigelf. Without a pause for breath we are led into ‘Bridge of Separator’ which twists and turns between thrash and groove laden riffs over its seven minute length.
‘Transgression’ comes in two parts and highlights the amazing talents of guitarists Julian Domanski and Matt Jeffreys as they hurl about riffs that The Haunted would have killed for! Not all of the music is at such a thunderous rate though as both ‘Axoim’ and ‘Aftermath’ are perfectly placed either side to slow down the tempo if only to create a more threatening mood with it! ‘Axiom’ in particular shines for me as Joel channels his inner Richard Wright with some ‘Animals’ sounding synth which blends perfectly.
‘Invisible Light’ shows some amazing play-offs between the guitars and keys with a jazz-style mid-section before a slow refrain into ‘Residuum’. Closing off the album is the epic ‘Rapture’ which over its eight and a half minute length crams in all the tricks and licks that we have heard over the rest of the release and then some, even managing a bit of swing before its close.
‘Dust of Nations’ the album is a varied and thoroughly immersive work with constant shifting themes and sounds which clearly took a lot of time, effort and love from these incredibly talented musicians. There are a variety of influences evident although each listener will pick out and identify with their own, for me I got BTBAM, The Haunted, Mr Bungle, Yes, Pink Floyd and Bigelf…and that’s a lot of great bands to be drawing from. Although at points these influences are very clear the band use this as a platform for their own sound rather than just choose to emulate. Overall this is a great album which you will find yourself coming back to time and time again…I look forward to the next!
Get yourself a copy right here: https://dustofnations.bandcamp.com/album/dust-of-nations