Review: Dust Bolt – Trapped in Chaos
Teutonic thrash? Don’t mind if I do
I have often said that thrash metal has undergone a tremendous revival in the last decade with increased attention being focused on younger thrash metal bands like Exmortus, Vektor, Havok and Power Trip just to name a few. While I welcome this revival as a fan of thrash metal, I find myself conflicted as a reviewer. While some of the aforementioned bands have showcased their own twists on thrash metal, there are bands that seem to be a simple repeat of the genre’s 80’s heyday. While the side of me that’s fan sees no problem with this and wants to mindlessly start a circle pit, as a reviewer I find myself at an impasse, tasked with reviewing music that while good, doesn’t introduce anything new.
Germany’s Dust Bolt is currently at the apex of my internal conflict with their new album Trapped in Chaos, out now via Napalm Records. Will these thrashers surge to the top with their new album or will they leave me cold by simply repeating the past?
Dust Bolt formed in 2006 as a four piece thrash metal band. Prior to releasing Trapped in Chaos the band had released three other albums on Napalm Records. The band’s profile has increased over the last two years with successful North American tours with Obituary. Although the band is from Germany, sound wise the band seems to have more in common with American bands like Death Angel and Overkill rather than German thrash acts like Kreator or Sodom.
What about the music? Sadly my aforementioned misgivings about the thrash metal revival come to the fore. While Trapped in Chaos will no doubt make veteran thrashers excited to don crusty battle jackets and white high tops, something feels missing on this record. What I think its missing is enthusiasm, there was very little for me to get excited about when listening to this record. While I found vocalist Lenny Bruce’s vocal style refreshing, it just seemed to lack emotion except for one track. That one track was “Another Day in Hell” which is a ballad. While I don’t normally go in for ballads, I felt that this was the one song on the album that really contained some emotion which makes it the most memorable song on the album.
While I could talk at length about the excellent guitar riffs and how much they make me want to headbang, I would be sidestepping what I feel is the biggest problem with the album, which is that it lacks emotion and enthusiasm. While I don’t doubt that the members of Dust Bolt enjoy playing thrash metal, it just doesn’t come across in this album. While showing some emotion on a ballad is nice, I don’t think that emotion should be limited to one song. If there is one thing holding Dust Bolt back in achieving the same acclaim as their peers past and present is a lack of emotion on this record.
In the ongoing thrash revival there are bands bringing their own twists to the genre. More importantly, like their predecessors they are using their music to express their emotions. With Dust Bolt’s new album, we aren’t given a new take on thrash metal nor are we given music that feels like it’s driven by genuine expression. Rather we are treated to the same thrash tropes of middling thrash groups through history. Because of that I give this album 3 out of 5 flaming toilets ov hell.