DUST — Hard Attack (review)

DUST — Hard Attack album cover Album · 1972 · Proto-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Dust to Dust

The final album from Dust, begins rather spookily with the words "I guess it's over, we could never make it".

As with their debut, Dust pull something rather special out of the bag - this is not your standard early 1970s hard rock. Hard Attack goes above and beyond Dust, however, and delivers fresh, energetic hard rock in excavator-loads.

Outstanding metal moments here are principally to be found in Learning To Die (as, perhaps, you might expect!), Ivory and Suicide.

The opening track (and indeed, most of the rest of the tracks) sounds somewhere between Wishbone Ash, Budgie, later Rush Yes and Pink Floyd, with bits of Led Zeppelin - and something rather unique.

It's the precision and metallic edginess that really jumps out at you, even given that this track is ostensibly a laid back number.

This vein is explored further in Walk In The Soft Rain, an infectiously melodic concoction, with fat, grinding, precision bass lines, pounding, punctuating percussion - and surprisingly dynamic guitar tones.

Thusly Spoken takes the tempo down several notches into almost easy-listening territory *gasp!*. The lyrics, however, are pure metal, with references to Satan, dancing demons filling the sky, poisoned gases filling the air, bleeding clowns and the hour of the snake - when you find out what the lyrics are, the juxtaposition of them onto that gorgeous melody and instrumental timbre has something of the deliberate humour of Spinal Tap about it, and I think it's just brilliant.

Learning To Die seems to stem from Blue Cheer - but with technical ability. It reminds me of early Judas Priest, and is simply stunning - the tempo and texture changes lend such an air of unfolding drama that this feels like part of the canon of Progressive Rock.

All in All is a kind of Who flavoured number, with maybe a smattering of The Small Faces - but again, there's that edginess peculiar to Dust. This is followed by another laid back number - a rather pretty song about considering suicide.

Once your eardrums have recovered from being battered into submission by the stunning instrumental Ivory, there follows How Many Horses, a bluesy number, reminding me of The Rolling Stones' Wild Horses, and not just because of the lyrics.

But then comes the centerpiece of this album, and the Hard Attack of the title. You can sample Suicide for yourself in the streamed video on Dust's page on this site.

A simple Balearic flavoured acoustic guitar number rounds off the album - perhaps significantly cut off in its prime?

This album is a significant milestone - as well as being a real treat for fans of early metal and general hard rock - although the morbid fascinations of the lyrics are really for doom mongers and, maybe, Nirvana fans. Don't let the latter put you off - this really is a great album, and you'll be glad you checked it out!
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