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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Album Review: Slumber Dust - "Slumber Dust"



Fuzz, beautiful fuzz. It's what rock music these days in the mainstream is missing more than anything, it seems to me. The seeming reckless unleashing of the guitar in wonderful variation makes for beautiful metal musical constructs, vehicles of dank, dusk, and gloom that exhilarate and soar, deftly gliding through gritty, grimy filters of string and skin . We call it stoner, desert, doom, and sludge. It began in earnest as a genre in the 90s and exploded in that first fertile decade of the new century. And so now it forcefully powers through its third decade, hurtling fiercely toward a fourth, as strong as ever, witnessed by the massive number of artists and albums releasing new music almost daily on a worldwide scale. A hallmark of this ever awesome underground reverie is the subject of today's review, Slumber Dust, hailing just a stone throw from Buffalo, across the border in Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Slumber Dust are a three piece faction of foot stomping, ass grinding metal rockers who bring an essential musical, metal deference to their brand of stoner rock and their initial self titled EP release.

At the time of recording, Slumber Dust were comprised of 3 members:

Geoff Graham - Vocals, and Guitar
Mike Manseau - Bass
Chance Watt - Drums

But the early history of the band was that of Geoff writing and playing songs with Kevin King, who can be heard on the underground recording of "Saturn's Basement" that is comprised of two of their songs, and seen in the accompanying video below. Well before Slumber Dust were able to properly record the album in a studio, Kevin passed away. Undaunted, Geoff formed the three piece named above and engineered the EP's recording and release on BandCamp.

Since the release of "Slumber Dust", Chance has been replaced with Eric James, and the new three piece arrangement are hard at work on 8 new monstrous tracks for their second release.

The EP opens with "The Last Starfighter", which quickly establishes the wealth of gifts these three Canadian lads have on offer. Guitar, bass, and drums are all immediately established with a clamor and commotion of fuzz galore. Following not long after are Geoff's vocals, a perfect complement to the underlying undulations. The song is heady, steady, and huge, with a persistent one two punch of rhythm that soon gives way to a mind bending instrumental stretch.

The tempo is tightened on "Angels", crunching and crackling with a blue spark of elecrtricity. "Pryamids" follows with a stoner huzzah, brandishing an engorged feast of melodic fuzz. This song will be on my 2016 mix, and beyond, as one of special quality.

"Samadhi" continues the established trend with huge and hungry guitar leading the way through a fun and original melody, this one with an exquisite haunting quality that flashes into your consciousness immediately, staying long after. "Ksitigarbha" is a sloshing, slogging doomcast of dark and dangerous undertones, leading perfectly into the finale, "Bad Karma", which again establishes Slumber Dust's keenness for melody wrapped in heavy, syrupy blankets of muddy fuzz.

I've been quick to note the guitar work and outstanding vocals of frontman Geoff Graham, but equally gifted and energetic on this album are both Mike Manseau's bass and Chance Watt's drums. Mike makes the bass soar under the reedy landscape of melody with his own expert riffs of low bliss. Chance's drums are simply fun incarnate, never taking a backseat to the renown of riff or lead of vocal, while complementing both.

Slumber Dust are a young band, just getting started on their long, musical assault of stoner riches. We look forward to what they have in store for us in the future.



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