Dust To Dust - Dust To Dust


Not blessed, or merciful
Apr 11, 2001
Sarf Lundin, Innit
Dust To Dust - Dust To Dust
Sanctuary Records - 2001
By Philip Whitehouse


Well, this is my first official review for Ultimate Metal (that is to say, the first album I was sent to review rather than just waxing lyrical about my own record collection). I'm glad to say, Dust To Dust provided as much food for thought and review material as I could have hoped for.

You see, at first I didn't think I was going to like them. I read through the bio, and seeing them described as 'classic rock, prog rock, new wave and metal' all at once immediately set the phrase 'jack of all trades, master of none' in my mind. Furthermore, the bio lists musical reference points to the sound of Dust To Dust as Alice In Chains, Filter, the Smashing Pumpkins and Metallica. Quite a diverse list, I felt. Would the end result be a contrived mess or a focussed whole. So, on went the album.

My immediate response was that the bio was lying. While elements of those bands are present if you listen hard enough, mainly Dust To Dust's sound comes across as Disturbed meets Godsmack meets Faith No More. The guitar riffs and song structures are quite typical of the less-heavy end of nu-metal these days, while Rob Traynor's vocals swing from Hetfield-like refrains to Mike Patton-esque soaring swoops. Stuart Berenson's guitar chops away in the background, while Steve Tobin copes effortlessly with the drum riffs written for him. The overall impression at first is of a second-rate nu-metal band.

Then, after a few more listens, a magical thing happens. I realised that second track 'New Low' is as horrendously catchy as syphillis, with a lyrical focus almost as unpleasant but such a catchy tune that nothing short of advanced neurosurgery will remove it from your brain. The downbeat, brooding nature of power-metal ballad 'Pottersfield' began to evoke a genuine emotional response, and I found myself singing along to the chorus, helplessly swept up by it. I began to regard the syths less as a somewhat cheesy-sounding intrusion, and more of a genuine and versatile way of adding to the melody of the songs. Most of all, I lost my air of cynicism brought on by the prospect of hearing another nu-metal also-ran go through their shouty paces.

Dust To Dust do almost come unstuck on third track 'If I Was God', which initially eschews all other instruments apart from Drums and synths, which makes it sound almost cringeworthy. The song does improve though, and becomes a worthy, cerebral slow-down to prepare the listener for the aggressive power of next track 'Submission'.

The lyrics of the songs are rather familiar territory - there's a song called 'No Suprise', which is apparently a comment on schoolyard shootings such as Columbine and why they come as no surprise to Traynor, and 'New Low' tells of life through the eyes of a drug dealer. Just your usual, 'society-is-crumbling-around-our-ears' kind of stuff.

If you can ignore this, however, and let your cynicism slip for a while as I did mine, you'll find Dust To Dust's album to be a listenable, enjoyable debut from a technically proficient band with obvious songwriting skills. It might not exactly be a must-buy purchase, but its definitely one to give a spin to see if it does anything for you.