“Awake The Riot” is the sophomore effort for German thrashers Dust Bolt. For those unfamiliar with the band, they play a truly vicious brand of death/thrash, not unlike their German forefathers. Their debut record was a promising release, but it only hinted at their true potential. With “Awake The Riot”, however, it really can’t be said that the band is taking any steps forward. In fact, the only thing that really differentiates this record from the first album is the fact that it has more songs and is consequently longer. Much of the sound remains identical, and the songwriting is about on par with what the band was doing before.
Opener “Living Hell” sets the tone for the album. It features thrash riffs of every speed, rhythm, and variety you could want. The band isn’t stuck only playing at warp-speed, nor do they consistently substitute speed for groove. Instead, Dust Bolt manages to put a wide assortment of different thrashy riffs into a single track. This is complimented by blistering solos, and shouted vocals that lean slightly towards the harsher side of things. Take this excellent formula and repeat it 10 more times, and you have the vast majority of this record. Sometimes there is the occasional oddball, such as the higher-pitched scream that opens “Soul Erazor”, but Dust Bolt does not reinvent the wheel. Gang vocals are aplenty on this record, and harmonized guitars even show up once in a while (“Beneath The Earth”).
Where this record takes an interesting turn is on the last track, the cover of Evildead’s “Future Shock”. This cover is great for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they do the song great justice. The insanely heavy stomping part of the track is somehow even heavier than the original on this cover. The second reason this is really a brilliant cover is because of the song choice. Evildead is not a particularly well-covered band, and even if they were, “F.C.I./The Awakening” and “Annihilation of Civilization” seem like slightly more obvious song choices. This out of the box selection of “Future Shock” really caps off the record nicely.
Typically, I would be a bit harsher on an album this long and this repetitive; however, “Awake The Riot” is compelling on two levels. If you use this album simply as background noise, there is never a dull moment. Nothing will catch your attention in a bad way, and you can continue headbanging along to whatever else you’re doing. On the other hand, if you invest a bit of time into the album, you see that it truly is loaded with an unbelievable number of great riffs without those riffs being one-dimensional. Overall, “Awake The Riot” is an impressive second effort, despite the fact that it doesn’t show much growth musically.
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4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott