“Mass Confusion” is record number three for German thrashers Dust Bolt. Their previous two albums featured absolutely vicious music, showing great homage to some of their fellow countrymen from the 1980s. Similar to those groups, Dust Bolt has begun to explore new territory with their newer work. “Mass Confusion” shows the band Americanizing their sound somewhat. There are significant Bay Area thrash influences all throughout the record, and even some more fun, East Coast sounding thrash.
The most noticeable change on this record is the vocals. The band’s singer previously employed a savage voice, tearing through everything in its path. On this record, he takes a more varied approach, ranging from more typical thrash shouting (the most common sound), to punky, crossover-sounding vocals on a track like “Allergy”, to trying his hand at melodic singing on the sole ballad “Exit”. This diversity is generally the type of change that doesn’t win over fans, especially from fans of the band’s more extreme sound, but it works in the context of this record because the music also offers a wider range of sounds. Granted, the barbershop quartet intro of “Mind The Gap” doesn’t quite work as hoped (though the song itself rages), but at least the band is trying something different.
Musically, “Mass Confusion” is less ferocious than its predecessors, but it certainly is not lacking in riffs or headbanging moments. The band trades monotony for versatility, largely with great effect. Still, all of the thrash trademarks are prevalent on this record. The riffage shows serious dexterity and is sure to impress. There is no shortage of gang vocals on this album, with the closing moments of “Allergy” having one of the best-executed examples. “Turned to Grey” also demonstrates stellar usage of gang vocals. The band does occasionally veer into mid-paced territory and would be better served by thrashing harder and faster. Still, they did manage to reduce the biggest problem from their previous record: the length. This album runs about 46 minutes, which is definitely reasonable for this type of thrash.
It is difficult to see a thrash fan not enjoying this record, though it is certainly possible that a long time Dust Bolt fan could be dismayed by it. The ballad is a bit out there, particularly at the beginning, but most of the songs manage to hit hard enough to keep your interest. By the end of the record this does wear a bit thin. Nevertheless, if thrash is what you seek, “Mass Confusion” delivers!
Be sure to check out and like Dust Bolt on Facebook!
"Mind The Gap"
3.9/5 or 78%.
Written by Scott