Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Dunsmuir - "Dunsmuir" (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 22/07/2016
Label: Hall of Records


Dunsmuir, manages the uncanny trick of amounting to the sum of its parts. The record's players have some serious pedigree and none if it is wasted. Vinny Appice is as powerful as ever, with a beastly snare sound, while Bone and Davis are a formidable strings team. Fallon puts in a hardworking and uniformly stellar shift as per usual.  Simply put, if you like Clutch and Dio-era Sabbath, you will be right at home here. If you are a fan of Fu Manchu, there are sounds for you here as well. This album rocks, it’s that simple.

“Dunsmuir” DD//LP track listing:

1. Hung On the Rocks
2. Our Only Master
3. The Bats (Are Hungry Tonight)
4. What Manner of Bliss?
5. Deceiver
6. …And Madness
7. Orb of Empire
8. Church of the Tooth
9. The Gate
10. Crawling Chaos


The Review:

Dunsmuir have quite the pedigree. Members of Clutch, Fu Manchu and Dio/Sabbath etc. join forces for this concept record about the fates met by survivors of a 19th century shipwreck. Simply put, this record was always gonna rock. And rock it does.

Neil Fallon’s inimitable vocals dominate proceedings; “Hung on The Rocks” sounds like Neil Fallon singing, but doesn't really sound like Clutch. The band, thankfully have their own sound. The Appice led “Our Only Master” is a hard-rocking-heads-down romp with excellent guitar work. Some excellent fills from Appice abound as the band put the pedal down.

“The Bats (Are Hungry Tonight)” has the kind of grove that Brad Davis excels at with Fu Manchu- a kind of driving rhythm, but Dunsmuir add trad vibes. Fantastic. “What Manner of Bliss” takes the tempo down and again I was struck with how much trad metal there is to the riffage, while Fallon brings a blues sensibility to the vocals.  Deceiver” (not the Priest song) rocks hard and again has a Maiden/Lizzy/Priest vibe to the guitar work of Dave Bone.

Once again, the riffs come thick and fast with “...And Madness” as the album's journey continues. I get the sense that this is a record to enjoy on vinyl or other physical format; lyric sheet at the ready, artwork in front of you- to fully assimilate the concept of the album and the full vibe of what is on offer here. Listening as a digital stream is just not the same, so get your vinyl order in when you can. The sledgehammer rock of “Orb of Empire” is a left turn again, with Fallon turning in an excellent performance. The sound, incidentally, is excellent- fantastic drum sound and tones, lovely guitar sound that is thick and crisp, while the bass is mixed to underpin, not dominate.

“Church of The Tooth” is one of the longer tracks here at over five and a half minutes, with most tracks storming by in three or four- and often at a brisk clip. This one gets closer to Appice's Sabbath days with a crawling groove (Davis' bass carries it along nicely) and most effective it is too. With great dynamics and some unusual sounds from the guitar in the coda, this is a bit of stand out. Different, dark and deadly.

The final two tracks fairly romp home; “The Gate” is sinister and groovy at the same time, packing a strong riff refrain and a nice change in the final third. “Crawling Chaos” is a rather raging final track, with Fallon in his element intoning Lovecraft-like themes as the band adopts a contrary groove to great effect. Dunsmuir, then, manages the uncanny trick of amounting to the sum of its parts. The record's players have some serious pedigree and none if it is wasted. Vinny Appice is as powerful as ever, with a beastly snare sound (the same snare as on Dio'sSacred Heart” record, fact fans), while Bone and Davis are a formidable strings team. Fallon puts in a hardworking and uniformly stellar shift as per.

Simply put, if you like Clutch and Dio-era Sabbath, you will be right at home here. If you are a fan of Fu Manchu, there are sounds for you here as well. This album rocks, simple as. Recommended.



Dunsmuir” is available via pre-order from 8th July here


Band info: facebook

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