Thursday, 13 December 2012

DSW - Dust Storm Warning (album review)

DSW is a really solid stoner/desert rock band from Italy.  This is an album that's been getting solid rotation at Paranoid Hitsophrenic HQ since late July and it's been a staple of the daily hour long commute to work mix.  'Dust Storm Warning' is the second release by DSW, their first full-length album and their first with powerful new vocalist Wolf Lombardi (wotta great name!).

The first two tracks alone are worth the price of admission here, pounding and fuzzy with a great, aggressive vocalist who knows how to spin a catchy melody.  But DSW doesn't stick strictly to the fuzzy stoner side of things, a number of instrumental jams spread throughout the record showcase the band's psychedelic side.  The jams are quite interesting to listen to as they are the foundation upon which their songs are written and developed.  Within DSW's fully developed songs are many hints and glimpses of psychedelic leanings as the band is not afraid to play with form and structure recalling some of the more adventurous moments of Kyuss that formed the very basis of the desert rock sound.

Opening track "Outrun" in particular, has a distinctly "Green Machine" feel to it, but tougher.  It's a hard driving track with a great chorus, a real head-sticker.  'Dust Storm Warning' is a terrific record and one that is easy to get lost in.  Opening trio "Outrun", "Space Cubeship" and "666.1.333" rope the listener in with heavy fuzz, pounding rhythms and catchy vocal melodies as mentioned above, then fully immerse the listener in the world of the record with "Dune", the first of three psychedelic-by-way-of-the-desert instrumental jams.  In short, DSW puts on a clinic.  The more laidback, slow driving, "Lonely Coyote" serves as the perfect follow up to "Dune" and is followed by "Sherpa", jam number 2.

DSW really captures that desert mood, especially during some of the instrumental jams.  In the video at the bottom of this post the band plays live in studio with a cactus in the room!  This is a band with a vision and the will to make that vision come to life.

The band returns to the hard driving stoner rock side of things with the terrific "Monkey Woman".  After about twenty minutes of laid back desert psych, it can be a bit of a rude awakening, but it's a welcome one.  It's like the oasis in the desert after a long hard trek that may only be a mirage, but it gets you moving nonetheless.  The band keeps the body moving with follow up, "Trippin the Drill".  The song is a constant builder, with multiple tempo changes and some great psychedelic guitar freak outs during the break down towards the end.  Now the listener discovers that the oasis was indeed a mirage and the punishment continues.

"Rise" has much the same vibe as "Lonely Coyote" and again serves as a good bridge to the last of the three instrumental jams, "Wasteland".  A drony, effects heavy slice of arid desert soundscape.  A raging sand storm on record.  "Requiem" (originally titled "Requiem for a Dying Planet" on their 'Dawn Storm Watchers' EP) is a strong album closer, fusing their laid back psych and heavy stoner rock sides quite well by building the song slowly during the first verse, then throwing down during the chorus and going all the way with it, never again relenting their heavy assault until the final cymbal crashes chime the album to a satisfying conclusion.  And that's when the vultures come circling.

The CD version of 'Dust Storm Warning' recently came through the mail and as the first release on Italian-based Acid Cosmonaut records, it's a great package.  The pull-out sleeve notes look great with lyrics and an accompanying tarot card like piece of artwork for each track.

One of my favorite lyrics and definitely one of the best songs of the year is "Outrun".  Listen below on the bandcamp player.  Here are the lyrics:

A picture runs
An explosion bursts my head
The road brings to the sky valley

My body does not worry me anymore
but the inside growing roots still do
The road flows through my tires

Drop by drop
Sweat is falling on my head
driving me crazy

Whirling fangs through hide
are turning red the moon
he's hanging from the roots
or maybe I am

Drop by drop
his blood is falling on my head
driving me crazy

He is the earth

Drop by drop
the earth is falling on my earth
driving me crazy

Highlights include: "Outrun" and "Spacecube Ship"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 39:18

From: Lecce, Italy

Genre: Stoner Rock, Psychedelic, Desert Rock

Reminds me of: Kyuss, Steak

Release Date: May 25, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: wandering the desert in search of the cave of the ancient mage, never realizing it can only be found if the ancient mage wants it to be found.

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