Album of the day: Dust – Hard Attack

Praise for Dust‘s Hard Attack from San Francisco’s aQuarius Records: Dust’s two early ’70s proto-metal classics had been out of print on cd for far too long – and even the last time we had ‘em, YEARS ago, we could only get a few drilled, cut-out copies. But now, huzzah, import cd reissues are available, packaged in those slim digi-wallet sleeves. Definitely feels good to have ‘em back in our vintage heavy rock section once more, were they belong as essentials in that genre.


Of Dust’s two albums, this 1972 LP is generally considered the harder of the two, the more metal. Though that may be in part ’cause of the cover art, and album title! But perhaps it is somewhat more Sabbathian. “Downer rock” they called it back then (we’re told). Their song ‘Suicide’ (the penultimate track on side 2 of the original vinyl) – whooah, that could be Pentagram! That song alone makes this an essential purchase for any true doom / psych fan. It’s an all time classic. Between that and the awesome Frank Frazetta cover painting, what more could you want?

But it’s not all doom n’ gloom n’ barbarians – Hard Attack has its lighter side, but unlike a lot of their peers, the poppier and / or less rockin’ stuff Dust do is actually really great. Sure, a song like ‘Thusly Spoken’ features strings and a Beatlesy melody, but the lyrics still name-check Satan and speak of dancing demons. Lush, gorgeous downer-pop that sets you up to be crushed by the following, urgently hard-rockin’ track ‘Learning To Die’. They do that throughout the album, alternating gentle – even acoustic – numbers with the proggy proto-metal workouts that the headbangers of 1972 must have loved.

It’s hard to understand why Dust didn’t “make” it, as this stuff is certainly the equal of big sellers from their era by Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. Great singing, riffs, melodies, and that “feel” – it’s all here.

We mentioned Pentagram above – if you’ve got that awesome Relapse label anthology of Pentagram’s original seventies recordings, First Daze Here, you should definitely check out the work of Dust, who were both contemporaries of, and an influence on, the Ram’s Head boys. Yes, Dust are an important name on the list of forgotten but godlike ’70s hard rock bands that make today’s so-called stoner rockers sound like punk / grunge wanna-bes.

That ’70s pantheon includes, besides Dust, bands like like Lucifer’s Friend, Highway Robbery, Jerusalem, Orang-utan, Toad, Budgie, Sir Lord Baltimore, Captain Beyond, Bang, Stray, Leafhound, etc. In a word (again): classic. Too bad you’ll never hear ‘em on your local “classic rock” radio station…

Oh, and Dust featured the future Marky Ramone on drums, by the way, before he decided punk was the way to go (or even had that option)…

At 40 years old, Aquarius is the oldest independent record store in San Francisco. We try to only carry music we love, and we’re always searching for more new, cool, weird and wonderful music. All of which we then share with you, our loyal customers.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, January 15th, 2012 at 7:58 am and is filed under 2012, Album of the Day, Roadburn Recommended . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Album of the day: Dust – Hard Attack”

  1. Kenny Kerner says:

    Look for both DUST records to be re-mastered and reissued in Vinyl and CD format this Spring.

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