Being "retro" seems to be all the rage these days, though it's really a hit or miss endeavor. Bands like White Wizzard and The Sword, for instance, manage to be both fresh and familiar and reflect all that is good about being "retro". There's always a dark, disturbing side to any trend, unfortunately, which in this case is inhabited by remakes of movies like Footloose and Arthur. So beware, all that is "retro" is not fit to see the light of day. Dust Devil, the third album from the decidedly "retro" Norwegian stoner doom outfit Lonely Kamel, manages to be neither exceptional nor horrendous. Drawing inspiration from bands such as Black Sabbath, Pentagram, and even Molly Hatchet, Lonely Kamel weaves together a nice blues-oriented Southern doom album that any fan of the aforementioned bands will readily embrace, but little is offered to hold it above the pack of other albums on the market.
"Grim Reefer" starts the album off on a high (ahem) note with some nice slide guitar and bluesy riffs giving the track a distinctly swampy, Southern rock edge. Frontman Thomas Brenna has an excellent voice for the style; smokey and soulful, much like Danny Joe Brown (Molly Hatchet) but with a less pronounced drawl. Brenna teams with Lukas Paulsen to deliver the meaty riffs that drive Dust Devil from up-tempo rockers like "Evil Man" to sludgy tracks such as "Seventh Son". Overall, the riffs are never flashy though sometimes, such as on "Roadtrip with Lucifer", they have a definite groove that pulls directly from the pre-metal hard rock of the '70s.
Stian Helle's thumping bass on "Ragnarorkr" and drummer Espen Nesset's crazy fills on "Rotten Seed" are other highlights to be heard on Dust Devil, but ultimately the album doesn't manage to coalesce those sparks into a sustained flame of energy. Fans of '70s hard rock and more contemporary stoner doom will undoubtedly enjoy the album, but after a few spins it will likely be placed on the shelf with the latest Priestess release and forgotten. I wish I had more to say, but average is what average does.
|3||Blues For The Dead||3:19|
|8||Roadtrip With Lucifer||6:12|
|9||Hard To Please||2:40|
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