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Return to Dust “Return to Dust” Album Review by Karam Antoine

Return to Dust Band Member

Return To Dust surges onto the scene with their eponymous debut album, heralding a resurgent wave of grunge tinted with the shades of modern rock sensibilities. This Los Angeles quartet, comprising Matty Bielawski, Graham Stanush, Sebastian Gonzalez and London Hudson, deftly navigates the legacy of the ’90s, propelling it into contemporary relevance with an audacious collection of tracks that resonate with grit and authenticity.

The album kicks into high gear with “Black Road,” an electrifying opener that establishes a relentless pace, marrying grunge’s raw ethos with a polished intensity that’s anything but nostalgic imitation. It’s here that Return To Dust lays down their manifesto, a commitment to reviving grunge’s fervor while embedding their distinct fingerprint on the genre. “Belly Up” and “Face Down” follow suit, embedding themselves in the listener’s psyche with hooks that are both haunting and evocative, emblematic of the album’s ability to oscillate between rage and reflection.

Yet, it is in the darker corners of “Anyway, I Die” and “Cellophane” that the band explores a more introspective territory, weaving existential musings with a sonic landscape that’s as brooding as it is mesmerizing. The nuanced approach to these themes showcases a maturity in songwriting, steering clear of clichés to offer a more profound commentary on the human condition.

The album’s diversity is further exemplified in tracks like “Strangers” and “When You Look At Me,” the former an acoustic deviation that offers a respite from the album’s relentless energy, and the latter a testament to the band’s ability to meld grunge’s gritty textures with the serrated edges of metal.

Jim Kaufman’s production cannot go without mention, offering a sonic clarity that elevates the album beyond mere homage. Under his guidance, Return To Dust captures the visceral intensity of live performance while ensuring that each track carves out its own space within the album’s tapestry.

However, for all its strengths, the album occasionally finds itself ensnared in the very influences it seeks to transcend. Certain moments feel like a retread of well-worn paths, lacking the innovative spark that the standout tracks so vividly ignite. Moreover, while the band navigates the spectrum of grunge with adeptness, there are instances where a more adventurous deviation from the formula could have propelled the album into new realms of innovation.

In sum, Return To Dust‘s debut is a compelling entry into the modern rock landscape, a reverent nod to grunge infused with the vitality of contemporary musical innovation. It’s a bold statement of intent from a band that refuses to be confined by the expectations of their influences. With a solid foundation and a clear vision, Return To Dust has laid down the gauntlet, not just reviving the spirit of grunge but redefining it for a new generation.

Rating: 8.5/10

Return To Dust is set for release on May 3rd via Jim Kaufman Productions.

Follow RETURN TO DUST on Instagram.

Return to Dust Album Cover

TRACKLISTING:
01 Black Road 3:40
02 Belly Up 3:21
03 Anyway I Die 3:13
04 Cellophane 2:52
05 Face Down 3:15
06 No Love 3:01
07 Bad News 2:49
08 About The World 2:57
09 Live Like This 3:56
10 Strangers 3:11
11 When You Look At Me 3:30

Lineup:
Matty Bielawski – Vocals & Guitar
Graham Stanush – Vocals & Bass
Sebastian Gonzalez – Guitar
London Hudson – Drums

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