You know what’s really nice? Pressing that play button and having what you hear instantly put a big fat grin on your big fat face. I’m not talking about knowing, “getting it” self congratulation, nor am I referring to some kind of ironic smirk. I’m talking about the way a piece of music kicking just as you want and expect it to makes your facial muscles move involuntarily just as you find your head independently beginning to nod. Stomping out of the sci-fi space-age come prog-sludge-metallers Dune, and if you’re anything like me, they’re about to put a big fucking smile on your face.
Edinburgh four piece Dune’s debut release is a seven track, half hour EP entitled ‘Progenitor’. The group consists of Victor Vicart on guitar, Dan Barter on guitar, Simon Anger on bass, and Dudley Tait on drums. Vocally, everyone seems to play their part pretty equally; there are (at least) four distinct voices on the ‘Progenitor’, each taking the lead as and when suits the track best.
After the Radiophonic Workshop knob-twiddling of intro ‘Gravity Signal’, the not-even-slightly-fucking-about ‘Protostar’ comes out all lasers blazing. The queasy zero-gravity midsection allows us time to gaze down mournfully on whatever planet it is we’re hovering above before we’re propelled headfirst through that mad flashing light tunnel thing at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey by sheer force of riffs alone.
‘Oscillations Of Colour’ swaggers sludgily out of the starfield delivering hook after hook, each subsequent section instantly becoming your new favourite bit. Short instrumental ‘Pillars Of Eternity’, again suggests weightlessness and the vastness of time and space. Sandra Bullock’s skeleton endlessly tumbling over and over and over in a ruptured spacesuit.
‘When Planets Die’ is as colossal and dense as its title suggests, delivering yet more catchy riffs, and even more grin inducing frenetic twin guitar work than all that has gone before.
The stand out track on the EP for me is ‘Red Giant’ which once again ups the ante. It’s fast and furious, beguilingly addictive, and has a proper massive refrain that makes full use of all four members’ vocal talents.
Instrumental astro-stoner jam ‘Orbital Remains’ closes ‘Progenitor’ perfectly; spaceship Dune drifting off into the cosmos with a red-eyed crew.
Dune’s riffs bring the likes of Mastodon and Behold! The Monolith instantly to mind but there’s nothing watered-down or unoriginal here. ‘Progenitor’ is as a good a debut release as I’ve heard and there’s no doubt that the band have accomplished everything they set out to achieve. It’s heavy, it’s catchy, it sounds tight and unforced throughout; you can tell that Dune know these songs backwards and that they really, really enjoy playing them.
I’ve still got that skull-in-a-space-helmet grin on my face, and I’m going back for another listen.
‘Progenitor’ is available as Name Your Price via Dune’s Bandcamp page.
Scribed by: John Reppion