Review: Dune Pilot ‘Magnetic’

Munich-based fuzz rockers Dune Pilot continue Germany’s long relationship with straight-ahead, no bullshit rock and roll with their latest effort, Magnetic. There’s something very raw about this album – the desperate, yearning vocals echo hard-rock luminaries like Black Stone Cherry, not least because of their ethereal, dark nature – they’re really pained, deep-voiced, proper rock howls, particularly apparent on tracks like Heap Of Shards.

Dune Pilot 'Magnetic' Artwork
Dune Pilot ‘Magnetic’ Artwork

This is complimented by a non-stop tempo provided by the band’s heavyweight rhythm section, who, at times, seem like they’re driving almost every song forward – the drums hammer their way through every song, pounding into the listener’s consciousness, while the basslines lay off the power long enough to give a nice, grounded groove to the album.

Magnetic shines most when you get to hear this powerful combination together – unfortunately, some of it is lost, drowned in a strong layer of fuzz and opacity, seemingly by design, and it makes what could’ve been a fantastic wild ride of hard rock something of a slow burner. Having started with the title track, things sound promising, but it falls into a kind of rocky, bland nothingness for the next few tracks – at times, the end of one track and the start of another is indistinguishable.

They’ve certainly got a respect, understanding and appreciation for good, old-fashioned, heavy rock…

Fortunately, it does start to catch fire in the middle section, once the album’s pace turns up significantly. Starting with So Mad, and then the album’s highlight, the wild-paced Next To The Liquor Store, it’s the fast-paced moments that Magnetic finally becomes the album it always threatens to be. Thankfully, once Dune Pilot finally finds the accelerator, they’re smart enough to smash it to the floor, taking the album to its conclusion with the same momentum and attitude.

After a slow start, Magnetic is a good effort and a pleasing listen, and with this being the band’s first album with their new rhythm section, one can only hope they maintain this momentum and stay on an upward trajectory. They’ve certainly got a respect, understanding and appreciation for good, old-fashioned, heavy rock. If you combine this with their raw power, it feels that if they can just take the handbrake off for the entire duration of a record, they may well find themselves with a massive rock hit on their hands.

Label: Argonauta Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: John Porter