Crust – Dissolution (Avantgarde Music)

Friday, 22nd December 2023
Rating: 9 / 10

For unstoppable forces in heavy music, one needs to take notice of Crust. If you haven’t yet, well, we’re glad you’re here, and we promise there won’t be any regrets. The Russian trio of blackened doomsters have proven to be more potent with every new slab of menacing fury they’ve laid out. Think of the menace of a band like Thou, and the intensity of Coffins, held together by a delightful black metal wrapper. Since 2020’s Stoic, they’ve been notably consistent in their approach and level of quality, but have certainly never released the same album twice. Last year, Wanderers took the band to a new level of tight songwriting and impactful, fuzzy riffage that hasn’t waned. The black metal influences creeped in a little more, and thus made their music more dynamic. Now a little over a year later, Crust returns with Dissolution, proving to be a further step in an increasingly foreboding direction.

That aforementioned black metal influence is even more pronounced here, helping give Dissolution a bleaker tone than they’ve ever portrayed in the past. That said, the grimy doom foundation hasn’t been rocked, as that style makes up a large part of Crust’s sound, so long time admirers need not fret over any drastic stylistic changes. After an ominous intro track, “He Carries the Fog” brings the slow calamity of doom riffs, contrasted by catchy leads and well-placed tremolos to push the song forward. There are sections of both crushing death metal rhythms and faster paced black metal salvos, yet the track flows between these elements naturally in a way many haven’t mastered to this proficiency.

“I Serve You and Oblivion” firmly plants itself in the thick, murky sludge with Vlad Tatarsky’s colossal guitars creating heaps of depth, enhanced by a veritable drum clinic via Roman Romanov. Predominant black metal atmospheres effectively encompass tracks such as “Graves Await,” being one of the punchier selections of Dissolution. The essence of impending doom is maintained, however, especially with the smooth tempo change around the two minute mark. Crust’s post-metal side is showcased in the melodic and enthralling “God Made Some Hearts of Stone,” which provides a few of the most hypnotic moments Dissolution has to offer.

Walls of distorted fury launch “The Maniac King” into the stratosphere of chilling apprehension, with Artur Filenko’s fiery, throaty screams and snarls never being more vicious. “Morgion” gives the listener further disquieting fright, especially with the low-register spoken word pieces that close out the song, with dreary lead guitars and a pulsating bass line that may give a chill up the spine. Finally, we have the compelling final track “Blazing the Trail in the Land of Suffering,” which is the longest at nearly eight minutes, seamlessly blending all of the many pieces that build Crust’s unique sound into a memorable finale that’s emotive, raw, unrelenting, and ultimately impactful as anything the band have ever produced.

Crust’s progression is noticeable on every album, as their output continues to carefully bring in more influences, all while upping their songwriting chops and managing to somehow improve upon what came before. That’s no slight on previous works – Wanderers especially being a record we come back to on the regular – but rather an endorsement of a band whose powers have no definable peak. Crust have yet again delivered an untamable monstrosity with Dissolution, which is going to wreak havoc on many end-of-year lists. They’ve definitely given this scribe plenty to ponder; a problem we’re more than glad to have.

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