Las Cruces - Dusk

The new album by Las Cruces has a long and complicated story behind it, for starters it has been a incredible long wait for this album, its been 12 years since they released their last album, the classic "Ringmaster". On top of that, this recording for this album was finished over 2 years ago, the singer on the album also left the band around the same time. "Dusk" also includes 3 tracks from a EP recorded 9 years ago so what you get here is a real mixed bag of a album. Las Cruces has always been one of the most under-appreciated bands in the scene however so its great that the album is finally here. So how does this album compare with the excellent "Ringmaster" album of 12 years ago. The first thing that becomes clear is the overall sound is very different, gone is the clear big production of "Ringmaster". This album has a muddy guitar sound but it is still real heavy but the guitar sounds buried in the mix at times. This is a disappointment at first but that feeling doesn't last long as this is still a cool, strong album of mostly mid-tempo doom tunes. First track up is "Wizard" and its a great track that switches back and forth between lumbering doom parts and mid tempo headbanging sections. The musicianship has made a noticeable improvement even though they were great muso's before but now the riffing seems to be more precise than ever before. The rhythm section of the band is what stands out in the mix while the guitar work sits more in the background of the bands sound. The bass is particularly thunderous on the album along with the drums. Next track up is "Revelations" which is another mid-tempo old school doom rocker, once again the buried guitar work is a bit of a let-down but all is forgiven when you hear the shredding solos that fly out of the speakers. Mixed way louder and up-front than anything else, they slice off your head with some real energetic muster. Its all about groove and this album is not lacking in that department at all, every track has doom laden groove stamped all over it and "Revelations" is one of the highlights. "Cocaine Wizard Woman" has a southern blues feel played with a doom metal vibe, a lot of bands try their hand at this style and most miss the mark but Las Cruces nail it in this song, the lyrics are also a real enjoyable listen. "Burning Bright" has a 70's boogie rock vibe to it even though its played with a total metal attitude. "Wings of Gold" continues the mid-tempo chugging along, for some reason one cant help but think of Death Row era Pentagram when listening to this track. "Banished" was originally recorded for the "Lowest End EP" from 2001 and its one of the most doom ridden tracks on the album. Its a lot more bottom heavy than the other tracks on the album and is a definitive doom track on "Dusk". The track is Las Cruces at their best and most powerful. Title track "Dusk" makes a appearance next and is pretty good but the buried guitar hurts the overall vibe of the song but it is still pretty solid. "Farewell" is another track from the 2001 EP and is a welcome addition to the album but the next track "The Level" is the odd track on the album given its death metal vocal gargle. While its a alright track by itself, it doesn't sit well with the rest of the material on the album. "Roll of the Die" features some killer bass lines before exploding into a monster riff but not in a doom metal kind of way. The riff sounds like something from the grunge era only dirtier than anything to come out of that era. "Killing Fields" is a masterpiece of sinister metal, it has a simple but a very effective punishing riff. The final track "Grin" is also another track from the 2001 EP and has a catchy as hell chorus and more solid metal mastery. "Dusk" is a welcome return from Las Cruces despite the odd production and strange mix, when the songs are this good you can get past the production problems with no problems. The production of "Dusk" may not be as clean as that of "Ringmaster" but it does nothing to take away from the quality and power of the songs contained within. This is another album that will be high up on peoples list for best albums for 2010 so you will want to check it out as soon as possible.

1. Wizard
2. Revelations
3. Cocaine Wizard Woman
4. Burning Bright
5. Wings Of Gold
6. Banished
7. Dusk
8. Farewell
9. The Level
10. Roll Of The Die
11. Killing Fields
12. Grin

Brainticket Records
Reviewer: Ed
Feb 3, 2010

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