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Genre check needed - 25%

edimmu, September 6th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, American Black Metal Records

I decided to check out Ov Dust because many kept saying they were one of the only black metal bands from the Capital District region in upstate New York. The band doesn't seem to exactly claim the label of "black metal," but they do bill themselves as "black/thrash." When I think of a genre bearing this name, I think of bands like Desaster, Destroyer 666, and Aura Noir. "Crushing the American Christ" is nothing like any of these bands, and demonstrates a reason why, for all the problems with the obsessiveness of policing genre boundaries, there is some importance in care in applying these labels. This album is definitely not black metal and it's barely thrash. You could just as appropriately call it grind or death compared with thrash, and the album shares more with contemporary upstate metalcore than blackmetal. I'm talking breakdowns and all, and the growly hardcore vocals to go along. For all it's skating around genre divides and pulling from different styles, the album also fails to sound very novel. A song like "Rise of the Infidel" ends up sounding more like an average metalcore band covering a Tool song than anything that typifies good black metal, thrash or hybids of the two. In the end you get a sort of thrash-groove metal hybrid that reminds of recent output of bands like Exodus.

The recording is extremely clean, to a clinical level, which allows the instrumentation to come across clearly. The guitars, bass, drums and vocals hover separately from one another. While the relative volume of individual tracks in a given song seems appropriate for the style, the mix never really gels into a whole. The lyrics are also the stuff of generic NY metalcore, like "vermin; dregs; extirpate! beat them small as dust before the wind." The refrain of "Rise of the Infidel" -- "sons of liberty: hail, time betides now, incite the rise of the infidel" -- carries the lyrics to this vague political song with a message that is both unclear but also littered with mainstream US political tropes. I end up struggling to decide which is more irritating: the inane lyrics, the metalcore vocals, or the cheesed out guitar solos. These guys are clearly competent musicians and approach the band with a level of professionalism. What they produce is barely listenable, unless you're a fan of metalcore who wants a shred of black metal and thrash peppered around in the mix.