BAND FEATURE (Including Interview): DUST BOLT
Written by Marc C. Pietrek 2017
Those of us who were lucky enough to be around during thrash metals’ most fruit baring years are a skeptical bunch. A lot of us will not even go see bands that we grew up with being loyal to because of excuses like, “It’s not the original line-up, dude!”. We do not buy their latest releases with “I don’t know, man. They went all death metal on the last few albums” as being our justification. I have heard them all and used them all before myself. We are even more guarded against the hype of the “next great thrash band that plays it exactly like the old school bands did”. Our reasoning simply comes down to this: the standards were set so high back then by a few very special and integral bands. In our minds, just about everything else that has came after and tries to be similar is immediately met with raised eye brows and a hand that is more likely to click on Spotify then it is to open up a wallet.
With that being said, I must also add to that there are a few modern day thrash metal bands that are worth taking note of. They have gained the respect and admiration of many jaded, old-school thrash metal fans as well as making fans out of bands they are influenced by. Bands such as MUNICPAL WASTE (USA), TOXIC HOLOCAUST (USA), IRON REAGAN (USA), BAT (USA), SUICIDAL ANGELS (Greece) and my favorite out of all of them, DUST BOLT (Germany).
Formed in Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria in 2006, DUST BOLT (Lenny B, – guitar/vocals, Flo D. – guitars, Bene M. – bass/backing vocals, Nico R. – drums) immersed themselves in the catalogs of thrash metal heavyweights like EXODUS, D.R.I., ANTHRAX and DEATH ANGEL amongst others and have come up with their own exciting interpretation of it as a result. When I listen to them, I often catch myself thinking back to when I would listen to “Thrash Thursdays” on KVHS 90.5 FM in Concord, California. I would learn about so many great thrash bands that nobody really even knew about yet. Bands that spurned my interest in discovering more bands that sounded like them. Ones that made me excited about being a fan of the genre.
This band brings all of that back into the modern day setting. They wear that much needed attitude and aggression on their ripped concert tee-shirt sleeves with pride. Upon listening to ‘Violent Demolition’ (2012 NAPALM RECORDS), ‘Awake the Riot’ (2014 NAPALM RECORDS) and ‘Mass Confusion’ (2016 NAPALM RECORDS), any true, old-school thrash metal fan will arrive at the same conclusion. Metal fans in Europe have already received a nice-sized dosage of the band over the last few years. The band has already performed at WAKKEN OPEN AIR in 2011 and at HELLFEST (Paris, France) in 2014. They were also openers for death metal icons, OBITUARY, on their ‘Inked In Blood’ European run in 2015. Hopefully it is only a matter of time before they make it over here to the USA and Canada, where the blood will spill and beer will flow ha ha.
Below is an email interview that I conducted with Lenny Breuss shortly after ‘Mass Confusion’ was released. Below that are links to their albums on YouTube. Be sure to visit their official site, (http://dustbolt.net/) as well as their official Facebook band page (https://www.facebook.com/dustbolt). Cheers, ya rivet-heads!!
A DARK UNITED FRONT: Lenny Breuss [Dust Bolt] Interview 10/25/2016
Am 19.10.2016 um 16:12 schrieb Marc Pietrek:
01.) What made you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in music? Was there any specific artist/band, album or song that helped make it easy decision for you?
Lenny Breuss: Well, for me personally that wasn´t really a kind of decision. I grew up in a musician´s family and from the very first moment on I actually didn´t do anything but trying to play drums or guitar or jump around and setting up imaginary shows in our living room haha. So I never really saw any alternative than making music and creating something. In the early years it was Prince who finally made me wanna become a guitar player. I originally wanted to become a drummer but my parents couldn´t afford a drum set, but we already had guitars. Later on when I explored metal I think it were the live videos of early Metallice (Seatlle 89!!) and Pantera that me think – alright I need a heavy metal as fast as possible.
02.) Who are your influences, both as a guitarist and vocalist? Who are your all-time favorites as far as guitarists and vocalists go (both heavy metal and even non-heavy metal)?
Lenny Breuss: There are so many. I get inspiration from any kind of music and any kind of art. But to name a few – As a guitar player I´m really into Chuck Schuldiner as a metal inspiration. But I´m really digging blues guitar and I love to jam the solos, on stage and in the studio. For that Gary Moore, Steve Ray Vaughan, Jack white or John Frusciante would be a few names. When it comes to vocals the early Kreator stuff definitely had an impact on me, but I´m also really into grunge stuff from early nineties.
03.) You were born long after the first wave of thrash metal in the 1980s. What drew you to it as opposed to something like nu metal? Did your parents or any aunts or uncles or any other older family members help you discover thrash metal?
Lenny Breuss: No, not at all actually. I don´t know honestly.. haha. The first Metal Bands I listened to were (of course) also Nu Metal bands. That was just the stuff you got in your hands or saw on late night MTV when I was little kid. I remember a friend of our family giving me Pantera Best of then. That totally changed my mind. It had the same aggression, but IMPRESSIVE guitar work, solos and unbelievable good vocals. After that I started exploring myself and luckily friends I got to know helped me, by giving me Iron Maiden, Slayer and old Metallica CD´s . From then on it was just a natural thing that I tried to explore as many bands as possible in the Thrash and Old School Metal genre.
04.) I consider KREATOR to be one of the most important bands in extreme metal ever. Being that both KREATOR and DUST BOLT hail from Essen, Germany, I must ask you have they ever been an influence musically?
Lenny Breuss: We´re actually not from Essen, but from around Munich, Bavaria. But I love Essen. This city is full of metal, it´s crazy! Very nice people. And we finally got to know the members of Kreator. They definitely have been a big influence yes. One of the most important ones for Dust Bolt in the early days I think. As a young kid I could identify 100 percent with Mille´s lyrics and I still do. I love that aggressive punk attitude. “Love us or hate us it doesn´t matter to me, I don´t want to be a part of this sick society”! I miss that in metal today.
05.) DUST BOLT are noted avid fans of the classic Bay Area thrash metal of the 1980s. Who are your favorite bands from the scene and why?
Lenny Breuss: Vio-Lence, Exodus, Testament, Death Angel but also Possessed! and Metallica of course. I just love the music and stories from that time at that area. It´s great how all the bands were connected between each other and build a new musical movement!
06.) Are you a fan of any of the Canadian thrash metal from that same era such as SACRIFICE, VOI VOD and RAZOR?
Lenny Breuss : Voi Vod would probably be my favorite! But I also really like Razor´s Violent Restitution album!
07.) Rob Urbinati from SACRIFICE described Canadian thrash metal as having a slightly more vicious edge compared to US thrash metal bands (he said this with the utmost respect). I feel the same about thrash metal bands from Germany. In your opinion, do you feel the same way and if so, why?
Lenny Breuss: Yeah I understand that. At least in the comparison to German Thrash bands. I think the surroundings and circumstances have an immense impact on the music. And in Germany they just didn´t have a beach!
08.) How did DUST BOLT covering METALLICA’s “Jump In the Fire’ and BLACK SABBATH’s “Into the Void” come about?
Lenny Breuss: Really spontaneous actually! When we did the Metallica cover, we were asked if we want to do it for a Metal Hammer compilation. We have lots of memories of the song Jump in the fire. We just turned 13 and 14 years old, couldn´t stop listening to that song and played along to it all the time. I remember being at a party with Jimi, guitar player in Toxic Waltz, who cranked up that Marshall JCM 800 as loud as possible and rocked out to Jump in the fire while most of the people at that party didn´t want to listen to any of us playing guitar haha!
The idea for Into the void just came by jamming. The intro riff is a fuckin neck-breaker and Nico and me jammed to it many times while writing Mass Confusion. So we just said, come on let´s record it, why not!?
09.) What was the experience of touring and opening for an iconic death metal band OBITUARY last year like for you? Are you are fan of death metal in general and if so, what bands are you a fan of?
Lenny Breuss: Total fan of Death Metal! But I prefer the old school bands. Obituary, Death, Pestilence. That´s my kind of stuff. But I´m also really into Nile e.g. Touring with Obituary was the best time we ever had. We learned so much and Donald Tardy supported us (and still does) so much! I´m really thankful for that. He´s such a great guy and total music lover. It was great seeing them play every night. We didn´t miss one single show. I think we watched every show of that twenty nights!
10.) From what I understand, the band more or less jammed in the recording studio and came up with the songs for ‘Mass Confusion’. However ‘Violent Demolition’ and ‘Awake the Riot’ were not put together that same way. Why was that?
Lenny Breuss: Exactly. The first two album were written by the guitar players at home – more or less. We collected ideas, made some kind of song structure and pre-production at home and then we went into the rehearsal space all together. But this time, circumstances were different. Nico, our drummer and me lived together in the same house. We hung out every single day for more than two years, jammed in the living room together, cooked together, spent life together. When I had an idea for a song, we just drove into the rehearsal room 10 minutes away and jammed to it until we had songs. Apart from that, it was one thing Donald from Obituary said to us – just go there, jam together, have fun and enjoy music and the songs will come by themselves. And they did. This time things happened so naturally and I kind of let the song tell me what to do.
11.) How is the current head lining tour in Europe going so far? What has been the crowd response to the songs from ‘Mass Confusion’?
Lenny Breuss: It´s going good! It´s really fun to go out and play headline shows and have enough time to play many new songs and I think the crowd loved them! They also knew the lyrics and shouted along in some places! It´s also a pleasure to share the tour with bands we could choose and that are friends of us such as Pripjat, Insanity Alert or Toxic Waltz.
12.) How was performing at HELLFEST in France this year compared to WAKKEN OPEN AIR in 2011? As a fan, were there any performances by band or bands at either festival that you would consider truly epic?
Lenny Breuss: Oh well Wacken it´s just so long ago! haha. I just turned 18 years old back then and we were really nervous while performing haha! Hellfest was unbelievable. And the festival is just amazing. So many great bands and many epic shows! I really enjoyed seeing Melvins and Converge for the first time.
13.) How did the the endorsement deal with JACSON GUITARS and EVH AMPLIFIERS come about?
Lenny Breuss: I play Jackson for a long time now and we just contacted the Jackson Guitars distribution, which is the same that also distributes EVH Amps. Our guitar player Flo loves that EVH and so I got a deal with Jackson and he with EVH which is really amazing.
14.) What is your in-studio guitar setup for guitars, amps And effects (if any)? Same question but for performing live?
Lenny Breuss: We use exactly the same things live as we did in studio. We wanted the record to be as natural as possible and 100 percent Dust Bolt. I play Peavey amplifiers, use Electro Harmonix effects for Reverb and as a fuzz pedal, a Cry Baby Wah (not on the record but live) and I just got a new delay. For the solos I boost with an Equalizer.
Flo uses the EVH and a delay booster for the solos and his Gibson Explorer guitar.
15.) What bands would DUST BOLT like to tour with or play a show with but have not been able to for whatever reason?
Lenny Breuss: Suicidal Tendencies! That would be amazing! But I would also love to go on a long tour with a young Thrash Band such as Warbringer or Lost society.
16.) Are there any artists or bands that you would like to give a “plug” to?
Lenny Breuss: I´m not sure what you mean by giving a plug haha. If it´s something positive I go once again with Pripjat, Ayahuasca, Insanity Alert and Toxic Waltz. If it means something negative there would be many, but I don´t think I´d have to right to do so.
17.) There are a lot of fans over here in North America who want to see you guys perform live, including myself!! What is the status of that?
Lenny Breuss: We are working on it! It´s hard for us, for a young band to afford all the costs and risks that come with touring another continent we haven´t been yet. BUT we´re on a good way and will make it.
18.) You are the concert promoter for a heavy metal concert for one night only. You have to choose one thrash metal band, one black metal band, one death metal band and one doom metal band? Which bands do you choose to represent their genres and what is the order of appearance?
Lenny Breuss: WOW that´s hard! But I love the question. Ok, I go with some special ones that aren´t that predictable.
01) ABBATH, 02.) OBITUARY, 03.) PRIPJAT, 04.) UNCLE ACID and the DEADBEATS. It´s too hard to answer that question now. I would have to fight with myself for days to find the best answer, it´s just too hard haha!
Dust Bolt – Violent Demolition [Full Album] 2012
Dust Bolt – Awake the Riot full album (2014)
DUST BOLT – Mass Confusion (2016)