CD REVIEW: THE DIRTY EARTH – Ascendancy
26 February, 2016
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10
There’s few better ways to open an album than with some huge Led-flecked riffage – delivered here by one Raff Iacurto – topped only by the massive vocals of Mandy Newton, a star if ever we’ve heard one.
That opening track is Lay By The Son, and it’s every bit as big as I’ve made it sound. But Ascendancy doesn’t turn on its opening track by any stretch of the imagination. Throughout another nine riff-led rockers that hint at record collections including more than a few Black Sabbath and Kyuss titles, The Dirty Earth stake their claim for (sorry, couldn’t resist) ascendancy to the pantheon of Australian rock overlords.
One thing The Dirty Earth do NOT sound like is Aussie pub rock: their influences are more European, I suspect, with some hints of doom sneaking into the likes of Red Witch and Cruel World, and Down To The River is basically an evil, Satanic murder ballad.
Fierce Goddess, meanwhile, seems tailer-made for rock radio (if such a thing still existed), with Newton and Iacurto turning in more restrained, nuanced performances.
So Long Sucker closes Ascendancy with what may be the most straight-forward rocker herein: a hot rodding riff zooms along whilst Newton sings “it’s too late baby” to the sucker she’s slamming the door behind, and good riddance. It reminds us a lot of Abbe May’s early stoner rock band The Fuzz, in all the right ways.
Ascendancy is a 45-minute tour-de-force by The Dirty Earth that never overstays its welcome, and is up there with any retro rockers on the world stage.
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