“Dream into Dust returns to the post-industrial underground with their first new album in nearly a decade in “So Beautiful and so Dangerous”, an effort that runs an impressive gauntlet of genres from the captivating industrial-laden darkwave atmospheres that possess the project on a rhythmic level to gentle folk-esque guitar-work, emotive vocals as performed by Derek Rush, and Bryin Dall’s unending passion for noisy experimentalism. This is an album that takes the beauty of the natural world and the abrasive rusty textures of human ruin and not only explores them both in perfectly executed aural parallels, but manages to also traverse the subtleties that linger in the shadows between.” This is a quick extract that I wrote for Derek Rush regarding Dream into Dust’s new album “So Beautiful and so Dangerous” upon the first few initial listens some months ago, and while this small paragraph sums up this record nicely, it doesn’t touch on the subtleties that really make the album shine. True, Rush and fellow project member Bryin Dall haven’t released anything under this alias in nearly a decade as mentioned, but their abilities certainly haven’t taken a break and surpass most expectations as the fourteen compositions on this album sound stronger than ever.
Musically, it’s hard to compare Dream into Dust to many artists in industrial music. Many will tell you that their style parallels the quality production and complex electronic / acoustic instrumentation of the more mainstream icons in industrial rock today, but there’s a definitive quality of experimentation in the foundation of every song that very distinctly beckons back to the founding projects of the genre, especially NON in the sense of melody and sound production as well as the electronic percussive prowess of the likes of Cabaret Voltaire. Songs like the early “End of Memory” nearly turns these thoughts on their head though, showcasing a different side of Dream into Dust that is only very minimally electronic in presence, instead opting for an emotive, melodic folk guitar paired with a modest amount of shoegazing atmosphere. The track eventually builds a stronger electronic presence, but with a high caliber of guitar work in this track, it makes you wonder why they don’t focus on this side of the music more. In this respect, there is another side of the project that dots the album as intermissions between tracks. These short, ambient industrial works are named after plants that are beautiful and yet have a strong deadly side, hence furthering the aesthetic of the album title.
It was a fair while back that the original Heathen Harvest interviewed Dream into Dust in 2005 and, at that point, Rush had mentioned that the band had never had a dance floor sound about them, but with this new album, “Perfect Vision” stands out as a completely appropriate rhythmic track with a strong, straight-forward beat where elements of Cabaret Voltaire again show up, as well as drawn back experimental elements and vocals that allow the heavy rhythm and gentle melody to pull through. The following full track “Bruises never Fade” has similar rhythmic qualities, but is far darker and exceptionally gloomy with well-placed, catchy lyrics. Rush’s lyrics and vocal performance is essential to Dream into Dust as their identity. His unique voice is rarely used in overly melodic fashion and often matches the timbre and mood of any given song. Therefore, his voice can be seen as more of an atmosphere enhancer, which puts more importance on the lyrics which don’t fail to deliver. His writing is mostly abstract outside views of his own personal afflictions — subjects that most everyone can relate to but that only he knows the true nature of — but some tracks, especially early on, have social implications. “Counterfeit” and “Suspended in Fear” both revolve around the contemporary world of consumerism and, living in New York, one can assume Rush has more experience being surrounded by that side of existence than most. “Counterfeit” focuses mostly on greed while “Suspended in Fear” described the average American “work yourself to death for shit you don’t need” attitude. It also seems to be textured by the idea of the impossible escape from the endless cycle that is capitalism. “End of Memory” can represent everything from the afflictions of war to our veiled illusions of safety in the West.
In the end, “So Beautiful and so Dangerous” is a welcome and much-needed journey into the beautiful side of industrial experimentation, away from most abrasiveness, and instead focusing towards the emotive and the expressive. The name of the album can have a vast selection of meanings for many people, but given the social ideas of the first half of the album, I can’t help but feel like the title works to describe modern life for the average Westerner overall. How contemporary civilization has made life easier in many ways for society, more or less coddling those of us in the West into an overtly false sense of security while the world breaks apart around us. The beauty of the many marvels of the modern era overshadowed by the threat that our lifestyles pose to the planet and our own survival. The proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand. Of course, I’m prone to reading more into things than is usually present, and we’re all prone to applying someone else’s artistic ideas to suit our own politics, but there is definitely something deeper here to be discovered on one of the many inevitable spins this album will receive in my own future.
02) End of Memory
03) Venus Flytrap
04) Suspended in Fear
06) Secondhand Daylight
08) Perfect Vision
09) Black Lotus
10) Bruises never Fade
11) Stinging Nettles
12) Deaden the Pain
13) So Beautiful and so Dangerous
14) Flowers of Destruction