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Dune Sea – Moon of Uranus Award winner

Dune Sea
Moon of Uranus
by Mark Machlay at 08 December 2020, 6:47 AM

Heavy space rock, huge 70s influences and “Star Wars” references are the ticket for Norwegian band DUNE SEA, who released their second full-length album in mid-November of 2020. The band started off as a solo project in 2012 for the Trondheim-based guitarist, vocalist and synth player Ole Nogva, The project was first described on social media as “a true Norwegian post-ironic space stoner”. The project was in various stages of development until drummer Erik Braten joined Nogva and would release their first music with the EP “All Quiet Under the Suns” that year. Locally, the EP did really well and enjoyed enough local critical success to convince bassist Petter Solvik Dahle to join the band just in time for the trio’s first full-length the self-titled “Dune Sea” in 2019. It seems there may have been a lineup shakeup in a year and some change because drummer Braten is now replaced with Viktor Olsen Kristensen on their new album “Moons of Uranus”.

It’s hard to describe the sound of the band but their sophomore effort is ten tracks of less space-rock and more stoner/doom metal. It’s heavier and sludgier than their previous effort and I welcome the embracing of a heavier element to their sound. Song titles should immediately pop out for sci-fi enthusiasts. “First Contact” may be a reference to the 1996 STAR TREK movie featuring the cast of fan favorite NEXT GENERATION cast members or simply to the general use of the term which means “the first meeting of two cultures previously unaware of each other”. This is a fitting title, for the listener hearing a new piece of music as well as acknowledgement of the bands pushing of genre boundaries beyond space-rock and into a harder edged sound. Then there is “Tusken” and “Sarlacc” both reference from the STAR WARS franchise as well as the more oddball song title of “Draw 4” which makes me think of the card game UNO, seemingly having no connection to sci-fi at all.

Song titles and references aside, how does it sound? Personally, I’m not a fan of space-rock and I passed on their debut album when it came out. But this adds all the heaviness of doom metal bands like BLACK SABBATH and CANDLEMASS with some MONSTER MAGNET groove thrown in for good measure. What’s strange to me is the album is just over half an hour and there are a total of 10 tracks. You won’t find any epics here and it is tight and composed. The whole thing is very 70s, vintage sounding but with modern production value and is clearly meant to be absorbed in one sitting like the long plays of that time. My favorite cuts of the whole thing are the two at the center. The quintessential SABBATH riff that drives the title track “Moons of Uranus” with lots of post-metal fuzz to explore the universe with and the hypnotic rhythm and overall great use of sonic headspace on “Air” really does it for me. The band knows how to use production to further their sonic goals and I’m eager to hear more of this fusion and progression into heavier, sludgier avenues.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. First Contact
2. Shaman
3. Absinthe Blues
4. Tusken
5. Moons Of Uranus
6. Air
7. Draw 4
8. Oracle
9. Sarlacc
10. Globe of Dust
Lineup:
Ole Nogva – Guitars, Vocals & Synths
Petter Solvik Dahle – Bass
Viktor Olsen Kristensen – Drums
Record Label: All Good Clean Records
     


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