Even on the slower moments, Deaf Rhino’s Dirt Rust Chaos hits hard. At times, it plays like a grunge record from the early ’90s: mid-tempo songs played with aggression supplied with plenty of volume. And like grunge’s influences there are touches of heavy metal time-signatures, met with the unbridled energy of punk. Fluid lead guitar riffs scream over crunchy distorted riffs. Dirt Rust Chaos also seems to take cues from the adventurous moments of early My Morning Jacket. There are several moments where it sounds like a heavier version of the band’s classic, Z.
But make no mistake: this is no retread or ’90’s revival album. Deaf Rhino clearly make their own sound here. The rhythm section composed of Tommy Scerbo (bass) and Jack “Shirtless Savage” Biamonte (drums), provide some funky moments underneath the sludge, particularly on the bouncy “Love “Don’t Matter to Me” and the bluesy-stomp of “Infinity”.
The album’s key is the musical interplay. It’s clear from a few minutes in that Deaf Rhino is a band that not only feeds off each other, but also listens to each other which shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Deaf Rhino are known for their intense live shows. There’s just enough push and shove between guitarists Adam Schlett (who also serves as the band’s lead vocalist) and Bobby Weir. While’s Weir’s leads are definitely noteworthy, it’s Schlepp’s memorable riffs – which range from distorted bursts to icy textures. The two guitarists are at their best when they’re interlocking riffs and playing different versions of the same line.
Modern rock seems to be in good hands with the electrifying Dirt Rust Chaos. If you’re afraid that guitar-based rock is dying, Deaf Rhino just might be the band you need to restore your faith.
Check out a live performance of “Infinity” below: