Released: 2017, Independent
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Try as I might, I couldn't turn up much in the way of info about Mr. J.T. Lehtonen for this review, not even what the J and the T stand for. All I know is he's a Finnish musician and this particular work, Land of Dust, has been in the making for a hefty six years. Impressive stuff, and it naturally makes you wonder if the final product of all that time is worth the wait.
It's certainly a tricky one to categorise. Listening to the whole album I'm hearing bits and pieces of alt metal, grunge, prog, hard rock, melodic power metal, all scattered about here and there. Not put together in a deliberately schizophrenic mix in an avant-garde fashion, but traits and influences merged together into a whole, with different songs showing off different sides to it. Whatever it is, it certainly has a steady, constant rock to it, and it's fun.
"Adultery" rides out with exuberant speed metal; "Land of Dust" calls some of Sonata Arctica's material to mind with hints of power metal; "Blocked Pipe" and "Seeking" show off flashy yet mature guitar work, the latter in particular letting rip in its second half and soaring up into the stratosphere. The prominent bass of "Liar" and "Newsflash" has a thick, audible swagger that makes these two heavy groovers, while "Day After Day" has a core riff straight off of a Firewind or Dream Evil song. The aforementioned "Liar", as well as "Evil Mind" really bring home the album's alt metal elements, catchy, driven songs with just the right dirty edge to them, all calling up classic Alice in Chains.
As a whole it most seems to resemble Quorthon's solo albums, though I'd say Land of Dust is more successful (the production alone is much better). But it also still has the same sense of restraint that those albums had, as if trying to tick too many boxes and casting the net too wide. A jack of all trades and a master of none, in a sense. While all the tracks are good enough at what they do, the album as a whole doesn't carve out that much of an identity for itself, and ends up leaving less of an impact than it might if it pushed ahead in one area.
Land of Dust is a fun album a long time in the making, and I have to give respect to that alone. I don't know if I'll be returning to it much, but I'm glad to have heard it. It's decent in a lot of different ways, and should appeal to a lot of different heavy music fans in one way or another.