Start off with some ‘70s-inspired stoner rock, add in some female bravado on vocals and blues style solos on guitar. Now, imagine this sound coming from the land down under. In reality, what you’re imagining is The Dirty Earth.
The Sydney-based four piece released Ascendancy in February 2016. While I can’t say what typical Australian music sounds like, I can tell you that this band sounds just as American as any of the classic rock bands you may hear on a daily basis. The opening verse of Lay by the Son begins with a choppy riff that sounds as if the band is paying homage to Back in Black by AC/DC. The vocals are sung with power and boldness like those you would hear from Joan Jett.
Red Witch is a menacing and methodical tune. This is a doom-rock track and the darkness of this second song contrasts greatly with the party rock vibe of the first. The Dirty Earth’s Free Bird is more psychedelic than the one made popular by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It starts with a lone drumbeat and leads into some trippy sounding pick slides. “I hate the way you run right over me,” the vocalist proclaims. This is the longest composition on the album at 6:02.
Surprisingly enough, the next track is the shortest of the record. Down to the River tells a story involving gunfire and the devil. While the instrumentation is straight rock ‘n’ roll, the lyrics reminded me of The Devil Went Down to Georgia from The Charlie Daniels Band. The singer belts out: “Headed South on Mainline Road when the voice had spoke to me, said take that gun and ‘em dead and the Lord will set you free. Who am I to argue with this voice that spoke so plain? So, I took my gun, I killed them all, I was made the devil’s slave.”
While Cruel World is slow and gloomy much like Red Witch, the song abruptly speeds up at 3:45. This gives the song energy and offers a brief relief from the depressing nature of the song.
Eternity is without a doubt the most metal song on the record as the intro blasts the listener with machine-like technique on the drum bass. Although the overall song is not modern sounding, this is about as early ‘70s metal as it gets.
This is a band that sings the blues, but not the kind of blues that speaks of sadness and hardships. This album is the quite the opposite. Ascendancy is feel-good blues record that raises the spirits. This is the perfect band to check out if you ever find yourself in Australia and looking for a good time on a Friday night.