"Hard Rock infused with Desert and Stoner influences.” Sounds good doesn’t it? That is exactly what Duskwood delivers; an unapologetic blend of groove basslines, infectious guitars, slamming drums and vocals that you’ll aim to imitate long after each track has ended.

Duskwood, a 5 piece hard rock outfit formed in Yeovil, Somerset launched their first EP titled ‘Cavete Ursus’ in 2013, which was followed by a blistering in 2016 with the full-length release- ‘Desert Queen’. After touring several dates in their local Somerset and beyond, Duskwood aim to follow up on their previous success with the 2019 EP ‘The Long Dark’- which promises to do exactly that.

In name; ‘Space Craft’ sums up the feel of ‘The Long Dark’ in a nutshell- a multi-tiered atmospheric desert rock experience. And the track opens to that effect, as synth-effects slowly brings in a soft guitar tone which explodes into a maelstrom of crushing instrumental upon the one-minute mark. After a brief revisit to the calm- Liam’s vocal erupt into an infectious riff which is commonplace throughout the entire EP.

‘Mars Rover’ spares no time in launching itself straight into a pattern of crashing drums and tearing guitar work- not long before Liam’s vocals break through the instrumental towards a powerful chorus. Towards the mid-point of the track, we’re reminded of the key Queens of the Stone Age influences which are present throughout the EP; however The Long Dark still comes across as hugely original with an infectious rhythm that you can’t help but bang your head to.

The next track on the EP is titled ‘Crook & Flail’- and as soon as pressing play, you already find yourself entranced into Aaron’s immersive bassline, greeted with Liam’s powerful vocals setting the scene for what the second half of ‘The Long Dark’ journey will entail. Upon the 45-second mark, Greg’s guitar and Pete’s drums adds the extra dimensions to the track, which creates an instrumental blend that would fit comfortably on an Orange Goblin record. As we progress through the journey of ‘Crook & Flail’, we are intermittently pulled down to a blistering chorus which showcases Liam’s impressive vocal range- culminating into a crescendo of slamming drums and ripping rhythm guitar to conclude the track.

As ‘Crook & Flail’ closes, we enter the eight-minute epic of the album, aptly titled ‘Nomad’- and this writers standout track of the EP.

‘Nomad’ holds no punches in showing us just how capable Duskwood are as a collective, and serves up just how capable the group are at playing a variety of different styles- blended into a single entity.

The first minute of the track eerily sets the tone for what we can expect from the remainder of the track as crushing guitar and thunderous cymbals pave way for a rattling bass drum- smoothly transitioning into an infectious riff which becomes a common theme throughout the remainder of the track. Liam’s vocals seamlessly fades into the instrumental to begin telling the story of the Nomad; “All alone at the end of the world. Singled out by desire.”

The track continues to impress towards the 4-minute point of the track, which Dustwood transition the faster paced instrumental a slower pace a la Planet Caravan- a calm before the storm as vocals gradually break the silence back into the familiar crushing riffs, concluding the track and EP with an intricate solo before signing off with an abrupt end to the Nomad’s journey.

On first reaction to the EP- wow. ‘The Long Dark’ is a brilliant example of what a fantastic journey can be told in as little as four tracks. Duskwood have created a 25 minute epic that fans of all genres can enjoy. Particularly looking at you Queens of the Stone Age, Orange Goblin and The Sword fans- this is one for you to check out.

8/10 - Review by Jack

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