In many ways, the Screaming Trees missed their opportunity. They released Sweet Oblivion just as grunge began to capture national attention and they didn't tour the album extensively, which meant nearly all of their fellow Seattle bands became superstars while they stood to the side. After four years, they returned with Dust, their third major-label album, and by that point, the band's sound was too idiosyncratic for alternative radio. Which is unfortunate, because Dust is the band's strongest album. Sure, the rough edges that fueled albums like Uncle Anesthesia are gone, but in its place is a rustic hard rock, equally informed by heavy metal and folk. The influence of Mark Lanegan's haunting solo albums is apparent in both the sound and emotional tone of the record, but this is hardly a solo project -- the rest of the band has added a gritty weight to Lanegan's spare prose. The Screaming Trees sound tighter than they ever have and their melodies and hooks are stronger, more memorable, making Dust their most consistently impressive record.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine