Though they'd planned to split after the release of Sweet Oblivion, that album’s runaway success meant Screaming Trees had no choice but to record a follow-up. This 1996 album revives the mucky psychedelia of their early years in rural Washington and reinvigorates it with their newfound confidence as a stadium-rock superpower. “Halo of Ashes” should have been one of the big hits of the mid-'90s: it applies Nirvana's sonic disposition to the swirling momentum of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Produced by George Drakoulias (the Rick Rubin associate who oversaw early albums by The Black Crowes and Primal Scream), the rest of Dust is similarly epic without giving up the Trees’ love for dense and disobedient guitars. At the same time, “Traveler” shows that the Trees retained a mysterious, ominous appeal even when they subtracted the amplified roar. Featuring cameos from Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), stoner metal figurehead Chris Goss (Kyuss, Masters of Reality), and Benmont Tench (of Tom Petty’s band), Dust stands at the crossroads of grunge, stoner metal, and American roots rock.

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