It wouldn’t feel quite right to call Dust Moth’s new full length, Scale, heavy. Heaviness often implies weight, or a sense of the music bearing down on its listener. There’s an emphasis on the music being tactile, physical and molded into a solid object. You can even see it in the names of genres: rock, metal, sludge, etc. Scale, as loud and aggressive as it occasionally is, doesn’t really fit that description. Instead, it feels like an incredibly dense gas, impossible to hold, but heavy enough to crush their air out of your lungs nonetheless.

Much like guitarist Ryan Frederiksen’s previous band, These Arms Are Snakes, listening to Dust Moth can evoke the sight of a never-ending guitar pedalboard. Frederiksen, bassist Steve Becker, and keyboardist Irene Barber all disguise their instruments behind a fog of delay, reverb, and phasers. Instead of muddling up their sound, this approach only gives them more flexibility. Melodies can come from anywhere at anytime in any form. The quivering synth that leads the outro of “A Veil In Between” feels just as natural for the band as the mournful clean guitars at the start of “Night Wave.”

Of course, Dust Moth can get right and heavy when they want to (“Lift” is the banger of the bunch) but their real strength is how even those more physical moments still work in service to Barber’s vocals. Imagine a less phoned-in Chino Moreno on the last few Deftones records and you’ll have a rough idea of how Barber interacts with the rest of the band. Barber feels simultaneously part of the smoke and mirrors surrounding her and like a lantern guiding the listener through to the other side.

Stream Scale below

—Ian Cory