While slated as a progressive metal band, I think that An Handful of Dust might strike a number of listeners as not fitting that label. Well, it's true that we are not dealing with Dream Theater or Fates Warning here. Still, I would argue that the progressive label is actually not that inappropriate.
While the music on Nu Emotional Injection is not characterized by odd time signatures, shreddy solos, epic arrangements, lush soundscapes or incredibly long songs, An Handful of Dust do approach metal music from quite a sideways angle, blending traditional metal and power metal with elements from alternative rock/metal, grunge and hardrock, and I think that this type of (sub)genre transgression is in itself a quite bold - and progressive move (there are even some almost 80s new wave pop-rock passages every now and then), which results in a fairly original sound. And the album is not completely without exotic tendencies, as documented, for instance, by the Middle Eastern-tinged 'Mountains Can't Grow Forever.
Original, yes, but it does seem like two major sources of inspiration are Iron Maiden and Iced Earth, hence the inclusion of NWoBHM-ish twin guitars and a US power metal-like overall sound. The vocals are mostly clean and rockish, but every now and then harsh vocals are deployed, and thus even extreme metal is represented on this album.
The production is generally quite unpolished and has an overall warm sound - perhaps because the bass is placed smack in the middle and has a nice audible round texture to it. While I normally like a quite polished sound in progressive music, I think that An Handful of Dust's music, on this album at least, is of such an authentic rock nature that the unpolished production on Nu Emotional Injection actually suits the music quite well.
Definitely and interesting release, Nu Emotional Injection should, with its quite eclectic approach, appeal to fans of traditional metal, progressive metal, alternative metal and perhaps even hard rock and alternative rock.
1. Lighthouse Callings
3. A Life in Peace
4. Ordinary Life
5. Mountains can't Grow Forever
6. Modern(Frozen). Hope
7. We're Alone
9. I Must Endure
10. Sleeping Giant