Black Tusk – Set The Dial

New album Set The Dial sees Savannah’s Black Tusk follow up their acclaimed 2010 release Taste The Sin with more glorious slabs of their treacle thick and senses probing primal mix of metal, sludge, hardcore and punk rock. The Georgian trio with this their fourth album have continued the ferocious and direct sounds that have made them stand out distinctly but this time around have given the release a touch that comes with a more defined precision and clarity. The thumping direct riffs and rhythms still ripple with attitude and aggressive energy but there is a more focused shape to the tracks.

To be honest the album does not venture far from the sounds of their previous mighty release but the more concerted approach and an even harsher punk tone and attitude to Set The Dial ensures it does more than simply replicate the successes of Taste The Sin. The threesome of Andrew Fidler, Jonathan Athon, and James May produce sounds single minded in their intent to rampage and explode over the senses, their formidable metal, sludge and thrash punk flavoured aggression sounding like it has been filtered through the dirty veins of southern rock. High energy and hard hitting Set The Dial leaves the ear and listener worn out and breathless and ultimately very satisfied.  

The album starts with the instrumental ‘Brewing The Storm’, the track setting the tone with its deep dirty bass and southern twanged groove. The lure and capture is immediate and gets the juices flowing for what is to follow. ‘Bring me Darkness’ bursts in next, it’s rumbling bass riffs and drums contagious and the striking guitars razor sharp and intrusive. With its strong and eager urgency the track sets the highest level for the rest of the songs to match and though they fall slightly short it is down to its quality and not their weakness.

The album is tight and uncluttered; the elements that each member distinctly brings open and clear due to the great production of Jack Endino (Soundgarden, High On Fire, Skeletonwitch, The Accüsed, Nirvana). Tracks like ‘Ender Of All’ with its instantaneous addictive drum beats and straight forward riffs and ‘Carved In Stone’ with its hypnotic grinds and attitude soaked energy prime and impressive examples. The direct and relatively simple sound makes the album overall a mountain of a release, its energy relentless and unbroken by over thought intricacies and diversions. The music is honest and proud without any sense of pretence or delusions to what it is, real dirty proper rock ‘n’ roll.

Every track is strong, varied and food for the metal heart, songs like the stoner grooved ‘Set The Dial To Your Doom’ and the slower sludge doom mentality of ‘Mass Devotion’ are diverse but all attack with distorted guitars, merciless riffs, and attitude soaked aggression. There is little time to grab a breath between each track’s assault with the whole album a mesmeric flow of irresistible primal rhythms and bestial riffs veined and thrust forth with addictive and intrusive sonic grooves.

Set The Dial is as mentioned not a big departure form the band’s previous album and there is a small part that makes one feel disappointed there was nothing surprising about the album but with a sound that is unapologetic in its unrelenting intrusive of what the band does best and the deep unbridled pleasure it brings there is nothing really to throw at the release as a flaw. It is simply great big meaty fun, music to grab and light up the senses.

RingMaster 21/11/2011

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