Black Tusk – Tend No Wounds

black_tusk_satan_2  Geoff Johnson

The promo with Tend No Wounds, the new six track EP from riff sculptors Black Tusk, says it is a stop-gap release between the outstanding previous album Set The Dial and its successor sometime in the future, and in many ways it feels like that. There is something indefinable missing within the release which leaves it in the shadows of certainly the last two albums but even in saying that the EP leaves senses and hunger more than satisfied as the band unleash more of their rapacious riffs, equally predatory rhythms, and squalling throaty vocals to ravage the ear.

Twenty minutes of raw and furious rock ‘n’ roll, the Relapse Records released EP sees the band merging their earlier sound with its subsequent evolution over the years, the sludge bred rock abrasiveness given further caustic venom from hardcore and punk sculpted additives. It is a compelling and insatiable sound which sparks a strength of appetite in the listener that is always welcome and though as mentioned there is an absent element which prevents the release being one of the major provocations of the year it stands tall and muscular against plenty of the other more than decent releases unleashed to date. To be honest by the end of only its first listen Tend No Wounds inspires the desire to hear more of this approach from the band ahead and numerous encounters with it only reinforce that thought.

A Cold Embrace opens up the enjoyable brawl, the track a brief instrumental which opens on a sprawling expanse of jangling tendnowounds_1400guitars before unleashing the trade mark riffs and grooves the Savannah, Georgia trio are renowned for. With the drums of James May as punchy and spiteful as ever the piece softens up the senses and lights the greed inside despite being barely two minutes of corrosive beauty. It soon passes the baton over to the belligerent Enemy Of Reason which takes no time from its opening barrage of beats in creating a tempest of animalistic rhythmic intent and unpolished encounter. The guitar of Andrew Fidler scorches the senses with tight acidic grooves in between gnawing at flesh with his dirty metallic riffing whilst the bass of Jonathan Athon prowls and provokes within the maelstrom like a beast on heat. With the vocals a truculent hardcore confrontation pushing all the right punk crafted buttons, the song has no problem seizing attention and enlisting the listener into its adrenaline fuelled charge.

The strong start is taken to its biggest peak on the release with the following gem The Weak And The Wise. Its start is a deliciously mesmeric call of seductive strings, cello and violin making a sultry temptation which actually reminds of UK band The Mission. It is an introduction that only gains greater potency as bass and then guitar share their emotive presence to the persuasive lure. With full submission to the smouldering embrace ensured the band release the throttle for another ferocious blaze of punk filtered rock ‘n’ roll, riffs and grooves coated in vitriolic aural oil to easily slip through the ear and vocals challenging and provoking with chest beating antagonism. It is a screamer of a song, easily the best track on the EP and the one which lingers the longest after its departure.

Internal/Eternal sonically niggles from the off with a groove spanning the mesh of sound which has a Celtic lilt to its voice. Into its stride the track strolls with rabidity to its gait that again makes sure it has the full gaze of the ear and thoughts on its combative body and though the track arguably is unremarkable in originality within the release, it still gives a rugged experience that is impossible to dismiss, the returning groove irresistible bait as the song leans into its heavy weight climax.

The closing pair of Truth Untold and In Days Of Woe continue to grip the listener firmly, the first a heavy metal/hardcore torrent of aggression and evolving predacious riffs whilst the last song is simply a sonic fire that sears whilst riffs and rhythms crawl over the emotions with sludge laden intensity and metal borne antagonism. It sums up the whole of Tend No Wounds too, a song which leaves you richly satisfied and drawn physically into its superbly crafted furnace of sound but lacks the killer touch or final piece of its aural jigsaw.

Tend No Wounds is not the best thing Black Tusk has thrust through our ears but is still easily worth an investigation and purchase such the impacting fun and qualities the band brings to the table.


RingMaster 23/07/2013

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Categories: EP, Music

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1 reply

  1. Brutal, insane and furious music…..I love it! or I hate you?

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