Black Tusk - Tend No Wounds
The EP kicks off with its sole instrumental track, "A Cold Embrace." Right off the bat we see that although there isn't much musical prowess, the power of each member's instrument lends itself to something much bigger. The guitar pretty much sticks to one main riff that is played in a variation of ways: first the melody is introduced with an almost slide-guitar style part. The drums and bass are a bit laid back, then the drums start galloping on the toms and finally with a snare roll, we see the snarl of the main riff played in power chords.
"Enemy off Reason" plays off of this tactic again quite well. It's a chord progression I'm sure we've all heard before, but you can't help but bang your head with the mid-tempoed vigor and style it's played with. I can see lines like "Recoil, the pressure of it all" being shouted along with the band by a sweaty, packed crowd at a local dive bar. An added guitar provides a bit of melody that's quite catchy as well. Afterwards is an evil, slower passage that may evoke a wall-punching rage even out of a mild-mannered fan. To me, this was the most memorable and stand-out track.
Next up is "The Weak and The Wise," which starts out like a menacing dirge (it sounds like a violin and cello start it out, and the bass comes in with it after a few times around). It's incredibly atmospheric and almost sounds as if it's trying to taunt you into listening to something else...surely you won't survive the sonic onslaught that is about to be bestowed upon you. So to no surprise comes the heaviest song out of the six. Both vocalists trade off lead duties in this one, which provides a nice variety-one has a lower pitched menacing growl, and the other has a higher pitched, pretty standard punk type voice. The riffs in this one are again very simple but incredibly effective. You can hear the southern influence, this one is pretty gritty and bluesy. About three quarters of the way through the song they bust out into a very slow, beefy chord progression that is accompanied by the drummer who's playing on the toms which sounds like boulders rolling down a cliffside. They know what the most hooky parts in their songs are, so putting the main verse back in there one last time for good measure was a great way to end the song.
Lines like "Trust no one, call no one my friend" and "Me above all else, me above all of you" would lead me to believe that "Internal/Eternal" has an angry, introspective outlook lyrically. I can't say much that hasn't been said about their songwriting since this song pretty much follows suit, but for me the most memorable thing about this one was an interesting middle-eastern sounding lead line on guitar.
I was very content when "Truth Untold" came on. It was like a breath of fresh air, starting out with a lone groovy drum beat then the bass sets the tone for the main progression that the song revolves around. A lead guitar mimicks that line an octave higher with some awesome wah effects. To me overall, this one has a more 70s/early 80s hard rock vibe to it.
"In Days of Woe," the last song, starts off with my favorite guitar work on the EP; an interesting higher-octave power chord riff which plays off of a detuned power chord that is one of the more catchy moments. They go through a few changes before the vocals kick in about halfway through. It references back to the first track with the lyric "A cold embrace, in days of woe."
If you're into any of the following genres/adjectives: minimalistic, stripped-down, gritty, rock, hard/bluesy rock, metal, stoner metal, thrash, or punk-then you're going to enjoy this EP. In my opinion, the band caters to a lot of different pretty niche genres and blends it altogether. The only downside to this batch of songs for me was that although I enjoyed it a lot, I'm not sure how well it'll hold up after a handful of listens. After a while the chord progressions could sound monotonous or re-hashed. That's a risk I'm willing to take though, Tend No Wounds is out July 23 via Relapse Records.
Label: Relapse Records
Site: Related Link
Similar: Kvelertak, Black Sabbath
- A Cold Embrace
- Enemy of Reason
- The Weak and The Wise
- Truth Untold
- In Days of Woe