Thursday, 29 August 2013

Black Tusk - Tend No Wounds EP (Review)

Album Type : EP
Date Released : 23/7/2013
Label : Relapse Records

Tend No Wounds, album track listing :
1. The Weak and The Wise
2.  Internal/Eternal
3.  Truth Untold
4.  In Days of Woe
5.  A Cold Embrace
6. Enemy of Reason
Bio :
Savannah, Georgia’s heavy-rockin road dogs return to the fold with a stop-gap EP to hold us over between their raging last full length and their next.  ‘Tend No Wounds’ is a 6 song/20 minute blast of high octane raging Southern rock/metal that merges the classic original backwoods metallic hardcore Black Tusk sound with the newer more polished rock based tunes the band has honed after years on the road on the road with bands like Baroness, Skeletonwitch, Mastodon, Kvelertak and more
Band :

Johnathon Athon - Drums, Vocals
James May -  Bass, Vocals
Andrew Fiddler - Guitar, Vocals

Review :
In 1991, four individuals from the barren, sweltering,
California Desert strived to, and succeeded in creating a whole new breed of rock and roll. They were Kyuss and the beast they created became known as Stoner Rock. Like a bolder tossed into the ocean, their sound had a rippling effect. It inspired countless bands that would soon follow suit. Today, those ripples are still very much in motion. As time has progressed however, bands have had time to reflect on, mature and evolve the stoner sound. While it may not be the greatest stoner record you’ll ever, Black Tusk’s Tend No Wounds EP proves epitomises the genres natural evolution. Their experimenting and thinking outside of the box has proved that there’s so much more to the scene than just fuzzy guitars and hallucinogenics.

The mere fact that this band hail from
Savanah, Georgia, over 2000 miles away from the California Desert is credence to just how far the ripples have travelled. It’s not the birth place that really matters, it’s what you take from the music, how it resonates with you. Here, we have a story similar to that of the founding fathers: A group of bored mates – and in this case neighbours - form a band and before they know it, 8 years have passed and they’re releasing their second EP, which accompanies their 5 album strong discography.

As much as this is a record built around that familiar swinging groove, they manage to keep things fresh and original. At just under two minutes, the cavalry charge of opener A Cold Embrace settles you into the stoner vibe perfectly but it is the hook-laden stomp of Enemy of Reason that really flaunts what this band are capable of. Manic drum fills battle against dirty guitars and vocalist Andrew Fiddler’s low-end holler, it is a barrage of merciless brilliance. What the song may lack in technicality is made up for in their ferocious vigour.

Plucked from the EP for single release, the wah-coated Truth Untold adds another different flavour to the record’s pallet. While it remains planted in that stoner vibe, it still seems different. It tries its utmost to standout amongst the other tracks. But, give the album a few listens however and The Weak and the Wise will always be the one that impresses you the most. Its mournful strings catch you off guard; the evolution of the genre unfolding right before you. A bass line soon protrudes through, building to the inevitable drop. Yet, when it happens, it still manages to surprise you. It hits you like a freight train to the chest. And that, when push comes to shove, is what is truly joyous about stoner music. Its unpredictability, eccentricity and diversity are what make it such a sonically and musically profound beast.

It is, in all, a release that succeeds in both maintaining what is great about stoner rock while also tinkering with invention and ingenuity. How different it is from the rest of the pack boils down to personal opinion, but it is a strong EP that stand proudly on its own two feet.

Words by : Philip Weller

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links.  You can buy the record here. This record is available now. Thanks to Becky @ PioneerMusicPress