Taste the Sin
From the black depths of the ocean the creature rises, all jagged teeth and massive power. As it rockets towards the surface all other creatures clear it’s wake, hoping not to be noticed by the mammoth predator. It strikes with raw power, crushing destruction and massive shredding. This could be a Megoladon Shark or it could be the new album Taste The Sin by southern doom/groove band Black Tusk.
To be honest I don’t know which of the two possesses more power but Black Tusk is a hell of a lot more fun. This is big groovy rock with a strong foundation in Obsessed era doom. Black Tusk aren’t just amped to have this kind of power, they wield it with a razor sharp precision that puts them a step above most bands doing what they do.
The thing that captured me about Black Tusk was the frenetic energy that each song contains. On some level it feels as though the songs might literally come apart on an atomic level, spreading into the universe. Yes the grooves are thick and the heaviness absolute but Black Tusk take it a step further by introducing a punk rock urgency to their work. It’s hard to imagine an album this hyperactive grooving this heavy but Taste The Pain manages to do just that.
The opening track is titled Embrace The Madness and contains a lyric about ripping off your face, both of which Black Tusk manage to do. They never lose control of the frenetic energy and Black Tusk never lets a song get away from them. Nothing here stays around longer than it should; each part explodes into the next, which allows for the song to always feel like it’s moving. So many bands get lost in trying to groove or adhere to some rule of the doom that the songs drag on with no life to them. Black Tusk, like their peers in High On Fire; escape that trap but infusing what the music with high paced intensity. If sin actually tasted like this album sounds I think Heaven might find itself with plenty of prime real estate.
The other aspect not to be ignored is the musicianship going on with Taste The Sin. Black Tusk isn’t just a groove machine, they come up with some really impressive guitar riffage and drums that manage to always move with out sounding like they’re being over played. Half the losing battle with most doom bands is they don’t write riffs that lodge into your brain. Black Tusk understands the need for their frenetic Megalodon Shark powered super groove music to also have catchy riffs and they execute that at every turn.
It’s good to see that bands like High On Fire, Baroness and Black Tusk taking the next evolutionary step in the world of doom and allowing the genre to grow into something totally new. With their Relapse Records debut Black Tusk have given us a clear invitation to rock with eleven jams that crush your bones into dust but leave you smiling the whole time.
Craveonline Rating: 8 Out Of 10
Full of Hell
Moving on to our next Relapse band I present to you Full Of Hell from the band Howl a band that owes as much to death metal as it does to Eyehategod. Moving from sludgy slow metal to riff infused Death Metal; Howl is clearly made up of solid players who have an affinity for playing between various styles. At one moment Howl are pushing forward with just pure, heavy drenched power and then on a dime they become a double bass thumping guitar band. There are a lot of styles on Full Of Hell and Howl come really, really close to making it all work. Sadly, they miss the mark by mere inches. I don’t think Howl failed due to lack of ability but more lack of cohesion.
Nothing going on with Howl gels the way it should, instead the whole record feels disjointed. Imagine when you’re trying to thread a bolt on a screw and you work it all the way down just to find it’s slightly off and therefore just useless. Howl isn’t useless but their music offers that same kind of “something’s not right here” feeling.
Some bands can mix up styles and still hold onto the center of who they want to be as a band. Howl feels like they’re trying too hard to show us what they’re capable of so they rush things. Each part of every song just clunks in instead of moving out of the last section. On their own what Howl writes is extremely effective but when the elements are brought together the music falls apart.
As unsatisfying as Full Of Hell is I think that Howl are on the right track to doing something really creative. What they need to do is step back from what they’re writing and focus on tightening it all up. Howl don’t need a complete overhaul like some bands, they just need a few tweaks here and there to make what they work on all levels. Full Of Hell is an album of lots of almosts and really close calls.
There are long sections on the album that work perfectly but it usually gives way to something that feels forced. Even if the parts are awesome individually they get butchered when pushed together into the song. If I had to put it another way I’d say that Howl write great parts but don’t write great songs. So many bands forget that songs aren’t just sections slammed together but rather whole pieces that must be worked out. Full Of Hell is full of good parts and interesting ideas but none of them are ever realized.
I’m hoping that Howl will go back to the drawing board on their next album and start figuring out how to make all their wonderful sections work as actual songs. With so many bands out there that have mastered this are it would be a shame if a solid band like Howl were to be left out in the cold simply because they didn’t make the adjustments needed to make them great.
CraveOnline Rating: 6 1/2 Out Of 10