Released: 2013, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
The only reason that I can fathom as to why Relapse Records continues to give Black Tusk their hard earned money in return for another album, is that the band has in their possession incriminating photographic evidence of somebody on the Relapse leadership team in flagrante delicto with free range livestock. Or something like that.
Black Tusk has been pretty much releasing the same album since their PASSAGE THROUGH PURGATORY debut, which in itself was a good listen. Punk n’ sludge influenced “swamp metal”, real stripped down, 3 chord rhythms with each member of the band randomly shouting something battle related. But that’s been the formula with every release since then, and it gets less exciting and less interesting each time. Which bring us to Black Tusk’s latest EP, TEND NO WOUNDS. 6 tracks - two and a half of which are passably interesting, the balance being tediously repetitive and all together tired.
The opening intro of “A Cold Embrace” has some energy and sounds like it’s building to something triumphant, giving way into “Enemy of Reason”. Ok, it sounds familiar, but we’re off to a good start. And then…not so much. More of the same tired 3 chord (literally the same 3 chords) swamp metal rhythms, with the same shouting barks across the rest of the disc. It’s not until the closing “Days of Woe” that the cycle is broken with its bright, anthemic groove. Dream Theater it ain’t, but it at least offers some variety to the collection.
If you’ve never heard Black Tusk before, sample any one of their tunes on Bandcamp and you’ve got the whole catalog. TEND NO WOUNDS disappoints not only from Black Tusk not even attempting to push their sound past territory they’ve long since tread, but from the persistent feeling that they’re reveling in that acknowledgment.