Black Tusk
Set The Dial


4.0
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
October 28th, 2011 | 67 replies | 12,109 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An admirably fierce, genre-bending sludge metal album that perfectly reflects the hell-raising attitude of its creators.

Crawling out of Georgia's highly acclaimed sludge metal scene, Black Tusk continue to explore their distinct take on sludge metal on their second Relapse Records album, "Set The Dial." While such qualities as massive riffs, booming vocals and an overall gritty sound have been all inherited from such acts as Mastodon, Kylesa and Baroness, the Savannah power trio crafts their very own blend of sludge metal unconventionally fusing it with hardcore and technical trash tendencies. In fact, what distinguishes Black Tusk is the inclination to write high-energy, fierce music that perfectly reflects their hell-raising attitude. Granted, they don't reinvent the wheel, nor do they try, yet their unapologetic, no-holds-barred approach comes as a welcome change when compared to a frequently self-indulgent presentation of their peers.

“Set The Dial” can be defined not only by its frequently manic pace, but also adventurous dynamics that make for the quality that's hardly disposable. The outfit steers clear of employing the traditional verse-chorus-bridge song structure in order to make room for diverse passages that revolve around smoky, yet always tight riffs, bouncy bass lines and highly technical drumming. This is all coupled with mid-tempo dominance and furious, serrated vocal outbursts being delivered by every member of the band. Additionally, the formidable Jack Endino (TAD, Soundgarden, Valis) coats the record with uncommonly clean production that makes every instrument perfectly audible. This approach works surprisingly well putting an emphasis on the act's ultra-technicality.

Aside from being genre-bending, the album's also resoundingly familiar in places. Some guitar play feels just too strongly reminiscent of countless stoner rock acts as does the leading southern rock riff in “Ender Of All.” Elsewhere, Black Tusk sound overly similar to their peer Georgia-based formations. For instance, “This Time Is Divine” shares the same vocal approach and sensibilities with “Leviathan”-era Mastodon. In contrast, there are some way more creative tracks that provide diversity that was nowhere to be found on the act's previous releases. Instrumental “Resistor” is shrewdly conceived and immediate finding the band exploring new musical territories, while “Crossroads And Thunder” finishes the album with an infectious, groovy bass line that emerges on the top of low-tuned, distorted guitar work. Besides, there's a certain level of intricacy involved in nearly every single moment on the disc, whether it's stomping aggressiveness of “Bring Me Darkness” or plodding doom of “Mass Devotion.”

With its sparse 34-minute running time, “Set The Dial” happens to be admirably relentless and focused to the point it's really difficult to pick out any standout songs. In case of another similar act this methodical approach might have cut short the spontaneity, but Black Tusk just thrive on it adding plenty of various influences and, in the process, recording a sludge metal album with a crossover appeal. The fans of the genre won't be disappointed either as “Set The Dial” is sufficiently fierce, intense and technical to make their heads nod in approval.



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user ratings (82)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2011



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Bring Me Darkness":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieE2XEGfLHk

"Set The Dial To Your Doom":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFesKVrKYus

Hell yeah!

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

accompliceofmydeath
October 28th 2011



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hmm, I never checked these guys out cause Baroness and the like usually bore me, but this sounds more interesting.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2011



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They bring a lot of hardcore to the table. That's why they're so interesting. I'm quite surprised how much I like this actually. Thanks for the comment.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2011



19898 Comments


Great review as usual, pos'd. Not sure if this will appeal to me that much.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2011



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you like ballsy, no-holds-barred metal, this will definitely appeal to you.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2011



19898 Comments


I will definitely give it a listen then. I'm not much of hardcore fan, which is why I wasn't sure if I'd like it.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2011



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was sold out as soon as I heard 6...6...6... chanting at the beginning of "Bring Me Darkness" The album's sick. Pitchfork will give this at least an 8... given their previous one got 7-something.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2011



7311 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty decent band. I definitely enjoyed this more than their previous album.

BigHans
October 28th 2011



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bring me Darkness fucking owns hard

BigHans
October 28th 2011



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Set Your Dial to Doom doesnt rape quite as hard but its still awesome m/

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2011



5895 Comments


the Savannah power trio crafts their very own blend of sludge metal unconventionally fusing it with hardcore and technical trash tendencies

You have certainly caught my attention, especially about the tech thrash elements.

Granted, they don't reinvent the wheel, nor do they try

That's exactly what i read in a review for the Hellenic Metal Hammer, that gave this a 5/10.

I believe your convictions about this, tbh.





fantastic review, pos.

Will definitely check this.

Digging: Electric Citizen - Sateen

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2011



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@AliW1993: Yes. It's much better than their last album imo.

@BigHans: This album's sick. And yeah, Bring Me Darkness is better out of these two.

@Voivod: Thanks man. Congrats on your promotion. Hellenic MH is crazy for giving this less than a 7. It's true that some parts of it are overly familiar, but the whole album is intricate enough to make up for it imo.


BigHans
October 28th 2011



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ive listened to most of this on You Tube so Ill just 4.5 it for now hard fist m/

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2011



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome. You must give Lionize a spin too (my previous review). Tim Sult plays on that album.

BigHans
October 28th 2011



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah you showed me a few of those I didnt like those nearly as much as this.

accompliceofmydeath
October 28th 2011



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This didn't have as much of a hardcore vibe as I was expecting, but it's still pretty good.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2011



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Hans: Ah. I slightly prefer new Lionize to this. But, to each his own. These albums aren't very alike so it's no use comparing them.

@accomplice: Glad you like it.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2011



8317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review Greg, these guys have been rather hit-or-miss with me so I'm glad to hear this turned out well and I will be giving this a shot.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2011



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. They were hit-or-miss. Now they're only hit. Haha.

Jethro42
October 28th 2011



12351 Comments


Yet another Greg's review to read. Jeez you're on your way for a 50th before 2012!! Good good!



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