Review Summary: YMMV
Some of the best albums take time to grow on you, where repeated listens unveiling new heights and depths that went initially unnoticed. There is a special feeling when, after ignoring certain albums for years, a chance listen unveils a wonderous new world that previously went unnoticed. Loving this type of album is often considered badge of honor in the metal community, branding you as one of the elite that “gets it”.
is not one of those albums. It is instantly gripping, with immediacy being the name of the game; no track wastes any time pulling you into the chaotic fray of a triple vocal attack over focused, concise hardcore. Here, Black Tusk continues to drift farther from the sludge scene they so often were lumped in, creating a brash, raucous hardcore album.
After a forgettable spoken word intro track, “Closed Eye” comes out swinging with a ferocious hardcore ripper that sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s an immensely fun track, but it’s when the next track “Agali” hits that everything clicks. It has the same hardcore intensity, but with a more melodic approach than its predecessor. The tone here changes to more emotive hardcore with a rock n’ roll attitude and swing that is absolutely infectious. So far, everything seems wonderful.
It is with the following tracks that problems emerge. “Lab Rat” and “Scalped” follow the formula already set and bleed into each other, with neither of the tracks reaching the peaks previously attained. Therein lies the problem with TCBT
: the intensity cannot hide the homogeneity in most of its tracks. Nearly all of the songs follow the formula: possibly a short intro, unleash the hardcore, chorus, sludgey breakdown, next track. There isn’t a single poor song on the album, to be fair; however, when listening to a 10 track album where everything bleeds together, it can be difficult to pick out the high points.
Not that there aren’t any high points to speak of. “Ghosts Roam” is the best track on the album, utilizing the three vocalists to the fullest and refusing to linger on any one section past its welcome. “Rest with the Dead” is the only track that thoroughly showcases their sludgy beginnings and is a refreshing change of pace, despite being only middling in quality. Special attention should be given to album closer “Burn the Stars” for having the best ending of any song on the album, despite being dragged down by an overly repetitious middle section.
If you like what's presented here, then your enjoyment of the album may last beyond a few listens. There are some stellar tracks and incredibly infectious moments, but the one dimensional nature heard in the majority of the tracks means that reaching these moments can be frustrating. Hopefully, this is a transition album for Black Tusk, one that will allow them to iron out the rough spots and flesh out this new sound more. Until then, TCBT
is a fun album, but not much more.