Thrash Hits

October 27th, 2011

Album: Black Tusk – Set The Dial

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Black Tusk
Set The Dial
Relapse Records
25 October 2011

by Dan Pelic

As a genre, stoner rock has become much like a steak left too long on the barbecue because everyone got too drunk and high to tend to it: Overdone, dry, and tasteless.

As a band, Black Tusk are probably a bit too drunk and high to avoid embodying the most prevalent negative stereotypes of their genre: Senseless and forgettable riffing, shit vocals, and nonsensical lyrics.

Set The Dial, the band’s fourth full-length effort, is a classically underwhelming collection of corny, crude guitar riffs, lazy bass lines, and stiff drumming piled on top of one another to create songs. Overall songwriting is probably where the band needed the most guidance from producer, Jack Endino, who’s done far better work with bands like High On Fire, one of the saving graces of stoner rock. Neither him nor the band took the liberty of trimming the fat, so to speak, after the initial stages of the composition process, resulting in songs chock full of filler.

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The second track on the album, ‘Bring Me the Darkness’, which starts off with one of the cheesiest hunks of lyrical fromage I’ve heard in a while, (“SIX! SIX! SIX!”) begs the question of whether stoner rock is named such because it’s musically influenced by weed and beer, it requires weed and beer to enjoy it, or both. Probably both.

While that philosophical quandary is burning out in the mind, it’s safe to assume with a few or seven pints and/or joints in the system, seeing Black Tusk live would result in some profuse headbanging amongst some of the less shiny pennies of society.

Few stoner rock bands and even less stoner rock albums can shed the confines of a pigeonholed genre ridden with typicality. Black Tusk is not one of those bands and Set The Dial is not one of those albums.


Sounds like: High On Fire, The Sword, Doomriders
Top tracks: Bring Me Darkness, Ender of All, Carved in Stone



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