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Black Tusk: Set the Dial

Set the Dial by US sludgesters Black Tusk belongs to the category of more uptempo sludge metal releases, where the hardcore punk influences which undeniably are an integral part of sludge metal, are given more prominence than the stoner and doom influences, which are normally the most salient aspects of the genre.

The sound itself is very sludgy with heavy and gritty, fuzzy guitars and an overall more organic production, but the heavy beats that characterize the sludge metal genre are, with some exceptions, almost non-present on the album. As mentioned above Set the Dial is generally uptempo, and, while some tracks ar eon the verge of thrash metal tempo, most of them are kept at a solidly forward-going hardrocking pace, and the abrasive yelled vocals are a direct link from Set the Dial to hardcore punk.

The riffage itself betrays influences from early doom metal and stoner rock, and there are a lot of elements that - in one way or another - can be traced back to yet another sludge metal root genre - namely, Southern rock. There is also an alternative rock almost grungy feel to many of the tracks on the album, which, needless to say, suits the grittiness of the overall sound very well.

Unlike many other modern sludge metal artists, Black Tusk are, despite the influences from a handful of different genres, not exactly a multidimensional band. While some might decry the singlemindedness of this album, I quite like how Black Tusk choose focus on aspects of the sludge universe that tend to be overlooked these days, and, when it all comes down, one has to give to the band that they are very good at writing simple and groovy, and very strong, riffs.


Track list:
1. Brewing the Storm
2. Bring Me Darkness
3. Ender of All
4. Mass Devotion
5. Carved in Stone
6. Set the Dial to Your Doom
7. Resistor
8. This Time is Divine
9. Growing Horns
10. Crossroads and Thunder

Added: October 30th 2011
Reviewer: Kim Jensen
Score:
Related Link: Black Tusk official website
Hits: 2253
Language: english

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Black Tusk: Set the Dial
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-10-30 21:10:15
My Score:

A little over a year after Taste the Sin, and Georgian metal act Black Tusk have already returned with Set the Dial. On their third full-length album, the band delivers hardcore-influenced sludge metal just like on their previous outings. This is a highly energetic, aggressive, and non-stop display of heavy riffs and raw production just how any sludge fan likes it. Black Tusk may not have been the most original band around when their debut was released, and the fact that they're still sticking to their guns may lose the interest of more forward-thinking metalheads; still, the quality is high enough to satisfy the band's loyal fanbase for sure. Even though I wish there was a bit more originality on Set the Dial, there's no doubt that this is yet another quality effort from Black Tusk.

The music on Set the Dial is pretty similar to what we heard on previous Black Tusk efforts. This is very aggressive, fast-paced, and punk-tinged sludge metal with a heavy emphasis on filthy guitar tones, buzzing basslines, and raw shouted vocals. In that regard, not much (if anything at all) has changed since their 2008 debut album, Passage Through Purgatory. I could've hoped for something a little bit more unique and adventurous this time around, but Set the Dial definitely delivers its style pretty well. Though not every song is particularly memorable, there are plenty of great riffs throughout the album and it's ultimately a pretty fun listen. At only 34 minutes, it's a fairly short-lived one too.

For some reason I found myself enjoying Set the Dial a bit less than Passage Through Purgatory. Maybe it's because I expected a bit more innovation this time around or maybe it's because this is a slightly weaker effort - whatever the case, I feel like this album is just a tad less essential than Black Tusk's earlier offerings. Still, the quality is pretty good and fans of Black Tusk will certainly want to hear this. 3 stars seems pretty fair here.



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