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Tusk Tree Of No Return

1. Tree of No Return 2. The Rising Terror, the Setting Sun 3. Lost in the Woods 4. Starvation Dementia 5. Ursus Arctos – Walk the Valley
2004 Tortuga Recordings
Our score 8

by Ash Levitt

Without a doubt Tusk is one of the most original bands out there. They are truly a band that throws caution to the wind and does what they want to do, be it musically on disc or destructively in a live setting. Boasting members of Pelican, Tusk is nothing short of a bipolar machine that is intent on annihilating everything. If familiar with Tusk’s previous offerings, one notices immediately that the newest recording Tree of No Return demonstrates a much better quality of recording. While it is still raw to a point, which is wholly fitting for Tusk, the instrumentation is much better heard than on their previous album. The first track begins with serene guitar and ominous bass overlaid with sounds of insects, birds and frogs. This is the sleeping beast. After the listener is lulled, the band comes in full, showing just how powerful they can be. At first, heavy bands like Pelican and Isis come to mind. Then everything returns to a calm state and the vocalist begins a characteristically schizophrenic type of storytelling that lasts throughout the course of the disc.Being a conceptual album about a man’s lost journey through the woods, the vocalist encompasses all forms of vocal styles, from a detached style of speaking reminiscent of a more evil Ozzy Osbourne, to outright cathartic screaming. The band follows in tow, changing styles like the wind. Blastbeats come and go at will being balanced by some of the slowest sludge beats ever heard. Sometimes the music resembles old black metal, at other times it resembles psychedelic soundscapes in the vein of Sunn 0))) or Khanate. In addition to the usual guitar, bass, and drums, Tusk also utilizes uncommon instruments like a bowed mandolin and recorder, in addition to various electronic touches. The different choices in instrumentation definitely have their place at various times throughout the recording. The five tracks on this EP are enough to tell the story of the lost individual, but barely scratch the surface of what is known as Tusk. Explaining Tusk to an unfamiliar listener is like explaining the color red to a person who has been blind all of their life. Bottom Line: This is the background for happy as well as sad times. This is the soundtrack for your worst nightmare or your worst acid trip. This is the soundtrack for your next seizure. This is what you listen to when you are completely disgusted by everything else. This is the show you book at a person’s house who you hate. Tusk is the beautiful antithesis to everything you hold dear.


Post Comment
ghetto_paul_ 9/15/2004 1:12:44 PM

good review until the end. "This is the show you book at a person’s house who you hate." Come on dude, you're trying way too hard.

dutchstep_ 9/15/2004 1:14:42 PM

first post good album

dutchstep_ 9/15/2004 1:15:11 PM

ahh f*ck!

Tony_ 9/15/2004 1:33:44 PM

Tusk are so amazing. If you see them live, you'd probably get why he added that last line. The vocalist is insane live. He looks all coked out. Funny thing is he is totally normal otherwise. Awesome band.

hmm_ 9/15/2004 2:04:30 PM

not sure if that's proper use of the word cathartic.

Ash_ 9/15/2004 3:13:42 PM

I usually don't respond to critiques of my reviews because I quite frankly don't care. But I'm not trying too hard with the comment about house shows. There is a reason why these guys are banned from playing certain places. And the use of the word cathartic is correct.

xemoryhardcorex_ 9/15/2004 4:50:06 PM

I am sorry, but if Mastodon's new cd is a 7, then this is nowhere near an 8. Otherwise, a good review.

asdf_ 9/15/2004 7:34:10 PM

tusk > mastodon

hmm_ 9/16/2004 2:12:46 AM

not sure if i agree with your use of the word there. "cathartic" generally describes the side effect of an activity as opposed to the activity itself. for example, it may be cathartic for him to scream, thus making "cathartic" a property of said scream, but it does not particularly make for a good descriptive word. it is cathartic for me to use the restroom, but that doesn't necessarily tell me anything about the dump i just took. musical expression is (in most cases) inherently cathartic, as it

somebody_ 9/16/2004 8:07:49 AM

shut up already

Ash_ 9/16/2004 10:04:17 AM

f*cking look it up. It's usage is proper.

Ash_ 9/16/2004 10:06:12 AM


Simon_Belmont_ 9/16/2004 10:14:44 AM

no need to be a bitter betty

halibut_ 9/16/2004 5:27:01 PM

"Being a conceptual album about a man’s lost journey through the woods," i wonder if it was inspired by Tusk: the ass-tastic n64 game.

nightmare_ 9/17/2004 12:48:43 AM

you are a retard hmm