Do the Patterson brothers even have a main project anymore? For a while I thought it was Black Widows/Cross. Then Breather Resist. Then Coliseum. Now Tusk? Such is what happens in the shifting of any cultural landscape. Industrial becomes disco and therefore hardcore must become industrial. Okay, it’s not exactly Evan Patterson’s own little project since he only just joined as a co-vocalist; rather, the core of Tusk is made up of three members of Pelican as well as a member of Kayo.
With this, to add another cultural shift, hardcore has also become post-metal, as it would seem. Bands on Tortuga, Hydra Head’s sister label, are at once straightforward and bizarre. Bands like Scissorfight, The Gersch, 5ive and, lest we forget, Old Man Gloom constantly tread the line between rocking out and exploring the darkest recesses of our universe and our horribly perverse collective psyche with ever interesting results. Tusk certainly fit into this mold, though they are not as, shall we say, pronounced as the aforementioned powerhouses of, as [greatest magazine editor ever] Harold Hayes would put it, the new sludge.
Tusk is everything you’d expect from a Pelican side project—very Pelican-y. That is to say it has equal parts crushing heaviness and tender melodies, but this time around with truckloads of tarry doom. From there, Tusk renders their music in the structure of massive landscapes, quite possibly with kick ass-looking dead bodies all over the place. It is a dismal, dour place from which there art hails. The Resisting Dreamer is made up of four epics that can be plodding and atmospheric or punctuated by the hammering of avant riffage. The shortest tune is two seconds under six minutes. The longest and last track clocks in at 16:13. Apparently these guys used to be more of the grind persuasion.
Now, however, they must be accompanied by a light show in order to render their intensity. The whole prog-ness of the thing can be overpowering to those who haven’t heard of Corrupted and are not too curious about finding out. Patterson’s vocal contributions are minor, spoken under the instrumental haze.
If there’s anything to be gained from Tusk it’s that they certainly have a handle on all ways harsh and extreme, as all past and current members always have in various other bands. This is, of course, commendable. Thanks to the expansive thinking of today’s post-Isis punks, metal has been able to salvage itself again. However, Tusk seems more of a summary of that current state rather than a continuation of it. It’s kind of a fun thing to do for these guys to get their rocks off in between daunting tours. Nevertheless, to listen to it is not altogether a chore of enduring self-indulgence. Sure it’s indulgent, but it is also interesting and powerful. The band know their way around composition and experimentation and when to use one more than the other. It’s just that I think 5ive is coming out with something and I’d rather dig myself into that for some more substantial satisfaction.
Pelican – The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw
5ive – Versus
Daughters – Hell Songs