Review: Tuskar – The Monolith Sessions

It’s been less than a year since Milton Keynes guitar/bass duo Tuskar released The Tide, Beneath, The Wall on Riff Rock Records and this new release of live recordings made by Gallows producer Steven Sears features one new track ‘Into The Sea’ sandwiched between heavier and more intense recordings of ‘The Tide’ and ‘Beneath’ . With the aforementioned tracks there is a lot more depth in the dynamics and an extra boost of volume and intensity. For fans who have witnessed them lay waste to a local venue this release will be a good reminder and for those who haven’t it will be a good indication of what that experience is like.

Sleep inspired ‘The Tide’ starts off low and slow; a fuzzy build up to a crescendo of crashing cymbals and pounding drums which portray an increase in ferocity and clarity both within the bellows from drummer and vocalist Tyler Hodges  – who seems to be possessed by the power of an octopus – and the dynamic guitar playing of Tom Dimmock, going from long chord progressions to complex riffs.

The following track, the brand new ‘Into The Sea’, is equally crushing, featuring thunderous drumming with elaborate fills and spasmodic crashing cymbals. Hodges belts out Conan-esque vocals and the riffs that rip through the murky depths show a deep appreciation for the old school, aptly nautical style of Mastodon. It’s interesting to see the way the duo weave inspirations from clearly influential bands to make their own sludgy but frantic, complex tapestry of noise. Dimmock’s guitar is fuzzy and over driven with plenty of pedal effects and the mix of guitar and drums builds up to a swirling tornado with wave after wave of doom crashing down in a relentless and merciless pattern, much like a great lumbering sea beast gliding through the crashing waves of a raging storm.

Final track ‘The Beneath’ flows, or rather rushes, with a trudging pace but speeds up with the use of Hodges technical and innovative drumming skills which are at points slow and pounding reverberating toms with complex rolling fills and crashing cymbals and later bordering on the speed of rhythmic blast beats. The addition of primitive sounding but intricate stick work breaks up the chaos.

In comparison to their previous releases there are more nuances through-out; the drums echo and reverberate while the guitar has more feedback but the overall energy and enthusiasm comes through with this live recording as the tracks surge forward like a hurricane.

The Monolith Sessions is out now and can be purchased here.

Words: Abi Coulson

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