Tusk - The Resisting Dreamer (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


The Resisting Dreamer (2007)


While Pelican may receive all the press for their semi-ambient, intricate pieces of instrumental metal, three of the members do time in another project which is arguably better worth a listener's time. That project, Tusk, has actually put out several releases, but now finds themselves joined by Young Widows' Evan Patterson and Kayo Dot's Toby Driver on their newest, The Resisting Dreamer, for a new method of dark and heavy sonic exploration.

The four-song, 38-minute album commences with "The Everlasting Taste of Disguise" and a devastating low-end that twists and contorts its way through the song's opening. Later, the vocals kick in sounding like the bastard son of Liars' Andrew Angus and the Jesus Lizard's David Yow (I'm guessing this is Patterson). Tusk might now play a similar type of music to their members' full-time project, but an affair like this, or "Cold Twisted Aisle," feels like exercises in grueling restraint and brood, and less like an oceanic, charged march. The second track finds the co-vocalists kicking in halfway through singing in the same Banshee-like manner, and the instruments mark the transition by piling off-time riffs in a rather noisy manner. They sound positively creepy and unsettling by the song's end.

It seems Tusk has also remained with the 'grindcore' label, due to its earlier material that often found songs shifting from the slower, methodical style mostly shown here to full-blown blasts of outright grindcore. But aside from a few sped-up drum fills that would barely quantify as such a percussive backbone, it just isn't there. Tusk has essentially eschewed that other end of the dynamic, but thanks to Patterson and Driver's vocal contributions, as well as a tweaked idea of gloomy and bound instrumental metal, The Resisting Dreamer doesn't just sound like another Pelican album. "Life's Denial" does admittedly bear undeniable similarities to Pelican, while the 16-minute "The Lewdness and Frenzy of Surrender" is by far the longest track, containing repetitive passages leading to a mild buildup and letdown. However, The Resisting Dreamer tends to remain a sensible outpost to try and match Pelican's heavy smarts with `90s noise and experimental rock, and quite often succeeds.