Indianapolis’s Tusk offers amp worship somewhere on the stoner doom scale between Conan and Pallbearer on their full-length debut, Eternal Ice. The guitar takes center stage, covering the songs in an overwhelming wall of fuzz that only relents to build feedback or usher in the occasional clean sequence. Subsequently, the structures are reliant on the riffs, which consist almost exclusively of drawn-out chords set to molasses tempos.
Fortunately, the band’s other components don’t get too overshadowed. The rhythm section is integral in its own right, as the bass brings in plenty of hefty supporting fuzz, and the hard-hitting drums keep the tempos from getting too stagnant. The vocals inevitably play a backing role with a distant seat in the mix but manage to be steady, mostly opting for heady cleans until moving to a snarl on the closing “Slain.”
This basic template does make for some admittedly meat and potatoes songwriting, but the tracks come out solid. “Pale” immediately sets the tone with a glacial yet catchy riff set, but the active chug on “Earth Mover” makes for the album’s most notable outlier. The Pallbearer influence reaches its apex at the album’s halfway point, as the hazy “In the Midst of Eternal Ice” is surrounded by two equally isolating instrumentals.
What you see is certainly what you get when it comes to Tusk’s debut album. The tones of Eternal Ice are absolutely colossal, the riffs are strong, and the lengths are manageable enough to not get old. The style isn’t necessarily lacking, but there’s certainly more that could be done with it. It’s a great listen for stoner/sludge fans and a good first step toward even more impactful future developments.
“In the Midst of Eternal Ice”