Veilcaste/Tusk – Split (Review)

Veilcaste Tusk - SplitThis is a split between two US doom/sludge bands, Veilcaste and Tusk.

Each band contribute 3 songs, and Veilcaste open the split with 14 minutes of material.

Dust & Bone reveals a band that have a nice, thick, warm sound to their guitars. Huge riffs with melodic underpinnings are complemented by burly rough vocals. Cleaner singing is also used, alongside a more mood-focused mien, and the music’s combination of the heavy side and the more emotive one makes for a very enjoyable track. There is a touch of Yob in their sound too, which doesn’t hurt at all.

Mirrors is similar, only with more of a stoner vibe; a sort of Orange Goblin-meets-Yob feel. Once again I’m struck by the band’s combination of heaviness and feeling. There’s certainly an ugly, unfriendly side to the music, but this is softened by the use of subtle melody and atmosphere that draws the listener in.

The final song is a cover of Return of the Fly by The Misfits, which takes the original’s jaunty punk energy and flattens it into a malevolent sludge doomfest. I have to say it’s a very endearing cover, really quite different to the original, and wonderfully evil.

Tusk are up next, with 16 minutes of music.

Their side opens with Disquiet, which is crushing and thunderously heavy. The band offer a caustic take on sludge doom that falls somewhere between the likes of Conan and Primitive Man, only with screamed vocals that sound quite acidic. Disquiet is dark and malignant, and I like the undercurrent of tension that runs through its core. The keyboard enhancements are well-done and the entire song is well-delivered.

Entering the Flesh Again is the next track. It offers a somewhat cleaner and less terrifying version of Tusk’s sound, (relatively speaking), including some soaring clean vocals that are well-performed. It’s still heavy and the acidic screams still appear, but overall it feels less menacing than Disquiet. I particularly like the atmospheric part in the middle that then builds into an apocalyptic doom section that would do Neurosis proud.

The final song is a cover of Festering in the Crypt by Cannibal Corpse, with guest vocals by the drummer of Obscene/vocalist of Mother of Graves. It’s a bass-led version of the original, with a quality vocal performance and a musical delivery that not only does the original justice, but injects Tusk’s own personality into it quite nicely.

Having never encountered either of these bands before, this split is a great introduction. Both bands have impressed, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for what they do in the future.

Very highly recommended.

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