The bio I read for this British sludge duo said that they grew up listening to Conan… which seems a little weird, until you get to the part where they’re barely 20 years old. And on Tuskar‘s debut EP, you can hear that influence—if Conan had no bass, they might sound something like this.
Arianrhod kicks off with “Fateweaver,” and despite its shimmering intro, this definitely ain’t no homage to Gary Wright! The drums pound out a plodding path while the guitarist lays thick on the distortion, finally laying down some slow, heavy riffage after a couple minutes. The vocals come in anguished and a little raw, somewhat akin to Windstein, but with a slightly higher pitch. Hell, we’re just a couple breakdowns shy of a Crowbar tune—until the chugging change of pace around the 3:30 mark begets a brief death-metal sounding riff. That heavy breakdown a minute later, though? Classic Crowbar!
The previous number segues seamlessly into “Where Strides the Colossus,” which gives off more of a Conan feel with its push-pull breakdowns and verses oozing pain and misery beyond their years. “Toegrinder” has a more melodic approach that reminds me of Kings Destroy, albeit in a condensed, stripped-down format. There’s a few nice, heavy breakdowns on this tune, too, along with a punishing, bulldozer of a riff that hits around the 2:30 mark.
“Moon-Hooch” is the longest song on here at 7:44. The sparse, fuzzy intro (along with its title) bring the Melvins to mind, but the initial riff that takes form is more of the Sleep variety, while the vocals are drenched in reverb à la Sons of OTIS. You do kinda miss the bass on this one, though. “Crimson Skull” ends the album on a doomy, gloomy note, coming off as a cross between Conan and The Gates of Slumber with vocals reminiscent of early YOB (minus the shrieks). This is a very solid introductory effort!