Black Elk Black Elk

Maryland’s Crucial Blast is quickly becoming the premier label for cutting-edge noise rock, and signing Portland, OR’s Black Elk brings the label one step closer to a near-perfect roster with the Mass, Totimoshi and Genghis Tron. The immediacy of front-man Tom Glose’s vocals recalls the unhinged delivery of the Jesus Lizard’s David Yow, and the band’s hardcore-like twists’n’turns provide ample cleavage for ogling metalheads. Opener "Toggle” rumbles forward like a discordant Scissorfight, while "My Lil’” incorporates Slayer riffs to kick the aggro metre up a few notches. "Toss You to the Wolves” gets somewhat melodic like a more metal These Arms Are Snakes, as guitarist Erik Trammell keeps the train on the tracks with Deadguy precision. "When I’m a Ghost” and "Eyebone” magnify that Jesus Lizard connection, with the latter track resembling a doomier Rye Coalition in parts. "Elk Takes Night” comes closer to a Botch reference: acoustic guitars amid ambient/videogame noise begin the cut, which slowly spirals into a cesspool of howling riffs, Dillinger Escape Plan-esque polyrhythms, and Glose’s tortured vocals. The Gersch-like duo of "Baby Liver” and "Cuddles” nearly dip into sludge metal, and the surprisingly tame "Who Knew?” treads very closely to Cable, circa Northern Failures. Sweaty, smelly and downright implacable, Black Elk play those incorrigibly catchy chords that fill small venues and promote cheap-beer drunkenness all night long. (Crucial Blast)