Monday, October 19, 2015

Review of Tvsk's From The Ashes

When a doom group consists of a bassist and a drummer, it is tempting to compare them to the Sleep offshoot Om. The same could be said for Tvsk of Alameda, California but they don't sound like a clone band on their debut EP. The sound is dominated by a spacy atmosphere but there is a degree of accessibility that isn't seen often with these particular setups.

While the music here is more trippy than spiritual or meditative, the songs flow in a way that gives From The Ashes a narrative of sorts. "Sacred Kind/Awake The Plague" and "Dead Womb" are the most aggressive and straightforward tracks, the smooth but upbeat swings on "Blooze/The Peregrination of the Nomad" help it live up to its somewhat awkward title, the swells on the title track recall Shrinebuilder's sole studio effort, and the closing "The 'All'/Transcendence" brings it all home with its more subtle heaviness. I imagine the sequence is enhanced when driving out in the California desert.
And through it all, the duo never sounds limited and the performances work well with the compositions. The vocals are gruff but have plenty of memorable lines, Nick Baumgartner's drums roll with the punches well, and Justin Dimig's bass leads the way with mellow builds, aggressive riffs, and even a few distorted leads here and there. A bit of bass layering could be seen as cheating but the effect never makes one lament the absence of a guitarist.

Overall, Tvsk's debut EP should appeal to fans of all things Al Cisneros but solid writing and performances make this a highlight in its own right. The songs' variety keeps the listener's attention and the natural track order makes it even better. One of the more interesting finds in 2015 and it'll be interesting to see where the California duo goes from here.

Highlights:
"Sacred Kind/Awake The Plague"
"Blooze/The Peregrination Of The Nomad"
"From The Ashes"

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