‘Heal_Thyself’ album review
artist: Ebony Tusks
genre: noise rap
release date: November 6, 2020
star rating: three out of five
review by Cale Ward
Ebony Tusks’ newest album from High Dive Records, Heal_Thyself, is the group’s first full-length album released on major music streaming services, and what a debut it is. It’s quite heavy-hitting, and the passion for their craft reveals itself through the expansive and creative sound. Heal_Thyself is experimental as well as grungy, and, because of this, it has a very raw and honest flavor.
The excerpts from live shows – and even a little behind the scenes of the production of the album itself – create an aura of closeness that makes you feel like you have been listening to the group for much longer than just this one album. I particularly love when they lean into the grungier side of their sub-genre, keeping you guessing on what is coming track-to-track. The rattly, distorted bass in the track “Gang Signs” for example; such fantastic, intentional touches like this keep you coming back for more.
The experimental nature of Heal_Thyself lies in the mix, meaning Ebony Tusks use unconventional sounds to establish the feel of the record. For this reason, it occasionally seems slightly underproduced. This is not a jab, however, as it makes this body of work feel more personal and adds, overall, to the experience in my opinion. It’s like you are in the studio with them, listening to demos and a collection sampled sounds they have created. This record is something Ebony Tusks should definitely be proud of. They have certainly made it onto a few of my playlists, and, hopefully, we’ll see more in the future.