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Dreams of the Blind - 80%

Twisted_Psychology, January 20th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

I’m not one to read too deeply into a band’s choice of album artwork, but the second album by Almeda, California’s Tvsk is an exception worth looking into. Like their 2015 debut From the Ashes, Learn to Die features a similarly cracked desert landscape. However, this album has a few more details and is completely devoid of color, suggesting a bleaker atmosphere. I’m probably exaggerating a bit but it’s not an inaccurate description of the doom duo’s creative trajectory.

The preoccupation with all things Sleep and Om is very well preserved on Learn to Die. From the moment “Blood Sun” kicks in, the same Dopesmoker meets Pilgrimage drones of the debut come roaring in at full force. However, it is more trance inducing than its predecessor; the drums play more of a supporting role to the droning bass lines and the tempo keeps to the same monolithic pace throughout. It also has a greater sense of purpose as the song lengths plod past ten minutes minus a brief interlude and the lyrics display a much more conceptual feel.

On the flip side, this shift does make Learn to Die slightly less varied than From the Ashes. The vocal lines aren’t quite as catchy, the riff work less busy, and the tempos definitely don’t shuffle around as much as they did before. Fortunately, the compositions match the adjusted vision and still stay pretty dynamic. “Blood Sun” stands out for including the heaviest riffs and harshest vocals though “Iron Mountain” may be the strongest track due to its more melodic vocal performance and most effective meditation.

The more I see stoner bands with vaguely spiritual lyrics coming about, the more I’m convinced that they literally worship Al Cisneros as a deity. This is hardly a complaint, as Sleep did include a description of an “Iommic life complete” on a recent single, and for what it’s worth, they tend to be pretty solid groups. Tvsk’s second album is well put together and shows the duo keeping a steady momentum, even if it is slightly less unique compared than the debut. Even with my critiques, I’d hardly call this a sophomore slump and encourage any fellow basshead to give it a listen and see what it inspires.

Highlights:
“Blood Sun”
“Iron Mountain”

Originally published at http://indymetalvault.com