ONES WE MISSED: ROYAL TUSK – ALTRUISTIC (2024)

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Alberta’s Royal Tusk usher in “Altruistic”  – their third record – with the thought that: “More than anything, we hope you feel like there’s no one else like Royal Tusk.”

Canadian bands have a habit of ploughing a bit of their own furrow, and there’s a bit of that going on here too.

“Fire In Your Veins” is a proper opener too, subscribing to the idea that if you’re going to make modern arena rock, it’d best sound like it’s ready to grab you by the throat. Quinn Cyrankiewicz brings the riffs on this album, but he’s starting as he means to go on.

It swaggers with confidence, and it all comes out on “Hated.” While I accept their assertion that they don’t copy anyone else, I will say that Three Days Grace fans will find much to enjoy here.

It’s very 2024; that is to say, it’s modern alt-metal. “Head Up” has just a touch of the current prog trends about it, and “Relegate” is one of the heavier riffs, before Daniel Carriere almost whispers the verses. If nothing else, it brims with ideas.

Self-produced with three hunkered down at the tail end of Covid, their vision included a nod to pop stylings but an eye on the heavy. When “All My Life” hits, it kicks hard. It’s not the only one – not as hard, though, as the drums on “Death Of Common Sense.”

No excess fat here at all. Ten songs in 34 minutes mean “Here On Out” appears to seethe with anger, desperation even, and it’s typical of the album that its title track might initially begin with acoustic guitar, but by the chorus is wondering “what’s it gonna take?” It’s not clear there’s an answer.

One thing we can’t overlook here is the groove that the album has. It also has a deceptively clever use of hooks. Not apparently catchy to begin with, but like “Breathe” and its “I can’t tell you why,” these stick with you.

The closest this gets to a ballad is the last one, but in typical style and true to their beliefs, “Something Like The Truth” does things on its own terms.

That’s the collection as a whole, too, and “Altruistic” is quite a gift.

Rating: 8/10

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