Tutherun – Drug Song EP


Manchester producer, Joe Clayton, is a man in demand, but you’re just as likely to know him as the guitarist in the post-metal band, Pijn. Having worked on recent records by the likes of Battalions, Dawnwalker and Still, Greater Manchester quartet, Tutherun, knew from the day of their formation in 2018 that he would be their first choice as sound engineer. It didn’t take them long to enlist his services for their debut EP in 2019. A two-track comeback EP emerged in May this year, and the band have another one for public consumption in anticipation of their full-length album. Drug Song is a record of fourteen minutes suitable for a 12” vinyl release (but too expensive to fund for an independent band).

Tutherun are comfortable in a fuzzy doom metal paradigm, and they’d probably be an unremarkable band if not for the invigorating vocal outcries and stodgy bass guitar. Those of you that write off doom metal as a one-dimensional sub-genre for stoners and miserabilists will need more convincing after spinning this EP, but those that like their music slow and aggressive will find plenty to nosh on. The opening title track shows why the group have a support slot with Wallowing on the horizon. Unlike the sci-fi sludge lords from Brighton, you feel like a stranded hiker in the Peak District rather than a submarine officer down to his last tank of oxygen. A powerful drum production drives the band forward like an uphill siege company hoping to overrun the enemy’s fortifications. The husk of the shouting vocals reverberates like a strenuous set of commands. The first guitar solo raises its head at 01:33 but holds back from unleashing the full force of its potential. Only at the half-way mark do we experience a modulation of sorts, led by ringing fifth chords and expressive bass guitar phrasings. Snare rolls multiply. Words echo with the might of a trapped coal miner. Pulsating bass notes throb underneath the distortion. Tutherun call their music “soothing doom metal”, and that’s an accurate description. You can allow it to relax your body despite the hyper aggression of the vocals.

Side B sees the band employ a higher tempo for the crunchier menace of ‘Hubris’. This one shakes in the wind like rapeseed – it never settles. This agitated state is its best feature. Doom metal of this variety is too impatient to fall into a stoner metal trap. The roaring vocals put it closer to sludge. “The hand will snatch away / Just as quickly as it gave,” screams the vocalist. Both guitarists thrive off a divergence of playing styles. One frets the power chords; the other seeks life in higher-register settings. You speculate if the song will end at 04:34, but they come back to life with a faint pulse of cautious post-rock formations and use the power of the guitar solo for the climax. It’s an impressive way to release the tension.

The band will be focusing on their debut album over the next few months, and there’s every chance it’ll leave an impression if they can recreate the vibe here. More experimentation with contrasting dynamics, like Cult of Luna or Inter Arma, would be a welcome addition to the musical palette. Dark saxophone drones could also enhance the listening experience. Doom metal’s slow tempos give it room to incorporate more textures, yet Tutherun’s aggressive side needs no adjustments. Let’s see what they can discover on their next release when they stare into the void and search for meaning in the echoes.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 28/07/2023

Record Label: Self-released

Standout track: Drug Song

Suggested Further Listening: Ghorot – Loss of Life (2021), Modder – Modder (2021), Treedeon – New World Hoarder (2023)