Artist: King Tuff
Album: Black Moon Spell
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Label: Sub Pop Records
“King Tuff is my name/ I got madness in my brain/ Pleased to meet ya/ I’m gonna eat ya/ cuz I’m batshit insane” is how King Tuff kicks off the wild track, “Madness” on his upcoming album Black Moon Spell.
This track basically explains everything you need to know about King Tuff, which is that he’s totally bananas. This fact is overwhelmingly obvious Black Moon Spell, when King Tuff howls about aliens giving him a .45, making out in cemeteries, and a demon from hell vomiting acid all over his shoes.
On this album, King Tuff drops the beachy, lo-fi sound from his previous release, Was Dead on Burger Records and goes back to the heavy metal roots of his self-titled debut. Back on Sub Pop, King Tuff creates a flurry of heavy, swampy, and at times goofy rock’n’roll. From the beginning of the first track, “Black Moon Spell”, King Tuff hypnotizes listeners with the first dark, Sabbath-like guitar riff. Although his heavy metal influences shine through on tracks like “Sick Mind” and “Radiation”, King Tuff knows how to not take himself too seriously. He performs each song in his nasally and yet somehow charming voice, much like fellow Burger artist Hunx.
Although King Tuff seems to be casting a spell on audiences everywhere, it seems like he might be under the “black moon spell” of the leather-clad, heavy metal goddess he refers to on tracks such as “Headbanger”, “Beautiful Thing”, and “Eyes of the Muse”. Once you look past all the smoke and mirrors of King Tuff’s growling guitar and outrageous lyrics, Black Moon Spell is actually a very romantic album. On the track “I Love You Ugly”, he puts away the electric guitar and leather jacket to strum a heartwarmingly weird song in true King Tuff fashion. He exclaims, “I don’t care if you hate your face/ say you look like toxic waste/ I love you/ I love you ugly”, the song is simultaneously sweet and gross and sure to make any heavy metal goddess blush.
But, the track onBlack Moon Spell that truly shines is King Tuff’s 5-minute rock ballad “Staircase of Diamonds”. It begins with Tuff sweetly singing with what sounds like a harp being played in the back ground as he asks, “I’m lost in the dark/ And I need a spark/ Won’t you help me?” It’s at this point that the song explodes in a swirl of drums and guitar. From there, the song escalades into a fantastic blend of ‘70’s psychedelic rock and heavy guitar riffs. The song seems to wander, but never gets lost as it ends in a soaring guitar solo.
After the release Black Moon Spell, it’ll be safe to say that King Tuff is probably the best thing to come out of Vermont since Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Black Moon Spell is King Tuff at the top of his wild, insane, and wonderfully weird game. There are few things in life one can know for sure, but it’s an undeniable fact that King Tuff and heavy metal go together like Ben & Jerry, and the world wouldn’t want it any other way.
Make sure you catch King Tuff in all his weirdness at the Irenic this Thursday (9/25). Buy your tickets here.