Man, I could listen to the first minute of Bleak for hours, cycled on repeat. It's only a few notes, played over and over, but it strikes to the core of TUNG's appeal: infectious energy, gritty riffing, and -- most importantly -- being heavy as shit. Amazingly, there's an entire album tacked on after that first minute that's even more worthy of your time, so go ahead and check out the whole thing now:

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From the chunky, disaffected shapes of "Succession Hand" to the snaky grooves found in "Sand" and "Lost," TUNG isn't tied to any single tempo or modality. Instead, Bleak achieves cohesion through something less heard than felt: an engulfing sensation of sweltering heat. Vocals blister and bubble, howled in brusque utterances; the thunderous percussion seems to let off a burst of steam with every cymbal hit. Above all, though, you can feel this heat in the sublime collage of texture that guitar and bass creates: the sharp corners and rattling underbelly give it traction in your mind, leaving singed embers in its wake.

Bleak never loses its anthemic drive, even as album closer "Fallen Crown" slows to a dirge, and continuously offers new permutations of its devilishly endearing sound in every track that leads up to it. After an initial volley of aggression in the first two songs, "Grit" showcases a less urgent application of this volcanic ensemble: a gloomy ballad with despondent tempo and simmered-down guitar. Oddly enough, the gravelly vocals, previously applied for acerbic emphasis, feel laden with hoarse regret in this context.

The elements composing Bleak are not too unusual: stoner rock, doom metal and sludge all play a part. However, rather than fitting them together like pieces in a puzzle with discernible borders, TUNG has forged a united edge that benefits from the strengths of all its influences. With this alloy superheated by indomitable tone and passion, Bleak is pure kinetic energy put to tape.

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Bleak releases July 10th via Plain Disguise Records. Preorders available via Bandcamp.

TUNG will be performing songs from Bleak live-streamed via YouTube on Wednesday, July 8th at 8:30 p.m. CST / 9:30 p.m. EST. You can set a reminder and watch here.


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