The members of Black Elk begin their eponymous debut by screaming, “Try and come up with something more terrible,” and spend the next forty minutes practicing what they preach. Each destructo guitar sputter bores a little further toward that section of your brain that controls involuntary reactions like twitching and drooling. These four Oregonians gargle acid, swig dirt and piss chunky streams of mutant noise rock: “Eyebone” devolves from crusty noise eruptions to High on Fire-esque barbarian metal, “Cuddles” ventures into the lair of the Jesus Lizard, and the droning “Who Knew?” recalls Louder Than Love-era Soundgarden, all heady grooves and heavy psychedelia.
Buried beneath the grubby sonic bootprint of Black Elk is a band too good at writing riffs to bother with bullshit like verses and choruses. Despite the rare quiet respites, like the acoustic intro to “Elk Takes Night,” the overall effect of Black Elk is a big middle finger to everything and everyone, accompanied by a gigantic sneer. You don’t write a line like, “You’re a tool/ You’re a motherfucking scab/ Do the lemming/ Cha cha cha” without a healthy sense of humor. Laugh uncomfortably, then run away in fear.