Tomahawk – Tonic Immobility – Limited Edition, Coke-Bottle Clear Vinyl, Ipecac, 2021

Limited colored vinyl in gatefold jacket.

On their 20th anniversary they finally return with their fifth full-length album, Tonic Immobility. The guys—guitarist Duane Denison [the Jesus Lizard, Unsemble, etc.], vocalist Mike Patton [Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantômas, etc.], drummer John Stanier [Helmet, Battles, etc.], and bassist Trevor “field mouse” Dunn [Mr. Bungle, Fantômas, etc.]—survey where they’ve come from only to leap ahead once more.

Thawed out from their slumber, they sound like, well, Tomahawk…

“Tonic Immobility is almost a summary of everything we’ve done,” states Duane. “There are references to previous things spread throughout the album as well as new territory. On any of our albums, you’ll find those faster, high energy, abrasive, and dissonant songs. You’ll also find the slower, atmospheric, groove- and tension-based moments too. There’s always been a touch of, dare I say, Latin music in the form of Bossa Nova or flamenco-influenced guitar. All of those things appear on this record.”

They’ve built quite the foundation since their first record, Tomahawk, in 2001. Following Mit Gas 2003 and Anonymous 2007, they dropped Oddfellows during 2013. It marked their best debut, reaching #9 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums Chart. Not to mention, critics really got it! The A.V. Club gave it a grade of “A-,” Revolver Magazine rated it “4-out-of-5 stars,” and Pitchfork chimed in, “This lurid, thorny, profoundly weird music–just comes tearing out.” All kinds of touring and festivals followed before the members went back to their gazillion other gigs in 2014. Fast forward a few years later, Duane, John, and Trevor laid down initial tracks in various studios around Nashville with co-producer Paul Allen. Firing the music across the country via the interweb, Mike recorded and engineered his vocals up in San Francisco.

Voila, Tonic Immobility.

“Tonic Immobility could just be something in the air we’re feeling,” says Duane. “It’s been a rough year between the Pandemic and everything else. A lot of people feel somewhat powerless and stuck as they’re not able to make a move without second guessing themselves or worrying about the outcomes. For as much as the record possibly reflects that, it’s also an escape from the realities of the world. We’re not wallowing in negativity or getting political. For me, rock has always been an alternate reality to everything else. I feel like this is yet another example.”