Royal Tusk Tackles 'Isolation and Authoritarianism' In Brutal 'Aftermath' Video: Premiere

Brandynn Pope
Royal Tusk

Canadian hard rockers Royal Tusk pack a brutal message into "Aftermath," the first single from its upcoming sophomore album Tusk II. Now it has an equally brutal video, premiering exclusively below, to go with it.

The song is a reflection of the times, according to frontman Daniel Carriere. "It's inspired by the idea that our culture is being desensitized to violence through all sorts of stuff -- everything we see online, TV, all of that," Carriere tells Billboard. "When I wrote it I was thinking about the Pulse nightclub, the (Las) Vegas shootings, these tragedies that keep happening, and I'm like, 'Why is it I can sleep at night with all this horrible shit going on?' That was the inception of the idea, and the video wrests with those kinds of themes of isolation, tragedy, authoritarianism -- basically, how does somebody deal with all this input and overload and make their way."

In the video, directed by Evan Dennis, the main character copes via a lifestyle of Clockwork Orange mayhem, including fights, drugs and confrontations with police -- interspersed with footage of the quartet playing the song. "It's an environment that seems really kind of toxic," Carriere notes. "It's really watching the normalization of hurting people. It's just so jarring. It's really interesting to imagine what brings someone to that."

"Aftermath" has been stirring thing up since its release earlier this year, generating about 500,000 streams so far on Spotify as Royal Tusk gears up for the Oct. 26 release of Tusk II, and a tour with labelmates Pop Evil. "Just the fact it's been received at all is great," Carriere says, "and especially getting feedback from people who identify with the thoughts it's provoking. I couldn't be happier that people are listening to it and playing it on the radio, etc." The song's hard-hitting sound, meanwhile, is a good introduction to Tusk II, which it recorded in Toronto with producer Eric Ratz (Billy Talent, Monster Truck). The LP steps beyond what fans heard on 2016's DealBreaker.

"To be honest, we sounded like tourists in the genres of music we were playing before," Carriere acknowledges. "We've always been a rock band, and we were kind of dabbling in the indie rock world. It just didn't feel right. We grew up in this weird time where it felt like a faux pas to love heavy guitar. Now I realize how silly that was. We're really proud of the rock record we made; We wanted to play something honest and true -- and we wanted to play some damn guitar, so that's what we did."