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Black Tusk - TCBT

Black Tusk
by Dave Nowels at 01 October 2018, 4:05 PM

Coming at us with whiplash force from Savannah, Georgia is BLACK TUSK. When I say whiplash force, I’m not exaggerating or bullshitting you. A mesh of Metal, Thrash and a really lethal dose of Punk, BLACK TUSK is commonly referred to as “Swamp Metal”. That works. They’ve just released their new album, “TCBT” on Season Of Mist, and boys and girls, let it be known that this is an album to check out as quick as possible. BLACK TUSK was formed in 2005 by a trio of lifelong friends, Jonathan Athon, Andrew Fidler and James May. From 2005 – 2007 the band released three demos before getting their first record deal. Prior to “TCBT”, the band has released six full-length albums including the breakthrough “Taste The Sin” . Unfortunately, in 2014 bassist Athon passed away from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. Still reeling and grieving, Fidler and May decided to soldier on. Bassist Corey Barhorst (of NICHE & KYLESA) joined on to help the duo get through their scheduled tour. Realizing they had a good fit, Barhorst became a permanent fixture.

“TCBT” opens with the fantastically titled “A Perfect View of Absolutely Nothing”. A spoken intro piece, it sets up the second track, “Closed Eye” perfectly. Immediately, the band attacks. Nothing is held back here. This a full on sonic assault. Dual vocals, one higher one lower and both not about to be ignored. Next up is “Agali” which introduces a bit more of a melodic aspect while refusing to sacrifice the power. “Agali” is easily my favorite track. It’s the one that first really got my attention, and really set the table for the other songs.

“Lab Rat” opens with Barhorst slinging some really sludgy bass riffs while May thunders away. Momentarily it’s even reminiscent of MOTORHEAD. Fidler slides in with some nice feedback laden guitar, and just like that its liftoff on another dual vocal onslaught. “Scalped” follows a nearly identical approach though at a slower pace. The song maintains a separate identity despite the intro similarities. Truth be told, this is a common theme throughout “TCBT”. While it’s a formula that ultimately works, It would be nice to see a little more departure from the basic formula that’s in place.

“Ghosts Roam” stood out as another favorite. Almost like it’s flipping me off for my previous comments. Point made. This one has a lot of interesting nuances happening. Really good stuff here, another track I recommend. The second half, continues with never letting you catch your breath. “Rest With The Dead” and “Orange Red Dead” really registered with me, and the closing track “Burn The Stars” brings us full circle, ending the attack we’ve just experienced.

Overall, I really enjoyed the album. I wasn’t very familiar with BLACK TUSK previously, but I found “TCBT” to be a fine introduction. I recommend giving it a few listens over the course of a couple days. I found that over subsequent listens, I really came to appreciate it more and more, and I think I really came to understand what the band was trying to achieve here. Taking Care of Black Tusk and honoring the fallen.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

1. A Perfect View of Absolutely Nothing
2. Closed Eye
3. Agali
4. Lab Rat
5. Scalped
6. Ghosts Roam
7. Ill At Ease
8. Rest With The Dead
9. Never Ending Daymare
10. Orange Red Dust
11. Whispers
12. Burn The Stars
James May - Drums
Andrew Fidler - Guitar
Corey Barhorst - Bass
Jonathan Athon - RIP
Record Label: Season Of Mist


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Edited 31 May 2023

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