Taste The Sin
posted on 6/2010 By:
The Relapse PR machine is making no qualms about Black Tusk’s sound. I’ve seen this Savannah, Georgia trio openly advertised and reviewed as ‘swamp metal’ and ‘Mastodon’s back-water brethren’, and if the Jon Baizley cover art and band’s locale wasn’t enough, the description is actually quite apt.
Whereas the recent Howl album was a rather mediocre attempt to ride on the coattails of Relapse’s one time flagship act, Black Tusk, like fellow Savannah-ites Baroness, fares much better with their dirtier, dingier take on Mastodon’s angular, slightly technical sludge metal. The songs are fuller, the riffs are sludgier, and the whole affair seems far more confident than Howl, but then again this is the band's second album, and they have been around since 2005.
Of course, if you are sick of the whole Mastodon-ish sound, even with their rougher and readier tones, Black Tusk won’t do much for you. I’ll admit, they didn’t initially do much for me, but then again I have recently been listening to the Howl album for my review as well as lots of Baroness. However, after repeated listens, Taste the Sin starts to seep into my core with its swarthy, bearded, sweaty riffs and slightly Southern, rumbling dankness.
Above and beyond the obvious Mastodon/Baroness influences, I get a hint of the Exhorder side project Floodgate as well as Down, but with more of a burly tone and presence. Second track “Snake Charmer” is where the album really arrives with some raucous southern groovage then “Red Eyes, Black Skies” delivers a more stern, hurly burly and angular sound, showing Black Tusk are not content to rely on their swampy ties and roots. But the Southern-fried thrash of “Way of Horse and Bow” shows they can flip quicker than a trailer in a tornado. Some languid Baroness throes arise in the largely instrumental “Unleash the Wrath”, but on the whole, the band avoids too much dreamy, hazy moments or ambience and relies on earthy rumbles for the most part (“Twist the Knife”). The album's opus is the four part “Double Clutchin’”, which covers the gamut of the band's influences in one booze fueled trip and crash.
The drumming is from the Brann Dailor/Allen Bickle School of Percussive Business; the vocals are the typical gruff shouts and semi clean gravelly croons; and the production is expectedly gravelly and groovy. The end result, while a tangible mish-mash of other bands, is still an enjoyable effort that has some of its own southern charm at times.
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