Sunday, January 24, 2016

Black Tusk : "Pillars of Ash"

If you like the lines blurred between punk and metal then this band from Savannah is for you. With Kylesa's Cory Barhost stepping in to fill the shoes of the late Johnathan Athon who died in a motorcycle accident. Without question Black Tusk is back with a fury. With barked vocal trade off, this is sludge amped up at warp speed. The album as a whole doesn't let up, but attacks with relentless rage. Right from the opening "God's on Vacation" which is more of a punk song than a metal song until the chugging bridge kicks in. There is more of a metal drive to "Desolation of Endless Times" , but with these guys it's commonly hard to see the line where one begins and the other ends. The riff have an almost hard core punch to them which makes sense as that's the normal cross roads where punk and metal meet if it's not thrash. The first riff that bears a hint of Motorhead is on "Bleed on Your Knees" the vocals take a more punk approach one they grind into the verses. The opening riff to "Born of Strife" reminds me a little of AC/DC , but from there is muscles ahead in a straight forward fashion cramming a ton of mean into three minutes. Born of Strife " really finds the point pounded home before being lashed against the rabid punk speeds the band accelerates to. 

Sometimes the punk side really wins out like on "Damned in the Ground" which I don't find as compelling as when the  band's more metallic edge is rooted in place even if it's for a brief snarl. This one like the bulk of the album takes a nod from grindcore  and punk by clocking in at three minutes. After a few listens even this song grows on me, they work quite a few riffs into this quick blast of ferocious bellowing with Barhost's higher shout adds to the dual vocal attack. " Beyond the Divide" gets off to a slower swampy intro , but soon shifts into a angrier slugfest.  The drums open up the ripping crust of  "Black Tide" A minute into the song and there is an almost more rock n roll riff getting trampled over by the drums. At just under four minutes this is one of the album's longer songs.  It is also one of the albums as melody creeps into some of the darker riffs. "Still not Well" has a syncopated chug that recalls Helmet's more aggressive moments. If you haven't already been convinced that their drummer is a beast he really shines playing around this groove.It's also one rare moments on the album where the metal is clearly a distinct element in and of it's self. "Walk Among the Sun" blasts off before finding a more hard core groove to slip into . As far as punk goes "Punk Out" reminds me of DRI, they write a song that holds it's own against classic punk rather than just pretending to be Agent Orange or Gang Green. They close the album with "Leveling" which is another punk hybrid, though it relies more on pounding the anger into you than expressing it lyrically like the previous song.These guys have forged a solid slab of metallic punk that is equally dirty and abrasive.I'll give it an 8.5.If you miss back when Kylesa would really go balls out then these guys are a must. They play tonight at the Earl with Royal Thunder and Bask. 10 dollar Cover doors are at 7:30.

1/25 Johnson City, TN @ The Hideaway
 1/26 Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone
 1/27 Little Rock, AR @ Vino's
 1/28 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey
 1/29 San Antonio, TX @ Korova
 1/30 Austin, TX @ Empire
 1/31Houston, TX @ Rudyard's
 2/01 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
 2/02 Panama City, FL @ Mosey's
 2/03 Orlando, FL @ Will's Pub
 2/04 Tampa, FL @ New World
 2/05 Jacksonville, FL @ Burro Bar
 2/06 Savannah, GA @ Jinx 8


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