Tuesday 28 August 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Black Tusk, "T.C.B.T."

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/08/2018
Label: Season of Mist

Black Tusk, as the title of the album suggests, are taking care of business in the most direct and ferocious way. No fat, no let up- just pure high energy rock n roll.

“T.C.B.T.” CS//CD//DD//LP track listing:

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 Dead
11). Whispers
12). Burn the Stars

The Review:

Punk rock fury. That's what Black Tusk are bringing with them to this particular party. Corey Barhorst of Kylesa fame has taken over from Athon (having seen the band live with both line ups, no one could replace Athon, per se) and he holds down the low end and his portion of the vocals impressively and never without anything less than 100% conviction.

Through their previous records, the band has channelled stoner, sludge, metal and rock n roll to go with the punk element, but it is the band's punk tendencies which shine here. The album is raw and angry and the first three tracks after the intro clip by at an astonishing intensity. The sound expands with “Scalped” and “Ghosts Roam”, but the band really are taking care of business in the most direct and ferocious way. No fat, no let up- just pure high energy rock n roll. To say that if you crossed Sick of It All with Mastodon you might get Black Tusk... well, it's not wide of the mark.

I confess to being a big fan of the band and this album was never going to disappoint. Their finishing statement with Athon, “Pillars of Ash”, was reviewed by me for THE SLUDGELORD a couple of years ago and that still stands as a vicious and rocking slab of primal screams- “T.C.B.T.” is different but no less good. Through releases such as “Tend No Wounds” and “Taste The Sin”, Black Tusk have always put their own personal stamp on their approach and sound and have never really sounded like the other Savannah bands (Kylesa, Baroness et al) by virtue of their directness and energy. They remain a different proposition here and perhaps can be viewed as the Motorhead of the Savannah scene: cool, uncompromising and having a good time, all the time- even through the worst times.

Through the twelve tracks here the band are intense and on fire. Sure, not every riff is memorable and not every hook is golden, but the band make up for this with shear commitment and will. Equally, picking stand outs is tricky here as every track has something to offer and every track is bursting with energy. “Never Ending Daymare” is a fine example of what the trio do best; and the energy with which they do it, but I couldn't argue with any listener picking out “Closed Eye” or “Ill At Ease” or... pretty much any song here.

The final three tracks on the record burn just as brightly as the first three and with that, the record is over. If there is any criticism to be levelled here, it is not at the band themselves but the cover art leaves a little to be desired. To go from the beautifully haunting imagery of John Baizley's art work on previous releases to the stark black and white dullness of the cover here, well, it should have been better.

That said, Black Tusk, as the title of the album suggests, are taking care of Black Tusk (“T.C.B.T.”) in the only way they know how: with full on enthusiasm. The album is a joy to hear and shows that triumph can come from tragedy and can happen without compromise. I for one am very glad that the band are still around. We are lucky to have them.

“T.C.B.T.” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook