Wednesday 8 May 2024

ALBUM REVIEW: Black Tusk, "The Way Forward"

 By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26th April 2024
Label: Season of Mist

“The Way Forward” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1). Out Of Grasp
2). Brushfire
3). Harness (The Alchemist)
4). Lessons Through Deception
5). Breath Of Life
6). Dance On Your Grave
7). Against The Undertow
8). Lift Yourself
9). Ocean Of Obsidian
10). Flee From Dawn
11). The Way Forward
The Review:

Black Tusk are back with another very noisy 35 minutes of punky, sludgy, speedy goodness. These Savannah veterans have been around for some time now and have even survived the tragic death of original bassist/vocalist Jonathan Athon.
Since Athon’s last appearance on the “Pillars of Ash” record, we have had a new line-up put forth “Taking Care of Business”, a b-sides comp and now “The Way Forward”. Black Tusk are best compared to an early Mastodon with prevalent punk influences or a punk Baroness without dynamics or texture. If that sounds like your thing- and you’ve never heard the band- you’ll love this.
The sound is raw, loud, fast and in your face. The songs are short and to the point; eleven tracks and the first three blaze by with “Harness (The Alchemist)” being my pick of the opening trio with its Motorhead pacing and attitude. Having solidified as a four piece line up, the guitars do more- more interplay and more weight. The drums and bass rumble and thrash very convincingly and the whole effect is gnarly, noisy and absolutely over the top.
As the album goes on, the band is taking care of business in the way they know best: as usual. There are no great surprises, no huge changes of direction. While the riffage of “Breath of Life” may reference Fu Manchu, Black Tusk are a much more frenetic kind of beast; revved up and turbo charged.
There’s nothing weak here, nothing wasted either. It is exactly what you expect it to be and it is what it is when you first hear it. Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay here is that “The Way Forward” is real! What you hear is what was played. It sounds live and reckless and full of energy. No sound replacements or overproduction- just a tight band playing as hard as they can- kind of like a modern spin on Black Flag mixed up with any of the bands previously mentioned.
Truthfully, you can press play on any track here and know EXACTLY what the band is about. “Dance On Your Grave” is great and full on, but I could say that about “Against The Undertow” or “Lift Yourself” or.. any song.
Yep, Black Tusk have done it again- they continue to produce noisy and totally committed music in the most unfussy and direct fashion. With the way things are going, we need Black Tusk more than ever. Essential.
“The Way Forward” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook