Nowadays the world of sludge metal seems to be uniformly divided between bands that like to contaminate their style with influences from hardcore, thrash and punk, and other formations that prefer to insiston the heavier and oppressive side of this genre of music, often embracing the typical dynamics of doom. Black Tusk, from Georgia in the U.S.A., undoubtedly belong to the first category and their approach to sludge is definitely confirmed in their latest and most recent work: TCBT (which stands for “Taking Care of Black Tusk”). In the specific case of Black Tusk, however, the energy and the fury that emerge from their songs don’t seem to be a mere stylistic choice: the rage, the chaos and the aggression that you feel in their pieces look really like the transposition in music of what they feel in the real life. It should be remembered, in these respect, that a few years ago the band experienced also the premature departure of one of the founders of the group, Jonathan Athon, who died in a motorcycle accident.
The exercise of keeping the level of intensity so high throughout the entire record demands for an adequate package of intriguing and catchy riffs but, in this sense, Black Tusk have definitely done their homeworks. Although often the vehemence and the chaotic side of their sound seem to take the lead, we may still enjoy a sequence of good and solid motifs, with also a few anthems. As a matter of fact, within the 42 minutes of durantion of TCBT there are very few uninspired sections, and basically there is no objectionable or unpleasant song to listen to. On the other side, however, apart from the physiological differences between each song and the next, all the tracks of the record seem to be almost equivalent in style and perhaps this is the only major flaw of Blak Tusk’s last effort. I struggled to identify a single really memorable song; it looks like the album expresses all of its value when absorbed in one single run rathen than when it’s taken in single doses.
My favorite tracks of the album are: Ghosts Roam and Agali.