By: Ross Gnarly
Black Tusk have become a well-known name around the metal community. The band’s perfectly aggressive approach to sludgy stoner metal is slowly becoming that of legend and it is that reason that I fell in love with the band. I love my metal to have a nice crunch and southern tinge and few bands do what Black Tusk do nowadays. After a nice, catchy instrumental intro track titled “Brewing The Storm,” I am already banging my head and digging the fuck out of the record. I love the driving riffing on this track. I know whatever it is that I am in store for, it will be fucking magical.
What better way to start off a track than with an epic chant of “six, six, six!”? I mean, come on, that’s fantastic. The first actual track on the album is “Bring Me Darkness” and you know that southern tinge that I mentioned? Well here it is. This track is soaked in it and it’s a beautiful thing. This orgasm-inducing tune is driven by insanely catchy, charging riffs and pummeling, heavy-handed drumming. The vocals are higher shrieks and yell-singing and, whichever way is being used at the moment, sound extraordinary. “Ender of All” keeps a similar vibe to “Bring Me Darkness” but with a little more southern rock tone to the riffing. I love the epic bass line early on in the track and again towards the end, it adds an epic vibe to the track overall. Again, the drumming is great, the riffing is mind-blowing and the vocals carry extremely well alongside the instrumentation. I really love these riffs. I mean, so catchy and yet so simple. It’s unbelievable. I fucking love this band.
“Mass Devotion” opens up nice and slow with a straight-from-the-heartland southern rock vibe. This track is definitely one that will get your head nodding. That’s for sure. The song teases at heaviness a few times and finally delivers more than halfway through the tracks. Keeping a similar vibe with an ante up of fuzz and aggression, this track only evolves into a mean son-of-a-bitch. Fantastic! “Carved In Stone” bursts right into the pissed off southern adrenaline and immediately begins kicking ass. This has more of those very memorable, driving riffs and pounding drums with that extraordinary voice soaring overhead creating that crushing, sludgy sound that Black Tusk do so well.
“Set The Dial For Your Doom” instantly commands headbanging with its fuzzy riffing and bombarding drumming. I love the southern groove that this track offers up. It’s got a fantastic vibe to it. The lyric patterns are uncompromising and catchy. I love the group vocals on the chorus. Fantastic track. A nice acoustic guitar brings us to “Resistor” and quickly vanishes into a cloud of distortion and don’t-give-a-fuck attitude. This melodic lead guitar line is incredible. This is definitely my favorite riff on the album and also my favorite track thus far. The main riffing seems simple enough but it is more than effective.
“This Time Is Divine” begins with a thick, crunchy bass line before the full-on sludgy attack kicks in. when it kicks in, it’s instantly a masterpiece. Much like “Set The Dial…”, the lyric patterns are spaced out and perfectly executed. The riffing is also masterful and phenomenal. I am running out of synonyms for “awesome” to describe this album with, if that tells you anything. The dual vocals add a whole new level to this band. They never cease to amaze me. “Growing Horns” begins with an eerie opening riff. Very spaced out and odd but I love it anyway. Once again, the riffing is totally mind-blowing and the drumming is creative and hammering while the vocals soar overhead oh, so perfectly. The melodic, charging riffing on this track definitely keep my attention throughout. Great work.
We reach the end with “Crossroads and Thunder” which is heavy-as-fuck right from the get-go. The riffing still has that southern twang to it, but it’s crushingly heavy and it never lets you down. There is always something new popping up throughout this album. Again, the groove that is set in on this track is incredible in execution. The riffing towards the end of this track is exhaustingly fantastic. I cannot stop moving. I love this fucking record. I haven’t stopped headbanging since “Brewing The Storm” and even when I finish the album, I can promise you I will keep listening to it; at least a few more times tonight. I honestly can’t say this band has done any wrong with their back catalog and I will back up that this is their best record to date. Amazing work, Black Tusk.
For fans of: Zoroaster, Black Cobra, Kylesa
Favorite track: “Bring Me Darkness”, “Resistor”
Label: Relapse Records