• Black Tusk – Taste The Sin

    Released by: Relapse Records
    Release Date: May 25, 2010
    List Price: $13.98

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    Note: The following review is based on a digital download supplied for review purposes, so we’ve no idea if it comes with nifty inserts or bonus material of any kind.

    Proving that Mastodon isn’t the only metal band that matters to have come out of Georgia in the last few years (they’ve actually got a pretty bad ass metal scene going on these days), Black Tusk’s latest offering, Taste The Sin from Relapse Records, will surely go a long way towards putting this trio on the map. The eleven tracks that make up the album run the gamut from eighties style thrash and speed metal to some of the more modern doomish sounding material that Relapse has made a name for itself with over the last few years. Mix up High On Fire with bits of early Exodus and Slayer and you’ll have a rough idea of what this second full length (their first for Relapse, following their debut album, 2005’s Passage Through Purgatory released through Hyperrealist) sounds like. The band blasts through eleven tracks in under forty minutes, so don’t expect the album to lose its momentum by boring the listener with pretentious guitar solos and proggish noodling (traits that Mastodon actually incorporated very well into their last album).

    From the opening salvo of Embrace The Madness all the way through to the closing track, the bizarrely titled Toe Fry, these guys aren’t screwing around. The guitars are heavy and fuzzed out and riff-centric while still very definitely based in basic blues playing while the vocals are ferocious and gloriously mean in sound and tempo. The drums are thunderous, driving everything with a very determined rhythm and providing a thick, fat beat for the bass, guitar and vocals to skate across. The band has been around for over five years now, having formed in 2005, and their various singles and now multiple full lengths are starting to earn them a deserved following.

    Engineered by engineers Jay Matheson and Steve Slavich, the album brings some solid production to some fairly harsh material meaning that the integrity of the music isn’t compromised without the album having to sound poorly produced. It works well, the sound is a furious one that’ll make you want to get up out of your seat and break some shit. If the band doesn’t deviate that much from track to track, so be it, they do what they do really well and they’ve got all the time in the world to branch out and evolve. At this point in the game, they’re proving themselves as wholly capable of writing and delivering some really catchy, heavy and emotionally gripping music that sounds like it was puked out of a southern swamp, mixed up with whiskey and set on fire. In a good way. And dig that John Baizley cover art, it’s kind of got a sleazy Michael Kaluta vibe going on.