Are you ready for swamp metal?! Just what we need right, another fucking sub genre?! Georgia’s Black Tusk have also been labelled sludge metal, but that’s really not very helpful either as I’ve seen everyone from Down to Mastodon called that. In truth the swamp thing is more about geography than sound, but really if you want to know what a band sounds like you’re still gonna have to listen to them. And amen to that eh?
Let’s put on new EP ‘Tend No Wounds’ and really see what’s what…
Well what my ears tell me upon the opening riff of instrumental ‘A Cold Embrace’ is that Black Tusk have punk rock influences and on ‘Enemy of Reason’ they marry those to old school thrash elements. Forget the swamp, these guys sound like Nuclear Assault covering Therapy?! The vocals in particular could easily be those of mighty atom John Connolly and the guitars are used to create twisted, nagging riffs which immediately call to mind the skewed genius of Andy Cairns. And those comparisons hold true for all the remaining four tracks of this EP. Once I had that thought I couldn’t shake it, and even with a little cello here and a smidgeon of black metal there I cannot bring any other great insights or comparisons to mind.
Black Tusk benefit from association with another famous Savannah, Georgia native, metal/art guru John Dyer Baizley of Baroness, who does all their cover art. These guys consider themselves part of a southern metal scene which includes Baroness and the afore-mentioned Mastodon. They are three seriously heavy looking dudes with more tattoos on display than a Yakuza family at the beach. All things considered Black Tusk are a pretty decent rock band, but strip away the labels, the image and the cover art and they’re really nothing special.