Release Date: Jul 23, 2013
Record label: Relapse Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Stoner Metal, Sludge Metal
A dense allow forged out of sludge metal and Southern hard rock, Savannah, GA's Black Tusk have created a sound as thick and toxic as liquid asphalt. For their latest EP, Tend No Wounds, they have opted to offer a more distilled, high energy version of their aesthetic, a blistering 20 minutes that captures them at their most frenetic. Shaking off the sludge heaviness of their earlier releases, Tend No Wounds is a more nimble and lean offering, while still retaining much of the dirty, swollen guitar tone.
Black Tusk are defined by their simple brutality. While Kylesa and Baroness have gotten softer with age, dare I even say more mainstream, Black Tusk sound just as brutal on new EP Tend No Wounds as they did on Passage Through Purgatory. For them, artistic experimentation means adding strings on one song ("The Weak and the Wise"). Otherwise, Tend No Wounds is very much the same grinding aural assault fans should expect.The EP's brevity plays to Black Tusk's strengths, as this sludge metal outfit has always had a hardcore sensibility.
On their earlier albums, Black Tusk nailed their colors to the mast with a driving sound that infused the progressive sludge the South is becoming known for with the energy of hardcore, creating a rampaging blend the band referred to as "swamp metal. " Though that intensity has served the band well, their EP Tend No Wounds finds them slowing things down a bit with a midtempo sound that gives their murky riffage a little breathing room. Although it's fair to say that "polished" isn't a term one would generally use to describe a band like Black Tusk, the sound on the EP definitely feels cleaned up, removing some of the suffocating sludge of their previous efforts while still keeping things plenty heavy.
The trio that is collectively known as Black Tusk has worked hard in the past few years to make a name for themselves in the saturated ‘stoner/sludge scene over the past few years. The Savannah, Georgia trio has come a long way in their eight-year existence, releasing four full lengths and two EPs. Their second EP, the recently released Tend No Wounds, suits to fill the needs of their insatiable fan base, who are always looking for more dirty with their riffs.
Part of the remarkably fertile Savannah metal scene, Black Tusk rips blue whale-heavy grungecore a new one on its Tend No Wounds EP. Furiously grinding riffs kick down the walls, allowing a rumbling rhythm section to bulldoze the debris – it’s like NYC metalcore progenitors Prong crossing swords with its North Carolina counterpart Corrosion of Conformity. Tuskers Andrew, James and Athon shout like the blood vessels on their forehead have already popped, but they manage a surprising articulation – the better to discern libretto like “Ruthless as long as this hard heart beats/Honor is left for this dying breed.