Bart M. : From Savannah, Georgia, Black Tusk emerged, starting their musical journey in 2005 by releasing their EP 'When Kingdoms Fall'. Since then they have released quite a lot of albums and now they are presenting us their sixth offering 'TCBT' (Taking Care of Black Tusk). A very special album because the one before this, 'Pillars Of Ash', contains songs that were recorded with original bass player Athon, who very unfortunately passed away in 2014 after a motorcycle accident. I am not stating that as an interesting matter of fact, no, it is important to know this in order to appreciate this album even more. When a crucial member of your band gives the ghost, it is not always an option to carry on. To continue. Some bands quit out of respect, others will wipe their noses and continue, but Black Tusk decided that in honour of the passing of Athon they would continue and make an album that was even better and more impressive than any former album. And fuck, they succeeded.
Bassist Corey Barhorst was pulled upon the deck of the ravaged ship that was Black Tusk, to mind himself with all of the bass options, and the ship carried on. Again we hear all band members performing vocal duties and this is a very good choice because even now we hear the threat of monotomy regarding this musical aspect. I also have to tell you that the more you listen to this album (and I do advise you to listen to it a LOT) the more the monotomy disappears and the varied vocals become a real, rough addition to everything else that is happening. It takes some getting used to, but just take your time and let it get through to you. Besides this very interesting use of vocals, Black Tusk is "just" a hardcore band that has evolved hugely to a new and higher standard by combining all the fluffy goodness of punk and hardcore, especially the speed, the simple melodies and the ferocious anger, with the very heavy riffs and the wonderful fuzz of stoner metal. Yes, the songs on 'TCBT' definitely have a certain anger to them and be honest: when someone close to you passes away you really do have a lot of anger to process. Black Tusk does this in a very positive way. They write, play and scream everything that's on their chests off of it, not in a way that calls for pity, but in a way that deserves your respect.
'A Perfect View Of Absolutely Nothing' starts it all off. As if that title alone is not enough to make you stop marching and start thinking and maybe make you shed a tear, the dually spoken intro does more than reach its goal of drawing you into a totally different world with its message. It creates a kind of awareness that you already know is right but it still feels good to get some kind of confirmation of. The next song opens up with a screaming "Open the third eye!!!" and everything that comes next sounds like a call to arms, a call to make people finally think for themselves, even though everything in this life steers towards the realization that nothing is ever right. Heck, tough luck. It is what it is and instead of just giving up you had better just kick yourself in the ass and start doing something constructive. And that is exactly what Black Tusk has done, they did not quit, I am pretty sure they all cried quite a good bit, and then they created an album that enabled them to kick the fucking universe in the teeth, just to make it go and spin the other way. There is no point on this album where you, as the listener, get the oportunity to rest and prepare yourself for what is coming next, no, TCBT carries on like a tank on cruise control driving through the countryside and surrounding villages. There is no band alive that can ever compare to the original Carnivore, but what Black Tusk does here does remind me of the enormous energy and the melody that that band knew how to deliver.
The songs remain recognizable but never become boring or the same. Black Tusk clearly is open to tread new paths and does this every other song, making the sound that you hear ever so interesting. Man, I cannot get enough of this at all! This band decided to continue, in spite of the very heavy circumstance that I am sure changed their lives quite heavily, and they manage to deliver an album that surpasses every other thing they did before this. If you can do that, I think you are doing a very good job. This is Black Tusk, the resurrection.