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. By the way, when did this type of music become trendy? Ten years ago, this band would not have mattered; they would have been ignored and quickly forgotten in the world saturated by ‘stare-at-your-shoes’ metal, overrun by bouncy riffs and obnoxious singers. Perhaps there is a reason why metal fans have flocked to the dirty South for their musical styling, there may be some honesty with bands like Black Tusk.
Unfortunately, Black Tusk just does not ever build on their established sound. They have fallen into the trap of wash-rinse-repeat with their music. There is absolutely no reason to proclaim growth or maturity with their sound on Tend No Wounds. Previous outings from the band, allowed their fan base to believe they would be moving forward, yet they have not. Where heavy metal is the genre of albums, not singles, Black Tusk continues to perform the same overdriven rock that has been branded as ‘swamp-metal’, yet another cliché coming from the land of tired bands playing a tired sound.
If there any highlights to this trio’s new six song EP, it would be “Internal/External”. A song that is fairly simple and to the point, it represents Black Tusk’s sound fairly well. Others, such as “Enemy Of Reason”, and “Truth Untold” merely continue down the path of obscurity, with similar riffs and vocal approaches, it is extremely easy to get lost in this recording.
It is the lack of growth, unoriginality, and absence of effort that concerns me with this band. Their early releases showed so much promise, yet their career is slowly careening down a banal, and rather redundant path, much like so many bands in this genre. This is a band that I would not like to give up on, yet it saddens me to think that perhaps they have already hit their peak with their Relapse debut, Taste The Sin, a record that does not hold up after a few listens, needless to say, Tend No Wounds itself growing tired fairly quickly as well. Hopefully the future for Black Tusk shines a bit brighter than previous efforts, and my words will be consumed in a deep fried bar-b-q dish. Bands with this much commitment to a sound need to shine, not conform.