The death of BLACK TUSK’ s bassist and vocalist, Jonathan Athon, back in 2014 was an absolute tragedy. Jonathan died after being severely wounded, on a motorcycle accident. Then, the future of BLACK TUSK, seemed in turmoil and everyone knew that the band would take some time to heal the inner wounds, caused by the loss of their dear friend. However, the band managed to find the courage to move on quite fast, releasing ‘Pillars of Ash’ early in 2016.

As it was expected, ‘Pillars of Ash’ is a furious record. Angry and frustrated by death and the loss of Jonathan Athon, the band creates aggressive songs, close to their swamp metal of their previous records. Their music style gets also influenced by crust punk, with scream-y vocals and fast, groovy drumming. From the very first second and the song ‘God’s on Vacation’, it is quite clear that the band creates music averted from the structure of our corrupted world, which is stated by both music and the lyrics.

‘Pillars of Ash’ is homogeneous, as well. It sticks to a crust punk, swamp metal music style and the songs do not have great divergences between each other. In ‘Born of Strife’ BLACK TUSK embrace a more thrashy metal style, with the guitars combining rhythmical riffs together and bonding them with thrash metal drumming.  The vocals parts are quite interesting, as they always give a hardcore stigma to the music. They reveal courage but also frustration, many mixed emotions and inner strength.

BLACK TUSK often remind me of how Motorhead would sound, if they have given up their classic, overdriven rock sound and embraced sludge metal, swampy riffs and hardcore vocals. Alive and vital, BLACK TUSK created ‘Pillars of Ash’ as a great tribute to their lost friend and partner in music, with bullet-fast tracks and aggression. Sludge can still be found inside the band’s music, but can no more be baptized in the name of a specific music genre, as they managed to evolve their sound, but not change as musicians, at the same time.

‘Pillars of Ash’ can be named a ‘best of’ record of the band, meaning that it quite well combines all aspects of their career within its forty minutes of music. The listener can trace Jonathan Athon inside this record and everything the band has ever stated as musicians. The cycle seems to form a full circle, but the band is still hungry, as musicians and still energetic with the same affection for corrupted sludge and swamp metal, as they were when they first gave birth to BLACK TUSK, as a trio.

The new BLACK TUSK record may not be “a record of the year’ but it’s surely notable, something which will remind the band’s fans of what this band stands for, what Jonathan Athon stood and fought for, lacking only in offering something uniquem in a – nowadays-  struggling genre.

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