By Sarah Kitteringham
On their debut for Relapse Records, Savannah trio Black Tusk does what many of their already popular Georgian friends have done: meld rifftastic down tuned swampy sludge with [insert genre here]. On Taste the Sin, they inject more howling punk à la Kylesa than instru-prog à la Baroness and Mastodon, and the result is a disc that has the potential to incite fist pumping, moshing and a little John Baizley fan-boy love. Although the group has work to do before they reach the quality or originality of the aforementioned bands, Taste… is a decent beginning to their inevitable larger label success.
Opening with the furious “Embrace the Madness,” the record continues at break neck speed through its ten tracks. Rollicking drums crash like waves throughout, while the bass provides a crunchy density that is nicely accentuated by the scratchy growling vocals. The drums and guitar coincide frequently for the majority of the record, leading to interesting instrumental dueling that works well in its punky context. Unfortunately, “Unleash the Wrath” features a cheesy megaphone vocal intro, but once the riffing starts tearing in alongside some crashing cymbal abuse, the song remains instrumental and bleeds into album highlights “Twist the Knife” (that features two vocalists) and “Redline,” a track with a bluesy Sabbathian guitar twist. Ending with a three part song that reiterates a botched drive, Taste the Sin suddenly slows its breakneck speed and immediately kicks it into overdrive again to careen off the tracks.
Overall, Taste the Sin is a decent record. If one is new to (or particularly loves) the Southern genre currently sweeping metal, it is sure to be warmly received and highly enjoyed. However, if one has spent several years convincing their friends of the quality of Black Tusk’s brethren or simply isn’t into this particular brand of metal, they are likely to find Taste the Sin unessential or even tiresome.