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Black Tusk: Passage Through Purgatory (Deluxe Reissue)

It's not just the striking cover art that unites Black Tusk with the likes of Kylesa and Baroness (they all share album artwork painted by Baroness's multi-talented mainman John Dyer Baizley); they also inhabit the same musical universe, majoring on groove-orientated sludge/post metal, with side-helpings of doom and psychedelia. In Black Tusk's case they also draw heavily on US hardcore/ punk, and to that end their sound also has some similarities to early Mastodon. This re-release of an album originally released in 2008 has its rough edges (some of the more aggressive, punkish material, with their abrasive vocals, can grate a little) but the majority of the album is pretty strong, particularly when the band find a good groove and concentrate on churning out chunky, hypnotic riffs. Although not the most original band around, Black Tusk are definitely ones to keep an eye on.

Track Listing
1) Witch's Spell
2) Fixed In The Ice
3) Mind Moves Something
4) Interlude
5) End of Days
6) Prophecy One By One
7) Falling Down
8) Breaking The Backs of Men
9) Call of The Sewer Rat
10) Beneath
11) Fatal Kiss

Added: October 7th 2011
Reviewer: Tom De Val
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 2166
Language: english

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Black Tusk: Passage Through Purgatory (Deluxe Reissue)
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-10-07 18:04:07
My Score:

The debut album from Georgian metal trio Black Tusk is a fine example of sludge metal in its rawest, filthiest, and most mentally degrading form. Based firmly in doom metal and hardcore punk, the music on Passage Through Purgatory is a fast-paced collection of heavy riffs and raw aggression that ends before the listener even has a chance to catch their breath. Passage Through Purgatory is short, direct, and to-the-point, and any fan of raw sludge metal is bound to be highly impressed by this debut effort. Black Tusk may proudly wear their influences on their sleeves, but that doesn't take away from the qualities of the fierce aggression exemplified here. If you enjoy fast-paced riffs played in a sludgy atmosphere, there's no doubt that you'll absolutely get a kick out of Passage Through Purgatory.

All of the songs here are pretty short and simple, yet still powerful and commanding. The riffs are always well-executed in a buzzing, filthy sludge metal atmosphere, and the yelled vocals even further emphasize the album's raw aggression. This mix of hardcore punk and sludge metal is nothing new for fans of the genre, but Black Tusk compensates for this with their impressive amount of power and energy. What the album lacks in originality is easily made up for by the short and powerful nature of the songwriting. The 35 minute playing time and extremely unpolished production make Passage Through Purgatory even more enjoyable and energetic, and I can't think of many other albums that invoke this much energy into the listener. And, for me, that's exactly what I demand of a hardcore/sludge metal album!

Even though Black Tusk may not have created a revolutionary album here, the strengths of Passage Through Purgatory significantly outweigh the downfalls and I'd definitely consider it a recommended purchase for sludge metal fans. If you're looking for a short burst of angst-ridden energy, this one better find its way into your collection! 3.5 stars are well-deserved.

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