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Black Tusk: Pillars of Ash

I saw Black Tusk a few years ago at a small club in Salt Lake City. I'll never forget Jonathan Athon's energy, the way he engaged the audience, and the way he (and the rest of the band) sounded. Unfortunately, Athon died in a tragic accident in 2014. I never met the man, but I read several of tributes his fans and colleagues posted; the metal community lost a good friend and talent for sure. For those who don't know Black Tusk, they are often seen as the metal / punk counterpoint to bands like Mastodon and Baronness. This album is the last of the recordings Athon made with the band, but it's not a last-ditch effort to create an archive or a tribute. Sure, it's a testament to how good Athon could be, but it's also a reminder that Black Tusk has always been the real deal.

To my mind, this album may be one of the band's best. There's always been plenty of lively punk rock energy to Black Tusk, but this album captures all of that beautifully. Some of that is probably due to Joel Grind's recording expertise, though the rest of it surely goes to the band itself. Things kick off with "God's on Vacation," a track that begins with the lyrics "here we go again." I thought that was the perfect opening, a reminder that things are always starting up again and that Athon will always live through his music. From that strong opening, things continue largely in the same raw and powerful vein all the way through the end. I'd recommend that fans check out "Punk Out," a fun and exciting tribute to punk rock as it should be played.

This is an excellent album that shows off a band at its very best. It's not only a fitting tribute to Athon, but also a reminder that Black Tusk is just as good as ever. The band is currently on tourócheck them out!

Track Listing:
1. God's on Vacation
2. Desolation of Endless times
3. Bleed on Your Knees
4. Born of Strife
5. Damned in the Ground
6. Beyond the Divide
7. Black Tide
8. Still Not Well
9. Walk Among the Sky
10. Punk Out
11. Leveling

Added: February 10th 2016
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1792
Language: english

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