Emerging onto the metal scene from Savannah, Georgia in 2005, Black Tusk specialize in a brand of sludge they call "swamp metal," which derives its particular musical tenets from dirty punk, sludgy heavy metal, and a weighty Motörhead influence. Their sound is loud, proud, slightly blackened, always intense, and extremely murky, as displayed on their best-known offering, 2010's Taste the Sin.
The original trio was founded by Andrew Fidler (guitar/vocals), Jonathan Athon (bass/vocals), and James May (drums/vocals), and combined the drive of fellow Savannah residents Baroness with the thick and murky stoner rock of High on Fire. Their self-released first demo, Demos and the Demons, appeared the same year, followed in early 2006 by the full-length When Kingdoms Fall on Wrecked Signal. Two years later, they self-released another album, The Fallen Kingdom, and kept their prolific release schedule going the following year with Passage Through Purgatory, released on Hyperrealist Records. Taking what for them was a long break from recording, Black Tusk gained attention through tours with bands like Weedeater, Pentagram, and Eyehategod. The band eventually signed to Relapse, and in 2010 released their first album through the label, Taste the Sin, featuring cover art from Baroness singer John Baizley. The band's sophomore long-player, Set the Dial, dropped just one year later, and was followed by a pair of EPs, Tend No Wounds and the digital-only Vulture's Eye, in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Sadly, in November 2014, bassist Athon succumbed to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. After some soul searching and a real debate as to whether they could continue as a band without their brother in arms, Fidler and May tapped longtime friend and veteran Corey Barhorst musician (Kylesa, Niche) to take over the bass chair. In 2016 they released their much-anticipated third full-length outing, Pillars of Ash, that included the last studio sessions by Athon and served as their final release for Relapse. After intensive touring, followed by writing sessions, Black Tusk re-entered the studio to emerge with T.C.B.T. (Taking Care of Black Tusk) in August of 2018, their debut for Season of Mist. ~ Gregory Heaney