Black Tusk: Pillars Of Ash

Celebrating a fallen brother’s last holler

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Double Clutchin’, the crash-themed four-song suite that rounds out Black Tusk’s 2010 album Taste The Sin, turned shockingly prophetic when bassist/vocalist Athon died following a tragic motorcycle accident in November 2014.

Together with his two bandmates – Andrew Fidler (guitars, vocals) and Jamie May (drums, vocals) – Athon lived fast, rocked hard, and made an impression on those who witnessed Black Tusk’s unruly tunes rattle sweatbox venues. At the time of his passing, the Savannah, Georgia trio had three albums out and a fourth in the can. Recorded by Joel Grind and mastered by Brad Boatright, the raucous Pillars Of Ash is a fitting epitaph to Black Tusk’s fallen brother, whose bulldozing basslines and stout-hearted roars run amok one final time.

It’s as to-the-point and punk-driven as this gnarly sludge band has sounded since their beer-fuelled birth a decade ago. It also marks the point from which Andrew and Jamie must carry on creatively without Athon while simultaneously keeping his spirit alive, and only time will tell how this will develop.

Former Kylesa four-stringer Corey Barhorst has stepped into the breach, but for now, after weathering a terribly painful year, it’s a big deal that Black Tusk have finally released this – and it’s a heavy metal rampage.