Black Tusk 

Taste the Sin

How much hell can swamp-metal powerhouse Black Tusk bring to this earth? Enough to make you think an AC-130 gunship firing 4,000 rounds of depleted uranium per minute was knocking on your front door. As any Afghani will tell you, that is a mess of hell. On Taste the Sin the trio's sound is a mash-up of sludge and post-hardcore thrashiness, resulting in heavy, precise and energetic tunes.

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Guitarist Andrew Fidler's shriek is reminiscent of Slayer's Tom Araya while bassist Jonathan Athon's vocals are throatier, but not Cookie Monster growls. The vocal trade-off makes for bruising sonic contrasts. Drummer James May joins in as well on "Red Eyes, Black Skies," and the band never sounds better. Whip-quick time changes, a plodding breakdown and fat guitar hooks mark this tune a 10 on the "Let's Punch Something" scale of punching. Overall the album is a nine, meaning I really want to punch a giraffe in the face. "Unleash the Wrath" includes a positively rank bass breakdown, and in "Embrace the Madness," Athon shouts that he wants to "rip your face off." Don't say I didn't warn you. Like the AC-130, this album is slow and heavy, but packed to the rafters with firepower. All killer, no filler.

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