Black Tusk, Sludge Metal, and an edgier image for Savannah

In my City Talk column today, I conclude with a mention of the Black Tusk show at The Jinx on Saturday night.

I last wrote about Black Tusk here on this blog back in February.

I know a fair number of Savannah’s metal musicians personally — and they’re as nice as anyone I know. But they channel some real undercurrents in the local scene: the relishing of the richness of life and friendship combined with an overarching cynicism. That’s how I see it anyway.

Andrew, James, and Athon at The Jinx

The metal trio is now out on the road again supporting Set the Dial, which is now on sale. The full list of retailers for Set the Dial can be found here.

The new album has already been covered glowingly on NPR’s blog All Things Considered in a post called “Black Tusk: Keg Party At The End Of The World”:

Bred from the same swampy waters as like-minded metal bands Kylesa and Baroness, the Savannah, Ga., sludge-metal trio has always been a bit more about the backyard keg party than its peers, which is exactly what kicked my ass when I first saw the band play a Boys and Girls Club at the 2009 MACRoCk Festival. Last year’s Taste the Sin sacrificed some of the debut album’s kick-ass-ery to streamlined production, but with no time to spare, Black Tusk is already back with Set the Dial. Black Tusk has figured out how to raise hell and sound slick all at once, which you can hear in this premiere of the album’s fastest track, “Carved in Stone.”

Metal Injection hits similar notes:

With all due respect to New Orleans, the center of the sludge universe has in recent years shifted to Savannah, Georgia, that sleepy burg of 136,000 that lacks even a major university to explain the explosive growth in upper tier heavy metal that’s been erupting out of the region over the past several years. The Savannah metal scene is not a large one, but its three primary exports – Kylesa, Black Tusk, and Baroness – have all gained prominence as upper echelon sludge bands in recent years.

And Exclaim:

Black Tusk have slowly been building a name for themselves as one of the rising stars of Savannah, GA’s metal underground. With Set the Dial, their upcoming fourth album and second for Relapse Records, the band have proven they are indeed big players in the metal scene. And they did it by releasing their most rock-ish album yet. [. . .]

And what Black Tusk is at this point is a sleek, streamlined machine, a band taking the bass-heavy downtrodden sounds of sludge metal and filtering them through rock sensibilities, creating a disc that is enjoyable and fun like stoner rock, yet brutal and heavy enough to keep the extreme metalheads happy.