The Motörhead/Melvins-loving, Savannah, Georgia-based stoner/sludge/punk metal unit's much anticipated sophomore studio outing, Pillars of Ash is a straight-up haymaker of an album; an oil-stained middle finger rising out of the brackish water of a swamp forest. The last Black Tusk offering to feature bass player Jonathan Athon, who passed away in November 2014 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, the 11-track set is both workmanlike and punitive, and its charms are rank and crust-lined. Stand-out cuts like "God's on Vacation," "Black Tide," "Still Not Well," and "Desolation in Endless Times" are blast furnace-forged and spilling over with pit sweat, and what they lack in melody and nuance they more than make up for in pure, groove-laden hardcore goodness. Like their fellow Peach State decibel-pushers Baroness, who also had to overcome a bout with misfortune, Black Tusk have found that the best way to distill despair is via absolute volume, and Pillars of Ash is defiantly cacophonous.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger