Influences: Royal Tusk

Royal Tusk
Photo Credit: Kidpixel & Travis Nesbit

For Royal Tusk, the road to releasing their new album, ‘Altruistic’, has been treacherous. It arrives six years on their sophomore offering, ‘Tusk II’ and in the time since they’ve experienced a fair amount of upheaval. From losing a member (and becoming a trio) to vocalist Daniel Carriere fighting a year-long battle to recover from a blood clot in his lung. Add to that the lengthy writing of what would become ‘Altruistic’, and it’s safe to say Royal Tusk are back and raring to go.

Having defined an anthemic hard rock sound, ‘Altruistic’ sees the Alberta, Canada three-piece up the ante with a set of bold, riff-laden songs with plenty of skyscraper choruses on offer. Recent singles such as ‘Hated’, ‘Head Up’, and ‘Here On Out’ are scorched with fire and an abundance of adrenaline. Whereas its title track is a heart-pounding thrill ride.

Although the album was written before Carriere’s health issues, along with bassist Sandy MacKinnon and guitarist Quinn Cyrankiewicz, Royal Tusk delivers a record full of determination and courage. You just have to listen to the penultimate track, ‘Breathe’, to hear their collective perseverance.

It’s clear Royal Tusk are students of all things rock, so we thought it’d be a good idea to quiz bassist Sandy MacKinnon on the bands that have inspired him along the way. From picking up bass to play ‘Killing In the Name’, to thrash metal classics, to technical riff specialists.

Queens of the Stone Age

As far as modern rock ‘n roll goes, I think it’s pretty safe to say that this group kicks mega ass. From intricate melodies to straight-ahead pounding rock, every single record is awesome.


When you can make music that’s insanely heavy, with technical riffage, all the while staying catchy, it’s near perfection. It’s pretty clear that we definitely had some moments on our new record where we channelled our inner Mastodon. The band takes you on a trip, and watching them live paired with amazing visuals, is a perfect setting to knock back an edible or two.


I was pretty young when ‘Short Bus’ came out, but it definitely struck a chord with myself and Dan (Carriere – Royal Tusk vocalist). Having grown up listening to Nirvana, NIN, Faith No More, Smashing Pumpkins, this was just an inevitable next step. 

During the pandemic, Dan  did a cover of ‘Hey Man Nice Shot’ with Bill from Mastodon, Chow of Stone Sour, Tanner of In Flames, and Fluff (formerly) of Dragged Under, and it kicks fuckin ass.

Rage Against the Machine

Now this band may not have influenced how our new record was done, but I can safely say that I started playing bass when I was roughly 10 years old because the self-titled RATM record made me damn near piss myself from excitement. My first step was learning the entire record, and I did. To this day, it’s still one of my favourite records and bands.


When this band gets into a low heavy groove. They show that it’s not all about how crazy fast or technical a riff can be, but sometimes less is more. Them riding on one note, sometimes feels like a weight on your chest. It’s incredible!

I will say, that on the song ‘All My Life’, on the new record, which is my favourite track, you’ll be able to pick up on some Deftones-inspired sounds.

Taking Back Sunday

I can’t forget that sometimes I also like to get a little tender and sweet. This band is both of those. I know it seems so obvious, but the importance of melody can never be taken lightly.

Every Time I Die

Who doesn’t love an onslaught of loud guitars and aggressive vocals? When this band played live, it’s rare that I take off my glasses, and go for a rip in the pit. This band was one of my faves for making me act like a lunatic.


The early records, including “the black album! ‘NUFF SAID.

‘Altruistic’ by Royal Tusk is released on Friday, February 23rd on MNRK Heavy.

Find Royal Tusk on: Facebook | X (Formerly Twitter) | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music


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