Saturday, 24 January 2015

Thorr-Axe - Gates of Winter (Album Review)

Gates Of Winter cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 13th January 2015
Label: Self Released

Gates Of Winter – Track Listing

1.Open The Gates 04:17
2.The Seer's Vision 05:23
3.Four Hooves 02:15
4.Mountain Crusher 04:27
5.The Forging Ritual 05:39
6.Gates Of Winter 06:48
7.Descent 05:35
8.Intermission 04:31
9.Awakening 14:32

Bio

Blackened Doom for weird fucks.

Members

Tucker Thomasson: Guitar/ Vocals
Garrett Daniels: Guitar
Jake Cullison: Bass
Jacob Lett: Drums/ Vocals

Review:

Blackened Sludge/Doom Riffsters - Thorr-Axe - are back with a new album - Gates Of Winter - that is aptly named as an ice cold experience awaits you full of heavy pounding riffs. Thorr-Axe open the album up with - Open The Gates - an instrumental affair that combines fast-paced sludge riffs with a cool as ice exterior. Thorr-Axe makes you feel you're battling for survival in one of the harshest winters imaginable.

The album then explodes into life with - The Seer's Vision - that sees Thorr-Axe proving they have lost none of their volatile fury they showed on their last record. The band has ventured into angrier territory with the music being a mix of Blackened Sludge, Doom Metal and Thrash. The vocals come from the old school of Thrash and Doom with lead vocalist showing people who's in charge. This album is loud and angry from the start and it never stops for a single second.

3rd track - Four Hooves - is a more thrashier affair with the band taking influence from legendary 80s thrash metal bands with a twisted sludgier groove. The vocals takes a more death based growl approach that only gives the album extra weight within the passed off fury stakes. Even though the song only runs for less than 2.30 minutes, it's still one of the heaviest offerings on the album. Thorr-Axe return to familiar Blackened Sludge/Doom Metal territory with - Mountain Crusher - another song that contains an icy atmosphere hidden within the music.

People may remember these guys playing heavy Stoner Metal riffs on their last album. There are traces of Stoner Metal music on the album but Thorr-Axe have focused more on the Thrash and Sludge parts of the music and it's a decision that pays off big time. The album is big on great ideas and even better riffs to devour you with. It's taken Thorr-Axe 4 years to follow up their acclaimed debut album – Wall Of Spears – but it definitely has been worth the wait. The album flies with violent moods and imagery that will have you singing from the rooftops. This is old-school carnage where a band writes an unforgiving melody with unapologetic lyrics and vocals to stand out from the crowd.

5th track - The Forging Ritual - is one of the albums harshest songs as it sees Thorr-Axe unleash a torrent of fury and emotional abuse onto the listener. Grab onto something as this is one wild ride that is relentless in it's approach, delivery and execution. The title track - Gates Of Winter - is another highlight that sees Thorr-Axe revelling in the glory of the heavy and brutal spectacle of destructive riffs and pitch black vocals whilst still including an emotional guitar solo that will bring a tear to your eye. The last few songs on the album takes you through the emotional pain barrier especially the almost 15 minute epic – Awakening – that adds doomy atmospherics to the mix for a hint of post-metal subtlety. I wasn’t expecting that from Thorr-Axe. I hope they venture into that realm of music in the future as it matches the albums gloomy outlook.

My final thoughts on the album - Thorr-Axe have created a stunning exercise in sheer brutality. They may lose some fans who are expecting something like their debut album. I applaud their decision going down a darker path as it gives the band a more unforgiving identity. A stunning album.

Thanks to Cat Jones at Southern Cross PR for the promo. Gates Of Winter is now available to buy from BandCamp now.

Words by Steve Howe

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