Thorr-Axe - Gates Of Winter (Own Label)

Meaty Viking Doom...
Release Date: 
13 Jan 2015 - 12:30am

Thorr-Axe like to sing about winter and giants and axes and all manner of viking stuff - but they don't do it as a parody or piss-take - and they do this stuff very well. Gates Of Winter is their second album (Wall of Spears came out in 2011) and they knock out some bloody solid doom. Obviously you're not going to get hyper-speed tunes from a doom outfit but what Thorr-Axe do will make you shake your head slowly with the Sabbath-like fatness of their riffs and solos. You feel the guitars in your belly and you nod along accordingly. They like the bass too so they're alright with me.

The icy wind of Open the Gates sets up the rest of the album; as an instrumental it gives you a taste of what will follow with the drums slapping your face like an outraged lover (apparently Jacob Lett also sings as well as drumming, though I'm not sure who's singing what as guitarist Tucker Thomasson is also credited with vocals?). When The Seer's Vision kicks in, the singing is appropriately wailed and screamed over the deliciously slow guitars. The other guitarist Mitchell McKinney works well with Tucker but I don't know who is doing what - not that I care - the riffage is big enough to speak for itself. I actually played this album several times in a row, just because it was so enjoyable. Tracks like Mountain Crusher are glorious with Garrett Daniels' bass sticking out like a norse-man's chin. Title track Gates of Winter is, simply put, magnificent. As is (pretty much) the entire album.

There is some kind of narrative running throughout but it's not essential to the album's efficiency. That efficiency comes from the solid musicianship of all concerned as the doomish framework allows everyone to excel and explore their instruments. Certain tracks dip into blackened doom and/or sludge and it's only the fact that I've got about four billion other albums to listen to that I stopped playing this one.

Get this and get down. Ooh yer...