Written by Kep
Allfather – A Violent Truth
> Sludge/groove metal
> Releasing March 31
The Allfather dudes seem like a really cool bunch. For one thing, of course, they’ve got fat riffs by the truckload. For another, they’re from the UK so they probably all have cool accents. They’ve also got extremely good side projects—Herzschlager is a blast of infectious punktastic energy and the black metal stylings of Wretched Empires will blow your hair back. The vocalist has the world’s most awesome dog (shoutout to Loki, give him pats for me please). But most importantly, the members of Allfather are ruthlessly intolerant of fascism and bigotry, and they lay that shit out for all to hear. Not a bad band to throw your lot in with, is what I’m saying.
And Allfather has never sounded so pissed off and powerful as they do on A Violent Truth, their third full-length release. Their style has always been an in-your-face, take-no-prisoners assault of sludgey, punky, hard-grooving gutpunches, but this sure feels like it’s crossed into a new plane of righteous fury. The dose is concentrated—only 27 minutes in length and six tracks in total, one of which is essentially an interlude—but it’s a potent one, a distilled spirit of riffs and revolution that goes straight to the head.
You’ve probably heard lead single “Take Their Eyes” by now, but if you haven’t then do yourself a favor and fire up that Bandcamp player above. The track hits like a ton of bricks. Throw elbows in your living room to the relentless jabs of that verse riff. Scream along with that eminently joinable chorus: “As tyrants rise / We tear them down / We’ll leave them swinging / With a carrion crown”. Air guitar to the brief ripping thrashy solo. Scream the words again, air guitar some more to the second, more expressive solo. Then get to the bridge, get your face singed by those scorching blasts, and picture the pit going apeshit when Andrew Day’s air raid siren of a bass solo signals the planet-sized breakdown: “When it’s an eye for an eye, we’ll take two / When the world goes blind it’s on them, not you / TAKE THEIR FUCKING EYES”. Then consider that there’s not a single track on the album that goes even a smidge less hard.
Two things stand out as particularly great about A Violent Truth, and the first of them is that the entire thing somehow feels like a goddamn party. The subject matter is deadly serious and the music supports that, but there’s an inherent joyfulness, particularly in those punkier aspects of Allfather’s sound, that make the entire deal a blast to listen to. Playing metal is supposed to be fun, and these guys seem to get that. The riff that kicks off opener “Poison Soil” absolutely got the brief: it’s a rollicking, fist-pumping beast with plenty of chugs and speaker-shaking power chords that lets you know you’re in for a good time. Even a song like “The Hunt Infernal” that begins with full throttle blackened fury and passes through sections of wicked intense darkness still has that infectiously riotous energy, and there’s a passage of boisterous groove that you can’t help but smile and bang your head to. The whole band contributes to this, of course, especially the lively riffs from the guitars, but frontman Tom B.’s instantly recognizable spirited bellows really put the cherry on top of the kickass sundae.
The other aspect of the record that’s notably excellent is that the journey from start to finish is extremely well-designed. The tracks are lean and tight even though they’re not short—not an ounce of fat on this record anywhere, honestly—and they pack a hell of a punch as a result. The song order is spot on also: there’s no better way the album could’ve started than rip-roaring out of the gate with “Poison Soil”, “Black Lungs”, and “Take Their Eyes”. Interlude “A False Peace” provides a needed breather after that whirlwind threesome with spacious harmony and heavy ruminations, then “The Hunt Infernal” aurally sandblasts you and “Cast Off the Cross”, the album’s longest track, closes things out. It’s a hell of a closer, too, from its beginning of lightning quick chugs and Tom roaring out “Like a blade to the whetstone / I’ll teach you to hunt” to its funky syncopated middle, blistering freewheeling solos, and its enormous ending riff that gradually slows.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There’s something infectious and vital about a band playing music that’s as straight to the damn point as A Violent Truth is. These are the sort of energetic riffs that make you want to jump the hell up and move, and if you move in the direction of throwing a haymaker in the teeth your local fascist, all the better. With vibrant spirit, memorable songwriting, and rock solid production, Allfather’s newest is a record worth adding to the collection.