Channeling the undeniable fury conjured by the likes of Black Sabbath, Sleep, Bathory, and Venom among others, Indiana doom metal trio, Thorr-Axe, are a self-described “raiding party comprised of three guys with a mutual love of heavy music.” Further, they’re fascinated with dragons, wizards, frost giants, and Vikings…as well as what happens when those Vikings split the heads of their enemies with war-stained steel. If you don’t have instantaneous mental visions of those things while listening to “Wall of Spears” or “Dragon King”, then there’s probably no saving you. I recently met with guitarist/vocalist, Tucker Thomasson, high atop an enormous mountain of Orc skulls, to discuss the band’s origins, the upcoming second record, gigantic, laser-eyed doom turtles, and more!
Glad to have a chance to catch up! How are things, aside from the obvious task of completing the new record?
Pretty good, honestly. The new album is coming along pretty quickly. We got all of the instruments done in about a week’s time whilst working around work schedules and other assorted time-wasting things. Aside from that, we’re keeping ourselves busy with gigs here and there to keep the juices flowing and stay hungry.
As this is the your first (and much-anticipated) interview in Forbidden’s neck of the woods, I have to ask…can you give a brief run-down of the origins of Thorr-Axe and how the band has transformed and evolved since then?
Thorr-Axe was formed initially in 2007 by myself and our former drummer, Travis Roach (who originally played bass), while we were still in high school in rural Bloomfield, Indiana, where I still live. We were pretty stagnant for some time until Travis switched to drums and we picked up Mitchell McKinney on bass in January of 2010, when we recorded and released our Roots of the Mountain demo and started gigging extensively. A little over a year after this, we once again entered the studio with Bob Fouts (The Gates of Slumber, Apostle of Solitude, Christ Beheaded, Chrome Waves) to record the first full length, Wall of Spears. Shortly after that album dropped, Travis left to pursue his college degree, and we met up with our friend Niko Albanese, who filled in on drums until Jacob Lett joined us full time in January of 2012. In January of this year, we started writing this second album, Gates of Winter, and by April, we were finished. A few weeks ago, we began recording at Niko’s studio, Thanasphere Productions, and that brings us to now.
I have to say, the new material is really high on the list of records I’m ecstatic to hear this year. How has the creative process, this time around, compared to that of Wall of Spears? How have the line-up changes, if at all, played a part in that sorcery?
Wall of Spears took the course of three or so years to write. Gates of Winter, by contrast, only took us four months. We’re a tad older, a wee bit more experienced, and a lot more focused this time around, in no small part to the joining of Jacob on drums. Jacob comes from a non-doom metal background, but rather a black metal one, so the new material, while still being Thorr-Axe, is as I like to call it, a “meaner, colder, scarier” Thorr-Axe.
Are fans in for any crazy surprises with the new material?
While I am reluctant to reveal too much prior to an official leak or release, I will say that the new album will definitely reflect a more current view of our influences and thoughts on what this band should be and sound like. It will be a concept album revolving around a central storyline. I think that everyone’s either going to really enjoy Gates of Winter, or be absolutely repulsed by it.
Aside from the possibly more obvious of the band’s biggest musical influences, what in the list might surprise the total hell out of someone not in-the-know?
A few influences on me in the past year or so have been Panopticon, Deathspell Omega, Fall of Efrafa, and Skagos. Jacob is a big fan of Alcest and Lantlos. Mitchell is big into Periphery and Tesseract.
What non-musical aspects of existence do you find constantly worming their way into the Thorr-Axe sound?
Just the feeling of adventure in general. I go hiking and road tripping quite frequently, and adventuring is definitely a big part of the lyrical portion of Thorr-Axe, especially on this newest album.
If Thorr-Axe were to collectively transform into a gloriously ravenous beast all mortals would fear, under a full moon in the midst of a traditional Midwest thunderstorm, what would it look like, and what grotesquely vile musical trends would its diet consist of?
It would be a giant, lumbering turtle with laser vision. I’m almost certain that it would find this new wave of radio-friendly “hard rock/metal crossover” thing appetizing, as well as the “dance/techno/breakdown core” thing. And this resurgence of pop-punk. I couldn’t stomach any of it, but to each their own. Glory to the doom turtle.
In a Sabbath record cage-match to the death, which reigns victorious…the self-titled debut, or Paranoid?
Paranoid has a special place in my heart as the first Sabbath record I bought, but I enjoy the vibe and the songs on the self-titled quite a bit more. It was a big influence on my formative metal years, more so than Paranoid. Glory to Iommi.
What else does Thorr-Axe have planned for the near future? Other projects? Road excursions?
Ideally, we’re going to be hitting the road very shortly after this album comes out. As far as other projects go, we’ve been offered to a few split releases with other bands, but we’ve been unable to, due to the financial obligations and lack of material that the process of creating this album has left in its wake.
That should about do it for now, man! It’s been a pleasure! Any last tidbits of crucial information, heartfelt sentiments, or raging rants of disgust for the hungry masses?
Check out our friends in Lawbringer, who are preparing to put out a full-length before too long. I would also like to extend one of those heartfelt sentiments addressed above to Niko Albanese, who has put up with us admirably through the recording process and let me sleep on his couch for a week. We have a lot of good people in our midst in Bloomington, and I’d like for the world to know it. Thanks for having me, Nate!