Building on the potential displayed by their 2016 debut Bless The Earth With Fire, Rochester’s Allfather combine hardcore, sludge and doom to lethal effect on their second full-length release And All Will Be Desolation. The outspoken UK metallers (seriously, check out their Twitter for some fine anti-fascism, band recommendations and comedy) have not only preserved but upped the ante of Bless The Earth…‘s angry take on the current state of society, humanity and the injustices of the world. It’s all well and good having the bluster and bile to rage against the machine but thankfully the quintet also have the massive riffs, high energy, and overall musical proficiency to back up the attitude, making And All Will Be Desolation a distinctly fun and gratifying listen.
…Desolation is direct and raw in its commitment to being an album designed to get heads banging as well as promoting a socially conscious message, and opens with a song that acts as a perfect introduction to this riffy battle plan, “Black Triangle”. A currently pertinent rallying call against the rise of fascism (‘Where the hell were you when it mattered?’…’Now they come for you!’), “Black Triangle” is a sludgy punk showcase for Allfather’s merging of multiple genres that actually recalls Raging Speedhorn at their peak. Gotta say I love the reprise of the intro’s guitar line at the midway point and the close of this song, it’s a nice touch that really helps the impact of the rest of the tune.
The dual guitar style of Alan Cordner and Joe Goatham may be reminiscent of Thin Lizzy and early Mastodon, but I would guess that their heaviest influence would have to be Matt Pike’s High On Fire riffage. Their mix of styles from thrashy, intense riffs (“Citadels”) to murky, doom-laden drawls via hardcore chugs (“By Sword, By Famine, By Plague”) along with some wailing, almost bluesy solos (“By Sword…” again) work extremely well and these constant shifts make ...Desolation an enjoyable and interesting listen. Plus, they sure know how to get heads-a-banging! Kieron Sullivan, who recorded the drums for …Desolation but has since been replaced by Aaron Phillips, provides pacy and interesting drumming that along with Andrew Day’s thrumming low-end keeps the album driving forward as Tom Ballard’s throat-shredding vocals resonate with plenty of variety in tone and depth.
It would have been perfectly fine to end the album on the fading guitar solo of “Inherit The Debt”, but Allfather take a chance on a 12-minute folk-influenced (also Thin Lizzy influenced?) protest song about “Lampedusa”, an Italian island off the coast of which hundreds of refugees drowned. The chance more than pays off as “Lampedusa” is a dark and poignant way to end the album and shows that there’s much more yet to come from Allfather.
A focused Allfather are spreading a righteous message through the power of the riff; I compel you, do yourself a favour and check out And All Will Be Desolation.
And All Will Be Desolation is out now