There are epochal moments in my life as a “metal” dude that will never fade. In 2016 I went from being a guy who listened to and collected a lot of metal records, keeping largely to himself to a guy who recorded and released a metal record (even though I called it a demo) and connected with a larger community of folks who did the same thing. One of the earliest bands I connected with both on a personal and musical level was Allfather, a hardcore sludge/doom band from the UK who had at that point released a handful of cool singles and EPs. Then Bless The Earth With Fire came out I got to witness a band go from “cool guys putting out cool songs” to “Holy crap these guys are the real deal and shit I need to get better if I want to do this for real.”
Each track on Bless The Earth With Fire is an amalgam of styles, with sludge and doom riding high over hardcore and straight up beer chugging rock. Nowhere on the album is this better represented than lead track “Raskolnikov.” Allfather excels at opening riffs (just listen to “Black Triangle” off new album And All Will Be Desolation for more evidence) and this one is a banger, drum fill moving to a squall of feedback before that bottom chug comes in. It still stands as one of my favorite tracks the band have put out. Likewise “Mouth of the Beast” with its rise up political and social fury matched by the propulsive fury of the guitars and vocalist Tom Ballard’s roar. The middle section takes a slow, murky breakdown that’s exquisite in how NOLA swampy the band gets. And closer “Death and Hell Followed With Him” shows how adeptly Allfather can keep an idea alive for over 11 minutes without feeling like a slog.
The craziest thing about Bless The Earth With Fire is that despite how good it is, Allfather stepped up every aspect of their game on their followup. Notes of jealousy are intentional and deserved: Allfather are making some of my favorite music. And if we’re talking about what owning this on physical media says about it, it’s pretty simple. I wanted to support these guys and keep them making music. This was a ridiculously easy way to do that.