Rochester, UK-based Allfather are relative newcomers to the metal scene, having only formed last year. In a time of political unrest, uncertainty and eroding trust in the government, the band’s debut EP, No Gods, No Masters, could not have landed at a better time. The title is directly related to, and has been used in, anarchist literature and sentiments, so right off the bat you know the band won’t be pulling any punches in regard to the leading officials and ideals. And as a whole, the EP is quite enjoyable—a proper sludge / doom onslaught with echoes of Iron Witch and Raging Speedhorn.
Allfather is rather pissed at the establishment, and they make a statement to that effect right from the get-go, on “The Great Destroyer.” The song features dialogue from A King in New York—specifically, a little boy saying “I don’t like the word ‘rule'”—then instantly slams you with a quick riff, drum lick and deep, yelled hardcore vocals that’d make Jamey Jasta flaming red with jealousy. Further samples from the film follow, and the song quickly becomes a kind of call to arms—particularly with the group chant of “who will make their mark?” Within the monster riffing lies an underlying, rumbling, sludge tone; it’s not immediately noticeable, but rather creeps up on you on repeat spins. There’s a dark feeling throughout this track—and, for that matter, throughout the entire EP—of something lying beneath, ready to jump if given the chance.
On “No Justice, No Peace,” the hard driving onslaught of the opener continues throughout the first half of the tune, but later slows to a crawl and pummels you with the mix of loud vocals, slower dual guitars and the up front drums, gaining us a view of their doom chops. “Post Austerity Blues” is an 83-second kick-to-the-shins and my personal pick off the album thanks to the sheer intensity and thick, crunchy low-end it shows throughout. The song starts fast, hits hard with an infectious bridge, and then ends entirely too soon.
All in all, this is a fantastic debut from a band that you have to hope has a very long and storied future in store. They definitely have the talent and the guts to do great things in the metal landscape. The standout quality with each spin is that, yes, this album has plenty to say and is serious in nature and lyrical content…but at the same time, if taken at face value, it’s also a barn-burning ripper that could be a soundtrack to a night out drinking with your best metalhead pals. And let’s face it: there’ll always be room for more good times in metal.