Generally speaking, the goal behind smoking weed is to relax and chill out. It is rare that when thinking of weed one would jump to aggression or hostility – unless you’re still a big believer in Reefer Madness or you’re Jeff Sessions. This is heavy metal, though, so our beloved genre always finds ways to inflect things with anger.
Thorr-Axe is one of those bands that finds the righteous point where stoner music meets heavy aggression like a crackling flame to the tip of a smooth blunt. They have all the herb-riddled tropes of stoner music like groove and atmosphere, but they throw in explosions of thrash and doom along with guitarist Tucker Thomasson’s biting yell and occasional Balrog lows to create a very dynamic listening experience.
Before they head out west, Thomasson, guitarist Garrett Daniels, drummer Jacob Lett, and bassist Jake Cullison will be throwing down this coming Tuesday, March 20th at Black Circle Brewing. Check them out and see their fantasy-riddled reefer madness for yourself.
Indy Metal Vault: You released The Hobbit Split with fellow Indiana stoner crew Archarus last year. How did that team up come about?
Tucker Thomasson: I had wanted to do a Hobbit themed release since I started the band, honestly. But it was Drew from Archarus who kind of lit a fire under my ass about it and got the ball rolling. He approached me about wanting to do a split with us, and we both arrived almost immediately on the Hobbit narrative idea.
IMV: Your half of the split focuses on some very specific scenes from The Hobbit – including a personal favorite of mine where they’re captured by trolls and under threat of being eaten. How did you decide which scenes to focus on?
TT: There wasn’t much of a process for it, really. We kind of just chose what parts worked better with our sound, being generally more abrasive than Archarus’. We like telling dramatic stories with the music, so the life-and-death scenarios of being held hostage by trolls, trapped in darkness with a strange being, or in the midst of battle all jived with us very well.
IMV: The most important question of course is, where do your allegiances lie – book or movies?
I personally really enjoy both, but I’d say the book. I have a long history with The Hobbit, going back to watching the 1977 animated Rankin Bass film version of it when I was a little kid, and reading an early 80s copy of it whenever I could. I’d read it at home, at school, on the bus, on long trips, even while deer hunting.
IMV: Onto the upcoming tour. How did the package come together? Are you hitting any places you haven’t been before?
TT: It all started with us getting offered a slot on Rocky Mountain Riff Fest in Kalispell, MT. Our friends in Wizzerd are the ones running it, and there are a lot of cool bands that we’d previously shared the stage with at Erosion Fest 2016, so we immediately said yes. Initially, we thought we were just going to gig out there and then hang out in the mountains for a bit before coming home. But then we looked at a map and saw how close we were to the Pacific Ocean. We said “fuck it” and added another week to our journey. From there, it was just reaching out mostly to bands we’d played with (Green Altar from Sioux Falls, SD, Disenchanter from Portland, OR, and Green Druid from Denver, CO) and friends we’d made over the years to get the shows set up in the route we had planned.
IMV: How long is your setlist and will you be playing any of those newer Middle Earth jams?
TT: We have a pretty modest setlist. We typically don’t like to play over 35 minutes when possible, just because people can only handle heavy sounds for so long without getting burned out, you know? But we always keep a few songs in our back pockets in case an encore is really really called for. We’re actually playing everything from the Hobbit split on this run. Those songs have been in our set since the split dropped, and they always go over crazy well with crowds, so I think they’re going to be in for a minute.
IMV: We see you’ve made the cut for the inaugural Chicago Doomed & Stoned Fest. How do you think it’s going to compare to Indy’s?
TT: Hard to say, really. Only time will tell, but it’s a pretty stacked lineup full of heavy hitters.
IMV: What bands are you looking forward to most at the festival?
TT: For sure Sixes, who are super heavy. We’re actually playing with them a couple days after the fest in Indianapolis at Indiana City Beer. Aside from them, Inter Arma is going to kill. The whole lineup is really great, though. There’s a little something for everyone in every flavor of heavy.
IMV: Clue us in – any plans on the horizon for new music in 2018? That Hobbit action was great, but we need more to satiate us over at the Vault.
TT: We’re playing around with some lyrical concepts right now. But we’ve kind of put a gag order on ourselves about talking about new music for a bit. Rest assured that there is more coming, though.
4/16 – Madison, WI @ The Wisco
4/17 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Total Drag Records
4/20 – Kalispell, MI @ Rocky Mountain Riff Fest *
4/21 – Olympia, WA @ McCoy’s Tavern
4/22 – Portland, OR @ Tonic Lounge
4/23 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder
4/24 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Beehive Social Club
4/26 – Denver, CO @ Bar Bar