Released: 2008, Small Stone Records
Long-time readers of MR may recall my love of Southern rockers Halfway to Gone. Their self-title 2004 album was a fantastic piece of music that left a big mark on my psyche. Sadly, the band seems to have gone on hiatus for the time being. Fortunately, guitarist Lee Stuart is not content to sit idly by and started up his side project, A Thousand Knives of Fire (ATKOF).
Picking up right where HALFWAY TO GONE left off, Stuart immediately dives into the swampy stoner rock that made his previous band a favourite. Running the gamut of music from pure rock of the title track, to the speedy, almost bluegrass of “Leeds County Devil”, to the doom-like “Nothing In Life’s For Free”, ATKOF proceed to burn the house down with fiery riffs. That description may not sound heavy, but the whole thing is couched in fuzzy, heavy, stoned riffs. This thing will shake your speakers as surely as any Manowar album. Simply put, this album rocks.
You may ask, “If it’s so good, why the mediocre score?”. Well friends, that’s because unfortunately, THE LAST TRAIN TO SCORNSVILLE is a 10-track album, but the band only managed to write 6 songs. See, once the rollicking title track finishes up, the album crashes badly with four straight instrumental diddly diddly thingies that stink to high heaven. Seriously, these aren’t good. “Hold Your Nose” is nothing more than three and a half minutes of feedback for fuck’s sake! What the hell man? OK, OK, “Yeah Part 1” is pretty good, and features some very cool soloing, but it doesn’t make up for the severe lack of quality on the back half of this disc.
Luckily, the first six songs are more than worth the price of admission. I seriously hope Halfway to Gone makes a triumphant return, but if not, here’s to hearing more from A Thousand Knives of Fire.