15 years in the making, St. Louis band Thor Axe releases debut album
The St. Louis band Thor Axe doesn’t have lyrics — its songs are completely instrumental. It also doesn’t have a touring schedule — its members stay pretty busy with projects in town.
But 15 years after its members came together and wrote their first song, and years after opening for the Sword and Andrew W.K. and becoming a recurring presence on local stages, Thor Axe finally has an album. “Solar Rips” was released Friday and will be celebrated with a show at Off Broadway on May 27.
Guitarist Ryan Wasoba, who is also the album’s producer, freely acknowledges the band hasn’t always been a priority. Four of the six musicians in Thor Axe hail from So Many Dynamos, the beloved St. Louis indie rock band that’s enjoyed its own dozen-plus years of making music. It was always a side project to, well, a side project.
“I think your band in life is already kind of your second priority because you have to live, and have a quality of life, and do the things that provide for that,” he explained on Friday's St. Louis on the Air. “And that's very rarely your band that provides those things.”
When your side project has a side project, scheduling can get tricky. Thor Axe’s members each recorded their parts of “Solar Rips” separately beginning in 2017. It took several years (and a massive COVID-19 interruption) to get the album to the finish.
Even so, the band believes the album should be worth the wait. Thor Axe began a relatively simple mission. “It was like, ‘Hey, do you want to play some really silly shred music?’” explained guitarist Phil Ring. “ Essentially, part of the writing process initially was, ‘Is this funny?’ And if it was funny, if it made us laugh, as far as a part goes, then it usually made it into a song.”
The result is music that’s incredibly fun to listen to, even if it can be hard to describe. Wasoba describes it as “melodic progressive rock, with hints of metal and Nintendo-era video game music.” The Nintendo-like elements make it appealing to kids, while their parents can appreciate the craftsmanship.
But no matter how you describe it, the band is having a blast.
Said Wasoba: “Dynamos was a very serious band, and the main project bands for the other members are also very serious. So this is kind of a place where those things that we took from the other bands that we were in, we can just not worry about ‘this is the serious side of us.’ Let's just have fun. And in turn, it ends up being serious in its own way.
“It's a permanent smile on my face when I'm playing with this band. It's always just a fun time.”
What: “Solar Rips” album release
When: 8 p.m. May 27
Where: Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave., St. Louis, MO 63118
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Emily Woodbury, Kayla Drake, Danny Wicentowski and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.