Review & Full Album Stream: The Age of Truth, Resolute

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 21st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the age of truth resolute

[Click play above to stream Resolute by The Age of Truth. Album is out Friday and available for preorder here.]

Be it resolved, Philadelphia’s The Age of Truth haven’t fixed what wasn’t broken about their 2017 debut LP, Threshold (review here), but have taken many of the aspects of that record and, with Resolute, pushed them forward. The four-piece — with drummer Scott Frassetto making his first recorded appearance alongside returning guitarist Michael DiDonato, bassist William Miller and vocalist Kevin McNamara — offer fewer songs than on the first outing, but if they’ve pulled back on things like an interlude and a bonus track, the path of immediacy suits them even in tracks that might be longer and comes coupled with a progression of songwriting and a sharpness of performance that rings out from the first 10 seconds of “Palace of Rain” onward. They are down to the business of kicking ass. What’s another word for “determined?”

Renewing their collaboration with producer Joseph Boldizar, who engineered along with Dave Klyman at Retro City Studios in Philly — Andrew Schneider mixed all but “Seven Words” in Brooklyn and Ryan Smith mastered in Nashville — only further highlights the growth the band’s craft has undertaken in the last four years. The tension of the chug in “A Promise of Nothing,” the swagger amid McNamara‘s layers in the prior “Horsewhip” and the swaying payoff in aforementioned opener in “Palace of Rain” all set an early standard of high grade fare that finds the unit sounding tighter, more purposeful in their task and aware of what they want that task to be. Understand, I’m not slagging off that first record in the slightest. Again, what’s happening here is that The Age of Truth have taken what worked really well and added to it.

At just under seven minutes, “Palace of Rain” sets up an alternating pattern of shorter and longer cuts that plays out across side A. Its turns are crisp but made fluid by an underlying groove, and among the other functions it has, it establishes the methodology the band will work with throughout what follows. It has an instrumental build. It has a powerhouse performance from McNamara — who could be singing classic metal or NWOBHM if he wanted but is well suited to the grittier fare; his voice reminds of a roughed-up Philly version of Euro heavy rock singers like Magnus Ekwall, Christian “Spice” Sjöstrand, etc. — that meets the aggressive pulse in Frassetto‘s drumming and the patterns set by DiDonato‘s riffs with due confrontationalism, Miller adding the tonal heft to the punch that puts “Palace of Rain” over the top in its concluding nod even as it emphasizes the journey undertaken to get there.

“Horsewhip” — three minutes as opposed to six-plus, which happens again between “A Promise of Nothing” and side A capper “Seven Words” — starts out with a more swinging, near-but-not-quite-post-Clutch semi-spoken verse before the chorus spreads out in Monster Magnetic style and loops back around, catchy like a song that came together in one rehearsal and needed nothing more than it was given, and while “A Promise of Nothing” is more structurally complex and breaks in its midsection for a quiter stretch before picking up volume again in slower roll, eventually returning to its chug to round out, the band carries it across with efficiency and urgency in kind, letting the acousti-Zeppelin “Seven Words” finish out in a manner made all the more organic for the subdued middle of the song before. Vocals farther back, a lead and rhythm layer of guitar accompanying, it’s more than an interlude and a considered shift in methodology that prefaces more changes still to come as Resolute moves into side B.

the age of truth

As “Horsewhip” advised to “Shut your mouth and go to sleep” — practically shouldering its way to getting stuck in your head — “Eye One” draws back for a more patient approach and is nearly two and a half into its total seven minutes before the verse begins. When it does, it’s a stomper with Wyndorfian phrasing, Sabbath-rooted swing and a turn after four minutes in toward more straight-ahead drive for the chorus, before a bluesy solo section begins the final build back into the hook again, vocals in layers front and back while the guitar, bass and drums urges into the cold finish. Where side A went between shorter and longer songs, side B is set up shortest to longest, with “Salome” at 7:52 and closer “Return to the Ships” at 9:01. A bluesman-by-the-river tale unfolds in “Salome” on a bed of fervent chug that in another context could just as easily be prog metal, but a flourish of acoustic guitar surfaces after a hint of Southern idolatry in a transition and it becomes clearer where The Age of Truth are headed. They twist and turn their way into a solo, Miller holding the groove together all the while, and are back in the chorus, more melodic and almost wistfully brash, before the acoustic comes back around to close out.

That’s a fair enough shift as “Return to the Ships” launches with the first genuine drift the band has fostered, a languid moment of strum and groove that’s almost All Them Witches-esque until the watery vocals kick in. A hard snare hit at 3:05 will mark the change that’s being telegraphed — the “now it gets very heavy” moment, and sure enough — but when one considers how far The Age of Truth have come to get to such a point where the beginning of “Return to the Ships” seems natural emphasizes the smoothness with which their execution brings the listener along for the ride. With a return to the quiet and guest keyboards/programming by Graham Killian, the closer chooses not to go for the big payoff at the end. Don’t get me wrong — it’s lacking nothing for impact when it wants to hit hard, and after six minutes in, it’s downright pummeling as the tempo picks up — but the last two and a half minutes of the track are led by that softer guitar, and the actual drawdown of Resolute is exactly that: a drawdown.

The lesson there? Something about unpredictability, maybe, or simply that The Age of Truth are considering the album as a whole as well as the individual songs that comprise it when they’re writing. One way or the other, their taking that breath, taking the time to let “Return to the Ships” go gradually — as one migth see a ship get smaller heading for the horizon — is one last proof for the theorem of their overarching creative growth. That they know so well what they want to do throughout these tracks only makes them a more dangerous band, and as much as Resolute‘s goal is in its craft, so too does the energy in this material make it all the more infectious, resonant even through that softer conclusion. May they never lose whatever chip it is residing on their collective shoulder if this is what they’re going to do with it. One of 2021’s best in heavy rock.

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Kevin McNamara of The Age of Truth

Posted in Questionnaire on May 21st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

kevin mcnamara the age of truth

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Kevin McNamara of The Age of Truth

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I became a singer because I heard Jon Anderson singing “Long Distance Run Around” and it hit my soul. I was drawn to that voice. It was so odd and beautiful to me. When I heard Stevie Wonder harmonize with the keys in “Living For The City” I was drawn to him as well.

And then the roof caved in.

I bought Black Sabbath’s first album and when Ozzy sang “your love for me has just got to be real,” I cried.


As I grow older, I have learned what to do and what not to do as a singer. I’ve learned it after singing with a million bands and I’m still learning. That’s the beauty of growing wiser with age.

Describe your first musical memory.

KISS on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special! They were so bad ass!

Describe your best musical memory to date.

That’s still to come for me because I love this whole scene and at any given moment we might create that memory. So, thus far? All of them. With more to come!

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

When I first heard “Bobby Brown Goes Down” by Frank Zappa.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I swear I feel like if I don’t change the scenery in my head, I might lose it. I don’t think of the past or any connection to it until I’m way ahead and looking back and going, “Ah I remember that!”

But I’m here in the present. I made it to here and that’s what matters.

How do you define success?

Not by money. Marley nailed it. “Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.”

What is something you’ve seen but wished you hadn’t?

The record companies screwing honest, hard working musicians. To me that’s evil.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

The perfect Sunday afternoon.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Art is to test the senses. I’m an asshole that way. Nothing is good enough for me? Ever.

I’m slow to accept praise I’m slow to a feel like I created something that does that.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to seeing JJ again at shows! And everyone else. I miss everyone!

Love you and don’t stop being you!

The Age of Truth, Resolute (2021)

Frank Zappa, “Bobby Brown (Goes Down)”

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The Age of Truth Premiere “Salome”; Resolute Due July 23

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on May 11th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the age of truth

Be it resolved, because The Age of Truth most certainly are. The Philadelphia-based four-piece make a return this summer with Resolute, the seven-song/43-minute follow-up to 2017’s Threshold (review here), and the progression of sound that the second album builds on the songwriting they established with the first isn’t to be ignored. They were already a powerhouse. They are now a powerhouse of greater depth and reach, and whether that manifests itself in the acoustic centerpiece “Seven Words,” in the bluesy preach of the prior “A Promise of Nothing,” in the fluidity of groove put to the fore in “Salome” or the broad ambition realized throughout nine-minute closer “Return to the Ships,” the basic fact of the matter is there’s more to The Age of Truth than the first record showed.

This is not coincidence, and neither is the album’s title. They have made themselves a more complex band in performance and style.

“Salome” is being released as a single through Contessa Music on Friday, but you can stream the premiere at the bottom of this post. I’ll hope to have more on the album prior to the release date.

Album details follow below, courtesy of the PR wire:

the age of truth resolute

Philadelphian Rockers THE AGE OF TRUTH Make Steadfast Return with New Album this Summer

Casting kinships out of the heaviest rock and metal around, self-proclaimed brothers-in-arms, The Age of Truth, return this summer with their brand-new studio album, Resolute.

Upon the release of their 2017 debut Threshold, the band were not only defined by their adventurous ideas, but also their conviction and togetherness as a hard rocking unit.

“Together we’ve constantly tried to evolve our songwriting, instrumentation and the sound we wanted to capture. This album has been a real journey for us and almost three years in the making. We’ve held ourselves to exacting standards every step of the way,” says bassist William Miller.

With Resolute, the Philadelphian quartet have rebuilt their entire sound atop an unshakable foundation. Producing a record that is bigger and bolder than anything they’ve attempted before, the band has newly replenished their arsenal of deadly tones, diesel-fuelled fuzz, and heavy psychedelic blues.

One of the defining benchmarks on Resolute is new single ‘Salome’; a silver-riffed beast that will strike a chord with followers of classic stoner rock and Clutch’s no-nonsense aural assaults. Throw in the majestic gravitational-altering grooves of Soundgarden and it truly encapsulates everything The Age of Truth is about.

Track Listing
1. Palace of Rain
2. Horsewhip
3. A Promise of Nothing
4. Seven Words
5. Eye One
6. Salome
7. Return to the Ships

Written and performed by The Age Of Truth. Produced by The Age Of Truth, Dave Klyman, and Joseph Boldizar. Engineered by Joseph Boldizar and Dave Klyman at Retro City Studios, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mixed by Andrew Schneider at Acre Audio, Brooklyn, New York. “Seven Words” Mixed by Joseph Boldizar at Retro City Studios, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, Nashville, Tennessee. Artwork by Mikko Raima, Mänttä-Vilppula, Finland. Photography and Design by Shane K. Gardner Rock N Roll Socialite, Baltimore, Maryland.

The Age Of Truth is
Kevin McNamara- vocals
Michael DiDonato – guitars
Scott Frassetto – drums and percussion
William Miller – bass

Graham Killian, keyboards and programming on “Return to the Ships”

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