Monday, January 16, 2012

Album Review, Axxicorn 'War with the Giants'

Axxicorn are a self described Proto-metal band based in Portland, Oregon, and sure enough the first thing that comes to mind when 'War of the Giants' kicks in is Sabbath's Vol.4. The snappy, understated riffs have Iommi's mark on them. Nearly four and a half minutes go by in a flash and we sail headlong into 'Poseidon'. The smokey vocals and sludgy verse riffing lend the track a certain High on Fire feel.

Continuing the Greek theme with 'Prometheus'. Back to the Sabbath inspired work but with a slightly more modern approach, think Sleep's 'Holy Mountain' rather than Sabbath themselves. The long and winding instrumental choruses give the drummer room to display his flare. Next up, 'Revolt of the Titans/Wasteland' begins with a nod to 'Snowblind' and continues into pure, distilled stoner metal. Just short of three minutes, it all breaks down into an OM-like mid-tempo, distorted bass groove and a dissonant guitar solo follows closely behind. So far this is the best result of the rough production of this record.

'Typheous' opens with utterly bleak sounds of Western movie dialogue, mouth organ sirens and clean lead guitar. This is soon over taken by a snappy, immediate beat and bass to match. Almost as soon as the guitar returns with distortion in tow, we're back in familiar territory but with a new feel to the movement of the music, not a million miles from an early anarcho-punk sound. 'Theseus and the Minotaur' is a broken and heavy dream of The Obsessed at their best, and features some of the best riffing on the record: it picks you up and doesn't let you down until the very end. Finally we finish up this rough ride appropriately with 'Hades'. All the stops are pulls on the punk rock for this one, like an Amebix house party in the mid-eighties. The minimum vocals contain the some of the hardest belted out shouts we've heard from Axxicorn yet.

Axxicorn's 'War with the Giants' is the epitome of a no nonsense album. Brutally lacking in any bells and whistles and to great affect. The unique, rigid guitar tone invokes a more punk than stoner vibe but in doing so makes for a more unique recording overall. There's some very interesting filthy heavy shit coming out of the West side of the States right now and I'm betting Axxicorn will fit in nicely.

Axxicorn, “War of the Giants”
Rating: 7/10
For fans of: Melvins, High on Fire, Sleep.
Standout Tracks: Prometheus, Revolt of the Titans, Theseus and the Minotaur.

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