Sunday, February 13, 2011

NEURAXIS - Asylon CD review

Prosthetic Records
Genre: Tech Death Metal
Rating: 4/5

Welcome to the wonderful world of regional metal genres. Florida has their Death Metal, San Francisco has Thrash and of course New Orleans has the Sludge. The list could go on if I included Europe but I'll stick with North America for this one. As far as Montreal, Quebec goes they've got the title when it comes to Technical Death Metal. Although I find a lot of their musical exports to be headache inducing, NEURAXIS are exceptions to the rule. They're sound is more melodic compared to the jazzy, progressive and over the top tech death formula used by their peers. I've always found them to be the underdogs of their scene since they've been around for some fifteen years with only six full lengths to their credit. Their main problem has always been keeping a consistent line-up. To say they haven't had hurdles to jump is an understatement and their most recent one has been for fans to accept vocalist Alex LeBlanc the latest in a revolving door of band members.

LeBlanc replaced Ian Campbell in 2006 which was not an easy feat since Campbell was part of the magic behind the band's 2005 breakout release Trilateral Progression. LeBlanc had to cut his teeth with the band's 2007 live album Live Progression and then his studio debut came in 2008 with The Thin Line Between which was a decent release. Asylon marks a point where he is totally comfortable although the revolving band member door has given NEURAXIS a new rhythm section in drummer Olivier Beaudoin and Olivier Pinard on bass. It seems keeping up with the names of this band's members is as tough as keeping up with the roster of your favorite sports team year after year. Whatever the case it has brought on some true magic to the formula. From the opening moments of "Reptile" you get the feeling of entering an asylum which the title literally means and is kinda ironic considering this band's history. Once the band really kicks into gear you notice a stylistic change has come about. It just adds to the insanity which is this band's unofficial trademark.

The Thin Line Between was a far more brutal sounding tech death release which was typical of the many other acts from the band's homeland. That's one of the reasons I thought it was decent as far as quality but I was no huge fan of it. On here they've reverted back to the more melodic and diverse sound which was indicative of Trilateral Progression. Asylon is a much better listening experience which draws you into the environment instead of assaulting your senses. Cuts like "Savior and Destroyer", "By the Flesh" and "Trauma" display a cohesive balance between the extreme and melodic arrangements. If you have ADD then you'll find Asylon disappointing but anyone else will enjoy the staccato flourishes which intermingle with the melodic passages. LeBlanc's guttural bark vocals are in tune with the style performed here. The band has found that niche between the worlds of tech and mello death which to me is pure enjoyment since the formulas of both genres simply bore the fuck out of me. In the final analysis NEURAXIS shows there's a method to their madness.



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