Review Summary: Quality tech death even after none of the founding members remain in the band.
On this album Neuraxis was:
Rob Milley - guitar
Alex Leblanc - vocals
Olivier Pinard - bass
Olivier Beaudoin - drums
Listen only when crazy energy rush required
From their formation in 1994, Neuraxis have continued to make technical music infused with strong sense of melodies. They have evolved from an unpolished, raw death metal sound to a more complex and progressive one which they displayed best on Trilateral Progression.
It's obvious to question whether these new guys would be able to live up to the standards Neuraxis had set (especially the previous vocalist) and I did have my doubts before first playing this album.
The thing with technical death metal is you can't tell how good the music really is so quickly. By the time the first song ended, I wasn't sure whether I would call it good music or not. But as soon as the riffs of Asylum had caught on to me, I wavered those doubts away and listened with an open mind. The riffs felt just as they did before: brutal yet melodic, technical yet catchy. They've continued to follow the simple songwriting formula which cares about only one main strength. And that's great riffs.
Songs like 'By The Flesh' and 'Purity' demonstrate the best of their pounding riffs, the former being one of the most intense death metal songs I've heard myself. The riffs are so powerful that if you'd let yourself go with them, you'd be on a very dangerous journey, at least when you're high. Also, like previous albums, the guitars don't always work in distortion mode. A relatively softer calming melody comes in the form of the song 'Resilience' as a welcome diversion from the monotony of unrelenting heavy technical music. Even on the final song 'Left To Devour' a beautiful acoustic passage acts as the closure to the album.
A pleasant surprise on the album is that the vocalist somehow doesn't sound that bad now. His ambitious screams on the song 'V' and consistent growling otherwise was quite pleasant to hear. He isn't as good as Ian Campbell but it nevertheless doesn't bring the music down in any way. Likewise, there is not much to say about the drumming and bass except that they complement the guitars as well as they could considering this is a guitar-oriented genre. The drummer, however, manages to use short bursts of double bass at random intervals to intensify the music at certain points.
There are no complaints about the production quality of this album as we'd all expect. Neuraxis have always been consistent in their recording quality and in that aspect this album surely does not disappoint. The bass, drums and guitars have been mixed at appropriate volumes but the vocals feel a bit low at certain points.
Apart from unrelenting heavy music that they provide, this album still is a host to a few questionable riffs and melodies. For example, a riff in 'V' makes me want to play video games rather than headbang. But these are minor flaws and in this genre it is really hard to make a perfect album. If you're in the right mood, you might even like it then. (I might like it later)
All in all, Neuraxis have not really improved upon their sound (regressed a bit, in my opinion), but still continue to provide quality technical death metal. The riffs are as good as they ever were and there is a pleasant change in the (slight) reduction of use of artificial harmonics as well. But whether it’s the sinister start to ‘Sinister’ or the catchy riffs in most other songs, unconventional lyrics, there are some parts of this album that you’ll come to love. And if you listen to this album when you don't really
feel like/need to listen to it, there are some parts that you'll come to hate .