Review Summary: If you choose one record that forces you to feel dizzyingly levels of despair and imparts dread in a short, powerful burst, please make it this one.
It would be an absolute travesty to criticize the production on Axis of Light’s debut record, especially considering the bone-chilling atmosphere the band manages to achieve on By The Hands of the Consuming Fire
. In short, the drumming is almost non-existent, the general instrumentation is lacking in terms of anything diverse or interesting (besides a few, key aspects), and Consuming Fire
is generally as sloppy as fuck
. More importantly though, Consuming Fire
is all the better for it.
Energetic and spastic, technicality and dexterity are tossed by the wayside on this bleak road in favor of cathartic despair. We forgive Axis of Light for - scratch that, we thank
Axis of Light for this considering the wonders it does to produce an utterly abyssal and dread-inducing atmosphere. This is best achieved through the high-pitched wailing, which demand center-stage throughout. There’s little to love here if you’re looking for subtlety or layers, and Consuming Fire
can be too simplistic for its own good at points, but the off-kilter, hateful product is bare to the bone and this only stands to heighten the sense of harshness throughout.
Each track follows a similar progression as it decreases from static and fuzzy rhythms into vocalist Axiom’s madhouse of unrelenting, shrill screams of depravity that manage to handily supersede all other elements. Though raw, Consuming Fire
is still nowhere near impenetrable. The obvious undertones of hardcore and punk, most visible in the careless beginnings of tracks “II” and “III,” allow the listener an easy entering point, a foothold to grab hold of while delving deep into the dark, abyssal consuming fire.
It may not be a record you like
, or even enjoy; but at the very least, Consuming Fire
with its emotive atmosphere and murderous cries should be enough to reinvigorate your interest in black metal as far as 2012 is concerned.