Review Summary: It's not entirely metal as f**k as promised, but it's a start.
In an interview in October 2011, Matt Tuck of Bullet for My Valentine
announced he was working on a "metal as f**k" side project, a project that would ultimately be revealed as AxeWound in May 2012. Fronted by Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats
, AxeWound was said to have a heavier and aggressive feel not heard in Tuck's main band. Said Tuck, "We wanted to go in there with kind of like a Slipknot attitude of just everything. Like the 'Iowa' album - just f**king violent. Let it all out. No holds barred."
But while AxeWound claims to be "violent", Slipknot's Iowa
had the genuine anger to support its claims. I can't seem to picture what sort of things Tuck, Cormier, and company have to be angry about (I guess I'd feel pretty steamed too if I had to listen to Fever
all the way through again).
Nevertheless, the group unleashes its debut album, Vultures
. To its credit, AxeWound has plenty of good guitar work to spare throughout the record, thanks to Tuck and Matt Kingswood of Glamour of the Kill
. The thrashier moments of BFMV are recalled here, but in an album that promised violence, they are delivered in kind. Almost all of the riffs are chaotic and heavy as promised, and the guitar solo near the end of "Burn Alive" is well-placed and hard-hitting. The title track also features a solo from Synyster Gates (Avenged Sevenfold
), and while it's not different from many of his other solos, it fits the song well and is only complimented by further soloing from Kingswood. The drumming from Jason Bowld is – for lack of a better term – hyperactive at best, with the Pitchshifter
skinsman providing frenetic fills. The harsher vocals are to be commended on this record, as Cormier and Tuck take turns growling and screaming like their careers depended on it. It's a far cry from the more melodic approach we're used to hearing from Tuck, but it's a welcome change nonetheless.
The softer moments on Vultures
prove to be detrimental to the group's sonic onslaught, however. The clean vocals of Tuck on songs like "Cold" and "Exorchrist" do nothing to separate the group from countless other modern metal bands today, with "Collide" being the worst example (AutoTune can be noticeably heard in the verses). Another flaw of the album are the needless breakdowns, which serve no other purpose than to get the listener's hopes up for nothing. If this was supposed to be "metal as f**k" as promised, why not go all out instead of relying on breakdowns to pad out the album? Throw in the inaudible bass guitar (which is a shame, because Joe Copcutt provided Rise to Remain
with unique basslines) and a couple of cliched lyrics ("I against the world, so f**k me, f**k you, f**k everything"
), and it's an accurate snapshot on what sort of problems plague the modern metal community today.
But while AxeWound may not have been entirely the ultra-violent album Tuck had hoped for, Vultures
is still an enjoyable listen that (for the most part) shows off their strengths very well when they can. The guitar work is a lot more interesting than the last two BFMV albums, and the harsher vocals are well-delivered. It isn't a complete success, but AxeWound presents enough energy and interesting ideas that deserve to be expanded upon with future releases.
Recommended Tracks: "Vultures", "Burn Alive", "Blood, Money, and Lies"