Review Summary: A gripping, if not entirely novel mesh-up of modern progressive metal and melodic rock.
The contemporary progressive metal scene is polluted with bands that display proficient musicianship, yet totally fail to deliver memorable songs. Rather than entirely relying on binary-code riffs that sunken many of their contemporaries, Denmark-based Boil skillfully juxtapose modern heaviness with powerful melodies. Even though their third album aXiom
sounds instantly familiar most of the time, the material is composed with enough verve and resourcefulness to make a lasting impression on listeners who like their polyrhythmic modern metal mellowed out with alternative rock influences.
It's refreshing to hear how creatively the outfit merges plenty of styles while largely avoiding an obvious pitfall of sounding like a rip-off. The syncopated riffs are towering, but also used with prowess and restraint. Jacob Løbner enhances them with a blend of strong vocal harmonies and occasional screams. Despite not having a very original timbre, he tends to use his voice effectively in every vocal style he selects. “At the Center of Rage” stands as the record's most representative track with Fair To Midland-echoing verse building to a monumental chorus. Simultaneously, its intricate riffs mutate from relentlessly crushing to progressive rock-inclined. On the other hand, “Sever the Tie” expertly builds tension with its Tool-inclined rhythms that suddenly burst into an uplifting melody. The group also ventures into finessed balladry with aptly titled “Darkest” and “Almost a Legend” which builds its eerie atmosphere on a splendidly orchestrated cello motif.
Even though this diversity may be the record's selling point in the long run, it also expectedly disrupts the flow of the presentation at some points, making for a bunch of clear blunders. “Moth to the Flame” sounds rather uninspired incorporating plenty of pop-inclined melodies to tepid effect. “Vindication” is built around an enticing, industrialized groove, yet the song just lasts too long for its own good. Elsewhere, the blatant deathcore of “Sunbound” seems like a natural expansion of the act's peripheral influence on paper. In reality, it's the least cohesive track that additionally feels completely out of place in the record's more atmospheric latter half.
While Boil should take the credit for taking risks and stepping out of their comfort zone musically, the intriguing theme of one man's delusions the album is lyrically based on has not been properly fleshed-out. If implemented well, this concept could give the disc a decided edge, distinguishing it from a plethora of similar releases. Instead, aXiom
is more defined by its equitable balance of progressive metal and alternative rock, delivered with top-notch musicianship and pristine production. In essence, this is still an extremely appealing album whose replay value is high.