Review Summary: Two young bands with bags of potential, one great split release.
2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Axis of light came to consciousness last year with their debut demo by the hands of the consuming fire and fast made a name for themselves amongst the black metal underground. The Manchester based duo came shrieking into full view completely unannounced and since their well received debut there has been a patient wait for their next instalment of misanthropic madness.
The first of the two tracks they present here takes their previous material and turns it on its head as the punkish elements that were used more as a break from the chaos of their original demo are used to craft the opening three minutes of the song with a mid paced and dare I say almost catchy blackened punkish stomp. This is all still backed by the hellish screams of Axiom who’s presence helps keep the mood chaotic even during the slower sections. But they finish the song off by returning to what they do best and take the track home with all of the blackened chaos we have come to love from them.
The second song on offer secrets of the tomb should be familiar to anyone who recently picked up the SVN OKKLT cassette compilation. This song sounds like it could have been lifted directly from the first demo with all of the misanthropic chaos that was present before on their earlier material. With this in mind and the feel of their original demo still intact Axis Of Light set about us by ploughing through what is probably the best song they have put out so far.
Now although axis of light will never be the fastest or most technically dazzling band around they have always had a depth and underlying intensity to their music that is hard to pin point, this for the most part is accentuated by the production style and at times utterly terrifying vocal delivery of Axiom. The two songs they’ve displayed here have managed to retain the amazing atmosphere that was so prevalent on their demo, while proving that they are capable of shifting into other territories without losing that chaotic misery caked sound they have. The future looks bright (or dark) for this Manchester based duo, bring on the next instalment.
The next side of this split brings us to Death Fortress. Death Fortress is a one man based project from New Jersey who similarly to Axis Of Light have to date released one demo and have contributed a song to the recent SVN OKKLT compilation. Death fortress contribute a single ten minute track to their side of the split which like their previous material shows a lot of promise but seems to fall short when it comes to the execution. I can never help but get the feeling that something is missing when I listen to Death Fortress’s material, sounding like a combination of 1349 and forgotten legends era Drudkh (probably not the best comparison but that’s what I get from them) Death Fortress have a lot going for them. While the song is definitely more of a grower than an instant hit of black metal with some of the more drawn out and hypnotic riffs gradually seeping their way into your consciousness, once you warm to its charms it is certainly enjoyable but just not up to the standards set by Axis Of Lights side of the release. As previously stated the song they present here is solid enough but it feels like something is just missing, the individual components are all there for this band to be something quite special and you can see what they’re going for with the cavernous ritualistic approach. But some of the riffs end up outstaying their welcome and some of the transitions can come off as clunky. Death Fortress are a band with bags of potential and with some refinement could probably turn out something truly special.
So with these three songs we have two bands, both full of potential and both with hopefully better things to come. Well worth your time and well worth the price of admission.
As a whisper through the tomb, elder lore
Manifesting within horrid usurpers, and
spoken in tongues of dusk
charred altars vomiting forth tormented
eyes are drawn towards the dead, the
silent god is striving to cry out
and fifteen spirits feed from the chapel
Ritual cast to the wind, and through
spits the bleeding disciple; the hangman