Let Satan cling feebly to God; they shall be destroyed together.
Released 2003 on Rage of Achilles.
An odd little record, this. It came out in 2003, a more or less unheralded release by a practically unknown band, and proceeded to kick the British underground metal scene in the nuts - placing high on Terrorizer's top albums of that year, and generally getting generous reviews all around. I'll try and place such critical praise aside for the review, though.
The first thing to note is probably the obvious comparisons to Anaal Nathrakh. Both are British bands (though from different regions), made up only of two people, both intensely misanthropic, playing some variation on black metal. Anaal Nathrakh play it incredibly raw and fast, with the basic intention of scaring the shi
t out of everyone (try out Pandemonic Hyperblast
for a taste). Axis of Perdition's take on the genre is similar in that it seems very deliberately hostile to the listener, but has a bit of an industrial twist strapped to it, mostly in the form of electronics and samples. This link, and the fact that it was released on Rage of Achilles (often used pretty much synonymously with "really extreme music") should give you the right idea; they're fairly extreme.
In now attempting to review the music, I realise I made an error in calling this an odd little record. It is odd, and, to be fair, little in the sense of not being a major release, but musically it's not little at all - it's massive, sprawling, expansive. At that, comparisons to Cult of Luna may spring to mind, but this is very much a different . Luna's music is similarly immense, but it achieves this by building, layering itself, drawing in and engrossing the listener in massive slabs of sound. Ultimately, however hostile it initially sounds, it's a positive, perhaps cathartic, experience. Axis of Perdition, on the other hand, does not have this - no layers, no building. Or to be more precise, what is built, and what layers are achieved, are just as soon smashed aside for the next assault. There is no resolution, no catharsis; any temporary sanity or shelter that the listener achieves is just as soon torn away from them by another burst of programmed drums, another abrasive riff (or riff fragment - there is nothing so comforting as a real riff to be found) or solo, another distorted sample or few seconds of heavily effects-laden, twisted vocals. It comes to my mind as essentially the sound of misanthropy, of impure nihilism. The album's title takes on a new, horrific aspect as you're battered by this particular sonic storm, the Ichneumon being a species of wasp which incubates it's eggs by injecting them into the body of another living insect.
There's no respite - not once throughout the album do the pair give you a break. They've no reason to - as is explained in the booklet (mostly composed, incidentally, of dark illustrations and foreboding aphorisms and catchphrases), they hail from Middlesborough, and their lives in the area drove them to abject hatred of humanity at large, an emotional experience they seem determined to foist upon, or at least make apparent to, whichever poor sod listens to their album. Each track is basically a roiling, horrendously chaotic mass - and I likes it.