Review Summary: All too formulaic and predictable
The debut release from transatlantic supergroup AxeWound, Vultures
, has caused quite a stir in the mainstream rock and metal press. And of course it would. In Matt Tuck and Liam Cormier, they were led by the frontmen of the British multi-million record shifters Bullet For My Valentine and Canadian hardcore punks Cancer Bats and as such immediately had supreme geographical superiority over other news items. The other members come from some of the other big names in the modern '-core' scene too, with ex-Rise to Remain bassist Joe Copcutt and guitarist Mike Kingswood of Glamour of the Kill. For the old timers there's even renowned drummer Jason Bowld of industrial veterans Pitchshifter.
So an intriguing bunch then. Well, kind of. Despite Tuck's well documented “metal” claims it was hard to see this group making anything than just another metalcore album. Even Bowld's last major venture outside Pitchshifter was to form This is Menace, another short lived metalcore supergroup. And, in the end, AxeWound just made another metalcore album.
That said, one should not reject this album immediately because may not actually be all that metal. The opener 'Vultures' gets things off to a promising start. The riffs stay away from mindless chugging for the time being and there's even a fancy pants solo from Avenged Sevenfold's Synyster Gates. It feels quite bolted on and a rather suspicious attempt to get another big name involved, but the song ensures the album, if not quite hitting the ground running, sets off at a pacey jog.
Unfortunately, it never really gets into it's stride. The '-core' cliches rear their ugly heads in the next track, the first single 'Post Apocalyptic Party, with big scream-along preaches and a tacked on, long as hell breakdown to match. Things really do get turgid once the other singles 'Cold' and 'Exorchrist' join the party soon after. With the necessary breakdown in the middle and the all too horrid clean chorus with big shouty verses, 'Cold' really manages to be one of the most formulaic songs of all time. It also shows up prefectly what happens when you try to let out some faux rage with the precious lines “So sick of hearing your *** so think I’m sick of it / Pain, is it faded" / I’m gonna beat you down and take a piss on you.”
That's right folks, he's so mad he just might whizz on your face.
'Exorchirst' fares a bit better, but it still suffers from single syndrome. There are chugs galore, supposedly catchy flails ending every riff and a clean chorus that sounds as though it's been pulled from straight the shelves all mixed for the perfectly packaged single.
However, there are still some interesting moments. 'Victim of the System' for one is probably the best song on the record, not wasting time any time with the tools apparently required to make a single and just bulldozes on, carried by some lightning quick drumming and guitars firing everywhere. 'Blood Money and Lies' contains the best vocals similarly and 'Collide' at least mixes things up with the addition of some fine string sections, if somewhat spoiled by some all too obvious auto-tune on Tuck's vocals. Still, too much of the album, such as closer 'Church of Nothing' being the worst sufferer aside from the singles, is lifted from 'Modern Metal for Dummies.' This is particularly disappointing as AxeWound manage show at times that they could possibly do more than that. They're not exactly Megadeth but they are probably capable of far more than they choose to show us for much of the record.
It's a shame how much AxeWound get stuck in trying to make the sound they think they're supposed to. All to often they revert back their comfort zones and play along to the current scene. Either that or this was a rather pointless exercise and they may as well have just stuck to their own bands if all they wanted to do was make another middle of the road modern metalcore album. Whichever one it is Vultures
, while not altogether terrible, is a disappointing showing up of the mainstream metal formula.