Saturday, May 7

Neuraxis - Asylon



If a band changes all its working components, is it still the same band? Do they necessarily have the same artistic vision as their predecessors? If the band still continues to make great music, honestly I don't care. Such is the case with Canadian tech-death stalwarts Neuraxis. Their music has evolved to sound tighter, more technical and more modernized, redefining the term “progressive”, especially on their latest, Asylon. However, you don't need a strong neurological system for this release, just a strong neck to keep up with a meal of constant riffs and drum patterns, served with a side of Bloodbath-style lows and a satisfyingly clean production for dessert.

Despite suffering the loss of their rhythm section, the band are strong in their delivery. Milley and LeBlanc are an impressive songwriting double-team, from the breakneck speed of the title track to the slowed approach of “Resilience”. This latter track is used as a moment of relief; a smart risk for the band to take, it adds variety and avoids the album becoming stale. Not that there is a chance of that, as each song has its own touch that differs from the rest. My personal favorite, “Purity”, is perfectly placed in the album; the melody mixes well with the aggression, the listener is acclimatized to the vocals and there is an impressive solo to boot. Flaws on this album are minimal; even the atonal riffing and pinch harmonics, which are usually a peeve of mine, still work in this case. A couple of production hiccups aside, there is little room for complaint.

LeBlanc, the latest in a line of vocalists, growls even lower than the previous one, mostly akin to Beneath The Massacre's Désgagnes and Bloodbath's Åkerfeldt. Perhaps with less variety than Campbell, but the lyrics more than make up for it. The album concept is that of a reptile-human hybrid trapped in an asylum, which only becomes clear by the last track. Even “V”, its lyrics dedicated to a snake's attack pattern, is captured brilliantly in musical and lyrical form. However, you can ignore the words and the vocals still interweave remarkably well with the music.

In short, this is a must for any fan of death metal, especially those who like the technical side such as Obscura, Necrophagist and Decrepit Birth. Even those who only have a passing interest in the genre may find something here in this musical asylum.

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Angel's rating: 4.5/5

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