“This album is dedicated to all true 70’s and 80’s die hard metal maniacs, all those who bravely stand narrow-minded against all fashion, trends and disgusting modernity…”
One look at the cover of Axecuter’s latest album – a be-denimed, studded, metal dude arm wrestling the man in his corporate suit over-flowing with money – is enough to inspire confidence in ‘metal is invincible’. If you’re still not convinced read the lyric to the opening, and title, track which gloriously sums up the experience of the aging metal-head more neatly than any lengthy prose could: “My old friends have changed, now they’re family guys, Lawyers in business suits, they’ve got ‘normal’ lives, money, cars, a big house, high social condition, heavy metal is gone, and now their minds on wealth obsession.” If those brilliant simple, poignant and utterly to the point lyrics mean anything to you, then this CD is for you, if on the other hand they make you scratch your head in confusion then leave the building now because Axecuter are not for you.
For those who have been following Darkthrone in recent years, it should be noted that Fenriz has been espousing the virtues of the dark, pure, passion-fuelled metal that arose in the late 70s and continued into the heady, over-the-top days of the mid-eighties. That Fenriz, and indeed Axecuter, should reference these days is hardly surprising. Representing the golden period of metal, with thrash, black and death metal all in their brutal infancy and the unholy likes of Venom, Angel Witch, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motorhead cast as giants that straddled the earth in tight-fitting leather trousers, the early eighties (now conveniently maligned by those who prefer their metal homogenised and compartmentalised) provided the world with a pride and passion for the genre that is rarely displayed in these more commercially driven times. Axecuter, however, live, breathe and presumably defecate metal. The song titles tell you all you need to know about how much you’ll enjoy this beer-soaked release: ‘feed the beast’, ‘no god, no devil (worship metal!), ‘bangers prevail’ – quite simply ‘metal is invincible’ is a love letter to metal, written with a genuine sense of awe and passion for the genre and played by three maniacs with an utter disregard for convention or fashion. That the release is on the mighty Inferno Records (‘in metal we’ll trust, in hell we’ll burn’) nails it – this is a release that any true metal head simply has to have in their collection.
The evidence is clear – opening track ‘metal is invincible’ is a lyrically brilliant blast of pure metallic fervour, ‘feed the beast’ a crushing, full on blast and early highlight ‘no god, no devil (worship metal)’ is an utterly brilliant, high octane blast that combines Danmented’s Lemmy-meets-Tom-Araya gargle with furious solos, pounding percussion and an adrenalin-inducing riff that makes you want to dance around the room till your soaked to the skin in the raw sweat of the true servant of metal. That Axecuter would approve of such antics goes without saying, and by the time they hit on the near perfect thrash attack of ‘bangers prevail’ you’ll be hooked on this album so badly, the chances of playing anything else for weeks is remarkably low. What makes it so special is not hard t pin point – the rampant aggression, so brilliantly produced, is a huge amount of fun. It makes you want to jump out of your seat, head-bang until your neck muscles ache and you just know that the sole reason that Axecuter even recorded this CD is because that is exactly what this music does for them. There is no artifice here; no posturing or attempts to attract any audience other than those already with a taste for pure, unadulterated heavy metal played with a conviction that is as thoroughly impressive as it is pure.
Kicking into a furious instrumental, ‘destructive blitzkrieg’ showcases the band’s formidable instrumental talent before the dangerous instruction manual for life that is ‘keep on sinning’ slam dunks you with its thrashing riff and devastatingly accurate lyric “all my cash was gone for records, a remedy to please my ears, I grew up listening to my heroes, that’s the reason I’m here” which may well end up written on my tombstone if the band will only grant me permission. Hell the lyrics are so spot on to every true metal head out there that in place of a review you could just print out the whole album’s worth as a measure of the band’s brilliance, but in truth without Danmented’s venomous snarl only half the story would be represented. ‘The fires of Krakatoa’ is the album’s epic. At ten minutes it is a lengthy ride, but a stunning one, opening with the sound of roaring wind and a piece of truly beautiful guitar work that leads you ever so slowly to the inevitable riffs that appear some three minutes into the song. It’s an epic in the sense of the ‘rhyme of the ancient mariner’ and, like that classic Maiden masterpiece, it never gets dull or overblown, the band pitching just right between a sense of the mysterious and the brutal. The album ends on the suitably exultant ‘heavy metal to the world’ – a cover of the Manilla road song from 1985’s ‘open the gates’ and featuring a guest appearance from Mark Shelton himself. It is a brilliant, joyful end to an album that never lets the heart stop pounding from the moment it makes its entrance to the moment the disc stops spinning.
This is real metal. Played with passion by a trio whose love of the genre shines through every furious riff, it’s a head-banger’s delight to listen to and the quality of the production (ably handled by Maiko Thome and T Basstard – the latter of the band) is perfect – just drawing the line between admirably raw and powerful. It’s rare to come across an album as fun, as exciting, as brilliantly energetic as this, and such bands should be embraced by the metal scene as heroes of the cause. If you buy only one new band’s material this year, let it be this one because this is nothing less than awesome from start to finish. Axecuter rule – all hail Axecuter.