AxeWound, ‘Vultures’ – Album Review
In the metal world, AxeWound are a supergroup as violent and graphic as their name.
Featuring Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier and Bullet for My Valentine singer-guitarist Matt Tuck, along with drummer Jason Bowld of Pitchshifter, ex-Rise to Remain bassist Joe Coput and Glamour of the Kill guitarist Mike Kingswood, the band could have done or become one or a combination of many things. It could have been greater than the sum of the parts; a mish-mash that sounded like BFMV harvested with Cancer Bats’ DNA; or something totally unique in and of itself. We’re pleased to report that AxeWound are the latter and the former, but not the middle.
‘Vultures’ is 10 tracks of thrashy, razor-sharp riffery, with vocals that are screamy where they need to be and growly when they need to be. The overall mood is nastier than a hungry Rottweiler. It doesn’t straddle any lines or flounder in the middle of the road.
These songs are so metal, they excrete liquid steel. There’s not much in the way of humor on the album, but that’s okay. What it lacks in lightheartedness it makes up for in sheer aggression. Besides, did we really need another album of snarkily titled songs which have nothing to do with the lyrical subject matter? No, we didn’t.
AxeWound and ‘Vultures’ exist to push the metal mission forward with uncompromisingly heavy, neo-thrash tunes.
‘Post Apocalyptic Party’ feels like just that — it’s drenched in vinegar-soaked riffs, battering ram drumming, hardcore fury and thrash intensity. If the Mayan prophecies are indeed right and the end is indeed nigh, this is the song we’d want to be cranking as the world comes crashing down around us.
The title track shreds, and features a guest spot from Avenged Sevenfold‘s Synyster Gates.
‘Victim of the System’ launches with a squall of feedback and sing-talk vocals that are incredibly popular in the hardcore genre. Nevertheless, the song allows the band to smash away at the instruments while you mosh.
‘Cold’ is the most melodic jam of the bunch, vocally speaking, but the music is still fierce enough to make your blood boil. With the lyrical bark “You can’t kill me,” we’re apt to believe AxeWound are impenetrable.
‘Burn Alive’ has a doomy current running through its veins, while ‘Exorchrist’ is another example of the band’s melodic proficiency. But the rolling guitars keep the song anchored in metal.
There are not a lot of breathing moments on the album, so ‘Vultures’ is the equivalent of a street fight in that it pummels over and over again, without much in the way of pauses to allow you to catch your breath.
The songs are compact, usually clocking in at three minutes and under. So they don’t overstay their welcome or become too ambitious by trying to be experimental with all that extra time, nor do they drift into boring territory by being too samey.
Ultimately, ‘Vultures’ is the work of seasoned musicians who are adept at their instruments and their roles. They don’t rely too much on their past (or most prolific) works, nor do they attempt to be something they are not. It’s a fresh metal album that’ll satisfy your thrash jones.