Videoclip of the Month!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Axis of Advance - Obey

Axis of Advance - Obey

In 2004, Axis of Advance released their 5th studio album titled Obey. For anyone who isn’t already aware, Canada has one of the best underground scenes going. You don’t hear of that many Canadian black metal bands because everyone is still orgasming/drooling over Scandinavian black metal. There is no doubt that Europe has some of the greatest black metal to come out into the world but there are other places which have just as good if not better black metal and Canada just happens to be one of those places. Like I’ve just mentioned, Canada has one of the best underground scenes and the only black metal band comes to mind when you think “Canada” and “black metal” is Gris. Yeah, and that’s about it. Well, if you aren’t into the whole depressive suicidal black metal sort of thing (or DSBM, whatever you prefer), do not despair because Axis of Advance are here to save the day.

The internet, you gotta love it. It’s the biggest database of information in the world, in one place at your fingertips and if you know how to use it well enough you can use it to find new bands from any genre. Anyways, if you googled something like “most brutal black metal bands” what do you think you would get? You would most likely get a whole bunch of forums where people worshiping that likes of Marduk, Infernal War and Endstille (just to name a few). Not only this, but they would be defending that they are the most brutal thing that they have ever heard in their life. What if I told you, that there was something more insane, more brutal or more…extreme than Marduk, Infernal War or Endstille. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Axis of Advance is that something.

Axis of Advance belongs to a black metal subgenre called war metal and war metal is known for its speed and rawness of the music. Although the black on Obey isn’t that raw in comparison with other black metal bands, because of its sheer speed and brutality I think it deserves to be labelled as war metal.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the first thing that hit me on Obey was the sheer technicality of the drumming. On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d have to say that the level of technicality of the drumming is a definite 10. I’ve never heard anything quite as fast or complex ever before from any other subgenre of metal (yes, including technical death metal). What I also like about the drumming is that each beat played is short and snappy. It really emphasises the speed of the drumming, but it also gives it a slight sense of rawness to the music as well. But I know what you’re thinking “zomg, Axis to Advance just sounds like noise without any sense of musical structure”. I can certainly tell you that there is definitely a method to Axis to Advance’s madness, it’s just that the method used is also madness. (madness? You think this is madness?).

I don’t know what else it is about the music but Obey sounds very different from many other black metal albums. It’s changes in vocal style, the speed of the music and how it’s not associated with overly complex guitar wankery and just the feeling of the music. The atmosphere that is created isn’t dark as such, but still raw. It’s quite an odd feeling really.

But, the best thing about Axis of Advance is that they are also one of those bands who aren’t ALWAYS fast. There are times where the music is absolutely dead slow and it really changes the scene for the music and gives the music a good gateway to change. Not only this, but I feel that the music would sound awfully redundant without these slower parts. Typically in Obey, these slower sections of the songs don’t last long (a few seconds at the most) but they are very noticeable. Although they might have disrupted the music just a little bit… c’mon, it’s a war metal band who cares about structure?

One other thing that I found quite interesting in Obey (apart from the super awesome drumming which I’ll probably never get over) is the inclusion of thrash metal style guitar solos. Although most black metal pretty music derived from thrash metal, it’s rare to find black metal bands who have many if not, any guitar solos in their music but Axis of Advance have chosen to stuff Obey with them. They have an extremely fast shedding style of guitar solos but they only last for a few seconds at the most. Although I find that the solos get a tad boring after a while, its pretty much the only thing that can keep up with the speed and pace of the music.

Overall, Obey has got to be one of the most extreme black metal bands out there that make sense. They are right up there with the rawest of the raw and the most of brutal of the brutal such as Black Witchery, Revenge and Conquer (just to name a few). Obey was their last album before they split up in 2008 which means that this is the last thing from them that can still be remembered. Although this is one heck of a black metal release, its definitely not the best thing ever made. I don’t know, but I just cannot help the feeling of genercy or redundancy throughout the whole album. It just feels like I’ve heard it all before, but not in this order or as powerful. This really lets the whole album down because I was literally bored of it after the first 3 listens. This is obviously recommended to those who live on the extreme side of metal (doesn’t matter if it’s black or death metal) or to those who like fast metal in general. I also recommend the track Veiled cast of judgement because I think it will give you a good taste for what Axis of Advance has to offer and what they are about. Although they haven’t brought anything new to the table or revolutionized the genre, it will make an excellent addition to anyone’s black metal/extreme metal collection. I give Axis of Advance’s Obey a 13/20.

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