Now here’s an album with a lot to offer fans of nuanced, expressive music. Daxma’s mix of post-metal, doom, and neoclassical is something that should be savoured and enjoyed at length and with appreciative focus.
This is music that’s rich and layered, with the band crafting songs that feature a wide range of moods, feelings, and textures. Everything from introspective self-reflection, to crushing walls of guitars are explored in these impressive soundscapes.
Shining, resplendent melodies and slow, steady build/release mechanics are expertly employed in the creation of these tracks, alongside some very affecting violin. The latter merges with the rest of the music flawlessly and naturally, and doesn’t at all come across as a late addition to the music as it can when some bands use instruments that fall outside of the standard guitar/bass/drums.
Mournful and despondent, whether soft or heavy, this is an album of constant emotion and feeling. No part of the music here is throwaway or included just for the sake of it or to fill out space; everything here has a purpose, and the entire album is a very well-written and well-delivered piece of work.
In many ways the first song – Birth – prepares you for the rest of the album. It’s a strong opener, even more so due to its instrumental nature. This is why it only lays the seeds for what’s to come, as it’s not until the second song Wanderings Beneath the Eternal Sky that the band reveal that they have some real vocal talent too, as well as their obvious music skills. Multiple vocal styles from multiple vocalists, both male and female, make appearances across the songs; all are performed with grace and skill.
As the album progresses it’s quickly clear that the band’s ability to craft affecting, emotive music is not limited to the first couple of songs. The is an album that takes the listener on a journey, providing rich sonicscapes for them to become lost and embroiled in as they start to contemplate their own mortality and the utter existential despair of their lives. Throughout this, the band hold interest and keep up the emotional intensity to the very last song, where the album slowly fades into the oblivion that it has been building to this entire time.
The Head Which Becomes the Skull is a huge achievement for this band. This is an album to explore and obsess over for many years to come. I can’t recommend this highly enough, and any fan of engaging music of depth and substance should get this as soon as they can.