Axia – Pulverizer (Review)

AxiaAxia are a grindcore band from Portugal, and this is their debut album.

Okay, so rarely has a band’s album title been so aptly named. Axia play grind that just pulverises and destroys.

Elements of sharp, destructive death metal can be heard in the band’s sound, helping to create their streamlined, brutal grindcore. The songs are short and nasty, doing great damage and causing much mayhem.

This is modern grindcore, relentlessly delivered with furious malice and negativity. Straight-up grinding blast beats are a common method that Axia use, but like great artists they can get a lot of mileage out of just one tool.

There’s much more than just blast beats here though. I can hear certain aspects of violent hardcore here and there, which further adds a contemporary edge to the music’s extremity. Huge, crushing riffs are employed sometimes, occasionally having a non-standard Meshuggah feel to them. This crushingly atypical groove works well for the band, and mixed with their predilection for heightened aggression makes for some very enjoyable songs.

As relentlessly aggressive as this is, there’s still a decent amount of variety here for the style. The band’s moden influences mean that they’re not restricted in what they want to achieve, which also allows them to create slow, slithering songs like Absence of Light. This track really ramps up the malevolent atmosphere, and sounds like a dark, sludge metal nightmare. Other, different ideas are effectively used and explored too on other tracks, such as the clean singing on Means to an End.

The vocals are mainly serrated screams, full of anger and rage. These are near-ubiquitous and performed with such venom that the singer must surely have injured himself during the album’s recording. These are backed up by deep deathgrowls, which are added in for brutal emphasis.

Axia have produced an album of crushing, relentless fury and blistering aggression. This should easily delight grindheads everywhere.

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