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Ansur - Axiom CD (album) cover

AXIOM

Ansur

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.04 | 4 ratings

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Negoba
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Textural Prog Black Metal ? Not Bad

As a guy who likes my metal musically intense but not pointlessly brutal, I can have a hard time finding new bands that really connect with me. Most death or black metal vocals put me off, but in certain environments I think they work. So it was that wandering through last.fm that I found Ansur. Like many of my favorites, this band sits somewhere between post-metal and extreme metal, but on AXIOM the band keeps its feet still grounded in black metal while venturing into more creative territory. What amazes is that the band can go from post / sludge walls of sound to sixteenth note riffing to swinging chording and it all sounds good!

By far what sets this band and album apart is the use of texture. The distortion is big and puffy, the vocals are significantly effected, and various key pads are used to enliven the sound. The first track, "Earth Erasure," features a female choir vocal key sound that lends a very goth feel to the mix. These return intermittently through the album, along with some interesting left-of-center guitar fills. The soloing is typically quick but relatively rare. This band is clearly thinking of overall sound over individual showcasing. "Desert Messiah" utilizes at least 4 or 5 different guitar tones ranging from acoustic to clean electrics to various distortions.

Like most prog death (or black) metal, there are plenty of odd time riffs, jarring transitions, and dissonance. The vocals are as much shouted as throated, with additional distortion and effects added later. The band does use clean sections but these only distantly evoke Opeth. Clearly, these musicians are endeavoring to produce a unique sound, and it is hard on this disc not to admire them as they work. Two of the songs "The Axiom Depicted" and "Interloper" qualify as epics at 11 and 9 minutes respectively.

The biggest weakness of the album is production. The vocals are buried, the mix is pretty amateurish and the execution can be loose at times. At the same time, there is a raw energy that always comes in hungry young bands' work. To hear that fire in a goth, atmospheric album is a nice treat. Some sections can get a little repetitive, and a few of the rhythmic feels get overused. I find that typical of black metal in general, however, and this is much more complex than standard black metal in every aspect save perhaps the quality of the vocals.

All in all, this is a very nice effort that has me eager to hear the next album. As for my never- ending search through esoteric metal, I found a new little not-yet-refined gem for my collection. Atmospheric, complex, heavy, intense, just the way I like 'em.

Negoba | 3/5 |

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