Down, Them Crooked Vultures or Shrinebuilder must have – getting their shit in order must drive them nuts!
Of course, as consumers, there’s little that compares to the buzz
that accompanies the announcement of a new supergroup. Imaginations can
run wild at the potential of “this vocal” with “that bass” combined with
“those guitars”. Such was the thrill when Axewound
were first announced to the public. The concept was always going to
live or die on just how well its constituent parts would gel. Throwing Cancer Bats’ Liam Cormier’s screaming punk vocal at Bullet For My Valentine’s Matt Tuck and Glamour Of The Kill’s Mike Kingswood and their carefully-placed shreds and smooth guitar tones was a big risk. Add Rise To Remain bassist Joe Copcutt and Pitchshifter drummer Jason Bowld into the package and you get a lot of eager faces banging at the venue gates and, with debut album Vultures, music shop doors and online windows.
I got a sneak peak at them back in June when they hit the UK’s
Download Festival. My expectations for just where this particular
collaboration was headed panned out pretty well. They gave us petulant,
direct metalcore peppered with cleans and screams all underpinned by
hefty double-kick and scattergun fills. The surprise for me with the
album, if there was to be any, is the nature of the emotive crooning
they decided to actually throw out there. Back then, wedged into a vast
tent filled with thousands of people, it didn’t seem so obvious but
here, with what is an obscene level of production slapped on it, it
sticks out a mile. “Cold”, ugly and unyielding at every turn, and the
somber orchestral ballad “Collide” are great examples of songs where the
lead and backing vocals work against each other (the line “When these
two worlds collide / There’s nothing left to hide” seems particularly
apt), and “Post Apocalyptic Party” and “Church Of Nothing” highlight
just how easy it is for the slick riffs, chord holds, slimy guitar tones
and blasé song construction to suck the fervour out of these songs.
On the flip side, the title-track (featuring an unseemly, tacked-on
Synyster Gates’ solo) and the thrashing “Victim Of The System” peel back
the varnish and simply rip it. Head-banging, air-guitaring fury from
beginning to end. Cormier nails it as the backing vocal stays suppressed
to allow him to remain unsweetened. Tracks like this and the hammering
drums and skidding strings of the Unearth-esque
“Destroy” prove this band could conceivably have a future if they keep
away from descending into the more predictable metalcore formulas.
down hardest of all, Vultures (not to be confused with Rise To Remain’s 2012 debut City Of Vultures) is more likely to appeal to the Bullet For My Valentine posse than Cancer Bats
fans. If you like disco rhythms to accompany your breakdowns, you’ll
probably eat this for breakfast. For anyone who fancies something a
little more visceral, slightly anti-establishment and with a handsome
degree of integrity (all of which Tuck promised Axewound would be), view this as a project that Tuck needs to “man up or shut up” for or that Cormier needs to ditch in a hurry.
Also online @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/axewound-vultures