As an English native, I seem to have grown up with an irrational dislike for the Welsh; perhaps it’s the accent, the language that nobody knows how to speak, or the infamously silly names they give to places. For any Welsh reading this, don’t worry, I have a far greater irrational dislike for fat people. And the only way this one visibly manifests itself is through the occasional joke inferring that you all shag sheep, despite the knowledge that this is not true. For the most part. I hope. Musically speaking, you haven’t really helped alleviate this image either; the only real exports that spring to mind being ‘Funeral for a Friend’ and ‘Bullet for my Valentine’ which, whilst not the worst offenders to their respective genres, I think we can all agree upon that for the most part, we’d rather forget ever happened. Enter Triaxis; a Trad band with an old school 80s feel to them, occasionally straying on the side of that ever ambiguous ‘speed’ and coupled with plenty of neo-classical guitar work and a riffing intensity that borders on the thrash.
A band that I first discovered as a support act shortly after their debut, I noted a glimmer of potential but also a distinctly amateurish sheen. Now they’re back, and quite frankly, I didn’t know it was possible for a band to improve in such a dramatic way in such a short amount of time. In the three years since their absence, not only have they grown individually, improving and refining their craft, but in growing together have succeeded in growing as a band. There can be doubt that what you’re listening to takes influence from the legends of the past but is a creation forged entirely of their own. From the opening moments, they make sure you know who you’re dealing with; riffs to match the greatest work of Grave Digger, solo’s fit for Maiden and the vocal prowess of the late great Dio’s female counterpart. At the mention of a female lead vocalist, I can already imagine the terror on your face, but fear not, for this is not your typical Nightwish-inspired soprano-laden flowery affair. She has a power to her voice that remains feminine but is certainly not light in touch, relishing in showing off her doom-like lows and effortless soaring highs.
The guitars vary their tone for atmospheric lines, capable of producing some simple sounding riffs that will soon cement in your mind before dazzling you with an array of solos that appreciates, yet never feels constrained to neo-classical scales, channelling the likes of Herman Frank for their own ends. Diverse, quick but not at the cost of melody; one track even sees the return of an almost folk-like tone that I’ve only heard in my much cherished copy of Chastain’s ‘Voice of the Cult;’ an album which they no doubt seem to have taken much influence from in both the guitars and the no-nonsense vocal work (although I’ve since had it confirmed that this is news to them). By comparison, the bass and drum work barely seem too notable, ever present but always overshadowed in the composition by the relentless work from the rest of the band, though no doubt they would fail to function should the perfect precision of the drums tempo and bassists rhythm stumble.
You name it – this album has it. Atmospheric ballads? Instrumental tracks? Epic chorus lines that beg you to sing along? Catchy galloping riffs? Insatiable mid-paced melodies? Mesmerising solo work? I’d love to sit here and tell you, ‘I always knew they had it in them’ or, ‘I spotted the potential years ago,’ but I didn’t. Not like this. In a year featuring the second album since the second coming of Accept and the triumphant return of Angel Witch, Triaxis have come out of nowhere and blown them out of the water, proving that even the young blood might be able to show the legends a thing or two. With this, it finally feels like NWOBHM might be finally making a comeback, and no doubt they could go on to inspire its return. “We have evolved,” they cry. Yes you have, and it sounds good to me. I could go on, but there’s no point. This is a near flawless release, perhaps only beginning to feel monotonous towards the end, but otherwise exemplifying everything the genre should. Suffice to say, you need this.
Highlights: Sand and Silver, Black Trinity, Asunder, The Butcher
About the Author
Position: Reviewer, Ranter, Reluctant Co-Editor
Location: London, England
Genre Preferences: Progressive, Avant-Garde, Experimental, Technical, Djent, Trad, Black
Favourite Artists: Adagio, Anthem, Baroness, Chthonic, Death Angel, Decadence, Fjoergyn, Gargoyle (Jpn), Haken, Kalevala, Leprous, Lucifugum, Pin-Up Went Down, Plus-Tech Squeeze Box, Project Hate MCMXCIX, Redemption, Sigh, Sikth, Tesseract, Thy Catafalque, Von Hertzen Brothers, Zigoku Quartet
Having held an internet presence using this alias for over a decade now, odds are if you've come across the name in the past it was myself. As for my musical history I suppose it's appropriate to say I arrived on my obsession backwards, for years holding little more than disdain and derision for a genre so seemingly obsessed with pointless brutality over composition; the likes of Deftones, Korn and Slipknot that serves as an introduction for so many flooding my musical palette, deterring my interests and yielding my only interpretation of what the genre involved. Ironically, it was Cannibal Corpse's “Vile” that first corrected me; played at high volume at a youth club by an elder metal fan angrily pushing the bleeding ears of the Green Day fans away from the stereo. I left that day clutching borrowed copies of Children of Bodom's “Hatebreeder,” the aforementioned Cannibal Corpse album, Metallica's “Cunning Stunts” on VHS and a whole new musical interest.
Arriving at a number of forums, I soaked up knowledge like a sponge, progressing through the stages of opinionated idiot to an arrogant elitist on a crusade before finally calming down, chronicling the last four years of my journey of discovery with self-published reviews. In the decade since my initial discovery, my tastes have mellowed and expanded to encompass most of the metal genre and beyond, constantly in search of something new and exciting, always seeking to expand my own musical knowledge. Black Metal with a Didgeridoo? Death Metal Disco? Trance Metal? Sign me up. I also have a strange obsession regarding the music of Asia, but I can't explain that one.
I have long since devoted far too much of my time writing - much to the amusement of my family who note the science-obsessed child now does far more writing than the English Lit. student - and have been self-publishing reviews since 2008; archives of music reviews can be found here and Film can be found here, though since joining Axis both have largely become defunct. I'm a keen globetrotter and, too, document my travels here, on an old blog originally designed to publish a novel that was abandoned due to time constraints.