Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Neuraxis: Asylon (2011)


When I think of technical death metal, I generally think of two camps. There's the Necrophagist camp of highly polished complexity, sort of like a brutal version of Dream Theater, if you don't mind the unorthodox comparison. And then there's the Suffocation camp, utterly without polish and with an impenetrable sound. But lately, some have been forging their own path. Canada's Neuraxis is one of them.

AsylonDespite the fact that two of the band's members are named Olivier, and the other two have names that could be mistaken for girls' names (like my own), there is absolutely nothing girly or sissy about Asylon. Neuraxis plays what is essentially old school death metal, with a filthy and brutal sound. The only difference is, the riffs they play have a lot of notes, and they're played with precision. Even without polished production, the performance is spot-on virtuosity, and it's amazing.

Every member holds their own technically, despite rapid changes in pace and riff, and they all perform with conviction. Especially worthy of note are Alex LeBlanc's death growls, which easily stand up to comparisons with Mikael Åkerfeldt, Peter Tägtgren, or any other fantastic death growler you could think of.

Not only do they have the style, production, and chops, but they also have the songs. These songs have barbed hooks that dig in, do their damage, and don't let go. "Asylum" and "Savior & Destroyer" are particularly worthy of note, the latter having a melodic riff that may draw comparisons to Decrepit Birth. "Purity" feels like an epic because of its sound and structure, despite its short length. And the whole album clocks in at a satisfying 39 minutes, so it's satisfying but doesn't overstay its welcome.

The Verdict: This is a fantastic album that feels like old-school death metal played in a technical style, with everything you could possibly want. It's still early in the year, but this is the best album so far. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.


  1. I loved their last album so I am eager to check this one out as well.

  2. Album is sick. "Sinister" has to be my favorite track.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I just realized I mentioned Akerfeldt and Tagtgren for two reviews in a row, which is not something I intended to do. But it was appropriate both times.