Saturday, October 14, 2017

Song Review: AXEMASTER Black Dungeons

Black Dungeons
Remastered track from Blessing In The Skies (And Other Cuts From The Chamber), released on Pure Steel Records October 6, 2017
Originally appearing of the 1991 demo 5 Demons (Imperative Is Their Demise)
Ohio, USA’s Axemaster returns with two offerings for autumn. Their new full length The Crawling Chaos is scheduled to come out late November, but advance copies are reportedly getting enthusiastic reviews. In the meantime you have Blessing In The Skies (And Other Cuts From The Chamber) to listen to. Having been active since 1983, Axemaster are survivors of the thrash movement that aboveground labels failed to notice. It’s a shame since many worthwhile bands emerged from that era including Whiplash, At War, Hirax and Blessed Death as well as this band. Thanks to social media and the business savvy to found independent labels of their own, those bands and others are still leaving impressions on extreme music. It’s an appropriate time for Axemaster to continue releasing their work for the new generation of thrashers, who have much to catch up on here. Their demo cut Black Dungeons was uploaded to Youtube late September to treat longtime fans. 5 Demons (Imperative Is Their Demise) may have been released five years after thrash and power metal’s underground peak, but the classic feel is forever represented and it’s commendable for the band to remember where they were musically after all those years of releasing singles, splits and full lengths. Axemaster make a point that their material has been refined and improved upon since the glory days of thrash and power metal. Still this is a fitting preview for the Halloween season and for new fans seeking a full history of the band from ’91 to today. From the Vincent Price/Hammer Horror-esque spoken word intro to the malevolent opening riffs to musicianship reminiscent of Nasty Savage and Armored Saint. This combination admittedly might be considered badly dated to some listeners, still you don’t have to be a record collector to appreciate a piece of the band’s history to see how far they’ve come through the 1990s and 2000s. The song is part of a conceptual tale the band devised for the demo, in which each song is about a demon who seeks to destroy society. I personally liked the song’s horrorific narrative, the mental pictures the lyrics called to mind and most of all how easily the musicianship took me back to the mid-80s. My sole complaint was that the guitar solos tended to sound slightly sloppy, but aside from that the playing is solid and most importantly honest. Black Dungeons and Blessing In The Skies is a decent tide over until The Crawling Chaos comes out next month. -Dave Wolff

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