Cleveland bruisers Axioma burn societal decay, oppression with earth-decimating debut ‘Crown’

Imagine how much better Earth likely would be without people. First, we’re awful stewards to this planet, you know, if science is to be believed, and we don’t even treat each other all that well, resulting in poor relations among so many people, especially if you happen not to be in a ruling class. Or at least look like you are.

Cleveland’s Axioma had some of those ideas rolling around in their heads when it came time to write their first record “Crown.” They looked at the ways humankind has tried to exert control over people over many systems (religion, you def can put your fucking hand down) and how that’s resulted in others being beaten down and essentially enslaved. Many of those systems also have led to the destruction we’re done/are doing/won’t stop doing to a planet that just might murder us in a few decades, and who could possibly blame it? Axioma bring a wealth of experience from other band such as Keelhaul, Brain Tentacles, Forged in Flame, Jesus Egg and plenty others as its members—bassist/vocalist Aaron Dallison, guitarists J. Meyers and Cyril Blandino, and drummer Jon Vinson—forge black metal, doom, some crust, and other destructive elements that make up this nine track, 45-minute record that also includes a really interesting cover track that we’ll get to later.

“Sacred Killing Machine” opens the record with filthy exchanges, raspy growls and screams mixing together, and the track going cold right as its hits molten levels. “Holy genocide, hell upon barren earth,” Dallison howls as savagery runs amok, and the track ends in a pile of molten ash. “Roots” bleeds in, coming in clean at first as the music streams, and guitars begin extending their reach. Vicious vocals push as the playing stymies before it opens its jaws and begins devouring earth whole. That leads to devastating menace as the riffs bring the track to a killer end. “Harvest of Tongues” is a quick instrumental piece that has guitars hovering in the air, bringing an atmospheric charge that shoves into “Cult of Moloch” and its fire-breathing opening. “Bring the child forth, giveth the seed as offering, the deity shall be appeased,” Dallison rages as guitars charge up, and corrosive playing chews away at flesh and muscle. The track charges hard, leaving a sooty residue, with everything melting into chaos.

“Ascending the Mountain of Divinities” folds in with quiet, reflective guitar work, giving off a sense of calm as cymbals lightly crash, and then the tranquility changes over to hell. “The chosen few, called from above, claw your way to the altar,” Dallison wails as riffs crush and meaty thrashing ensures those bruises won’t go away any time soon. The guitars truck later as the growls scrape, and everything ends in a fiery mess. “Vessels for Migration” is an instrumental piece that’s spacey and bubbly, making your brain feel weird, and that leads into that cover we spoke of, their take on Massive Attack’s “Angel.” I wasn’t paying attention to track listing first time I heard this, so their reading took me by surprise, but when Dallison shouts, “You are my angel, I love you love you love you love you,” it sets right in. It’s everything most covers are not, in that they don’t just puke back the song; they figure out a way to put their own mark on it. “Feral Deities” is strange, with synth blips and a bizarre ambiance that leads to the song crashing through the cloud cover and powdering bones. The storm swirls as the assault gets more vicious, the growls destroy wills, and everything comes to an apocalyptic end. “Auto Da Fe” ends the album as drums pace the movement, and a slow ride picks up, complete with gazey wonder. “Dogma unleashed, civility questioned, heretical plague, threatens the crown,” Dallison shouts as the song leaves scars and tortured wounds before everything is sucked into spacey weirdness and trickles away.

Axioma’s take and views of the state of mankind are sadly right on the nose, and the music on “Crown” is a sobering and violent wake-up call to heed before things get to be too late. Though, who are we kidding? Change is as likely to happen as this site making me wealthy. But we can’t say we haven’t been warned, as the slap in the face we need is delivered over the course of 45 minutes of raw power.

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