Axis Of Despair - Mankind Crawls - (8/10)
Published on February 7, 2017
While there are and have been plenty of grind bands in the current landscape as well as the past, there is something to be said about the groups that are made up from former or just members of other projects. Such is the case with Swedish Axis Of Despair. Featuring members of Coldworker, Nasum, Overtorture among others, this four-piece formed in 2013 and in the last couple of years have released some pretty intense EP’s. 2016 saw the group releasing their second short player, Mankind Crawls, which hits all of the marks you would want from a group of this caliber. Six tracks tear through less than ten minutes and leave barely any time to breathe and rest.
“The Last Sight” starts the album off with an actually pretty groove oriented riff, perhaps leading to a slight deflection of what to expect for the remainder of this EP. Within a few second through the snarled vocals come through with the sharp guitars and blast beats from the drums. The band does still manage to maintain some groove and punk influences in the sound of the record, so it is not always just an intense cacophonous onslaught, which is very appreciated as it does allow theses members to showcase their range within the genre. Nothing ever comes out of left field or strays from the genre and its roots, but there are some slower moments combined wth the fury of riffs.
Needless to say, with tracks this short they go by in the blink of an eye, and if you are not paying attention you may easily miss some things. However, the album lends itself very well to being played numerous times, as there are a slew of headbanging riffs and infectious drumming that you cant help but take notice, and want to hear it again and again. Each track is able to carve its own identity on the album while still clearly being part of the same sequence of songs. There is no sudden change on the final track or ambient sections being added in, but Axis Of Despair know how to make their work stand on its own while keeping true to the overall approach. Much like the bands the four musicians had been in prior, the influences are clear, and the essence of those acts is very much alive. Yet, these four are not resting on those laurels, and allowing themselves to make a new beast under this moniker.
Before you know it, this EP is over and there is some ringing left in your ear. It leaves the listener with the ability to breathe finally, and you realize that you have been involved in a very intense attack. Despite there being some sections on the release that allow for more structured approach and less chaos, there is never any less power or force at play. All of this adds up to adrenaline running very high for these ten minutes. After a couple of EP’s over the last couple years, hopefully the band will begin work on a full-length release soon, as it would more than likely be one to watch out for and stay in rotation for quite some time.