Crushing Axes - Undead Warrior - (8/10)
Published on January 3, 2015
Crushing Axes is one man band from São José dos Campos, Brazil. Formed in 2008, Crushing Axes has been surprisingly active, releasing nine full length albums and an EP in that span. The project’s latest offering, Undead Warrior, which was released in 2014, continues the theme set by 2013’s Evoking the Power of Chaos of tightening the reins and focusing on no frills Brazilian death metal with a solid dose of groove and swagger. Until this point, the music of Crushing Axes was solely performed by Alexandre Rodrigues, but with Undead Warrior he opted to enlist the services of a session rhythm section; Fernando Molinari on bass and Gledson Gonçalves on drums.
Undead Warrior is a short affair, featuring only six tracks and a twenty minute running time. While the album is short, Rodrigues and his hired guns make up for it with the most mature and hard hitting songs of the Crushing Axes catalog. The band’s past few albums were good, mostly focusing on primal riffing with a dash of groove but there was a large disconnect between the pummeling music and the programmed drums. Sure, the beats went along with the music and all, but everything just felt like it was being held back by the mechanical sound. With the addition of a flesh and blood drummer, as well as a different set of hands with the bass lines, Crushing Axes finally captures that piece that seemed to hold them back.
Despite how much more professional and coherent Undead Warrior sounds when compared to its predecessor, it’s really the same old hat as far as the band’s sound. A mix of galloping, chunky death metal riffs and the occasional melodic lick serve as the primary focus, while the newly acquired rhythm section pulses and pummels, providing a solid grove to the sound. Rodrigues belts out his deep, bellowing growl, in the vein of early Sepultura, which compliments his primal, no frills riffing style. Where most of the music plows forward in much the same vein as early material, Rodrigues seems much more confident with his lead guitar work, as shown during tracks like “Road Warriors” where he lets loose some traditionally inspired soloing.
The growth from Evoking the Power of Chaos to Undead Warrior is immense. Rodrigues has really seemed to find his grove over the last few albums. The addition of a flesh and blood rhythm section gives the album a much more authentic sound; something that I hope to see the band employ from here forward. All of the Crushing Axes material is available on their homepage for free, simply because Rodrigues wants to share his music with anyone interested. Certainly an act that continues to improve with each successive release and one that I will continue to watch out for.