Canada possibly has the most underrated Metal scene. Although many people will have heard of CRYPTOPSY and KATAKLYSM, many other fantastic bands such as MARTYR remain mainly unnoticed. We'll now see whether AXIS OF ADVANCE is one of those fantastic bands that have remained unnoticed. Osmose Productions did notice them, and they release the newest recording called "The List".
AXIS of ADVANCE fuses several Metal styles into a sound of their own. The basis for this is Death Metal, but the Black Metal element in the music does not only come from the high-pitched shrieks. Also the drums, and the rather grim sound contribute to this. But there are also heavy doses of Thrash Metal woven through the songs, like can be heard on "The Torture" for instance. Like I said before, the production is pretty raw. At first it made the album sound extremely messy, and it took me quite a few listens to appreciate this album at least a bit.
Another issue for me is that the drums at some times sound as if they are not entirely synchronic with the rhythm of the guitars. Don't get me wrong, the guest drumming of J. Read of REVENGE and CONQUEROR (who in fact is a permanent member, but since his other bands take most of his time he's considered technically as a session member) is far from bad, he's actually an excellent drummer! But the production sometimes makes the whole sound very chaotic and hard to follow. Like I said before, this is something you will get used to after a few listens, and then it's obvious that AXIS OF ADVANCE has a very brutal, raging musical style that is very interesting to listen to! "Annihilation", "Massacrion" and "Supremincer" are some of the best tracks, with fantastic riffs in the songs, but again, the chaotic starts of songs are not always as convincing. But when the rest of the song is worth it, there is no reason to turn down an album, and I won't in this case!
Although the first appearance might be a bit messy, the good aspects shine through on many occasions. I do fear that most people will turn the CD down as they only listen briefly when going to a store. In that sense "The List" is an album that needs some time invested in it before it allows to excel. It's a shame, because this album proves that AXIS OF ADVANCE is another fine Canadian band. (Online February 3, 2003)