Whereas the anatomical definition of ‘neuraxis’ is described as the axis of the central nervous system, so it can be said that Canada’s NEURAXIS is likewise at the epicenter of what it means to produce incalculably precise Technical Death Metal.
Progressing since 1997, NEURAXIS’ sixth full-length album, “Asylon,” is as strong a Tech Death release you’re bound to hear this year, and another worthy addition to the band’s steadily surging catalogue. While not as captivating as their previous album, 2008’s “The Thin Line Between,” nor as obliterating heavy as their earlier works, “Asylon” delivers in nearly every facet: pristine production value, vibrant riff creation, and a tireless energy that keeps the album uniform and floating on intertwining electrical currents.
Void are any notable lapses in musicianship or song structure, however, that’s not to say that the album is perfection incarnate. Semblance in sound, an unfortunate staple in the mechanical tinge of Technical Death Metal, is undeniable; vocalist Alex LeBlanc, while still a domineering force on the album and in Metal as a whole, rarely reaches beyond his usual roaring and intermittent screeching; and, as a fan of some of the slower, Doomier aspects of Death Metal, the tempo never drags to a bone-jarring crawl – it’s nearly always at a frenetic, jugular-tearing pace.
In spite of such trivial setbacks, “Asylon” is truly an awesome display of the heavy and the hard-wired. Some of the structural choices, in particular the fret dancing of guitarist Robin Milley, is simply frustrating to hear (never mind watch) as a musician, and most prominent is the momentousness factor of songs like “Asylum” and “Purity,” where melody and crunch are used in equally distinct measure.
Harboring a slew of incredible songs, it should be noted that one particular monstrosity, the stand-out, the freak of the album must be “Sinister.” From the furnace warm build-ups to the wooly mammoth breakdowns, this track is a force to reckon with and one of the most destructive conflagrations this reviewer has heard this year.
All in all, "Asylon" is sure to be one the best Death Metal albums of the year.
(Online March 10, 2011)