I guess I owe NEURAXIS an apology. The first time I saw them live was in the summer of 2000, opening up for IN FLAMES. Now, considering the mood I was in before the show (my cousin was leaving that day to go back home and I hadn’t seen her 8 years prior. Plus I had bought my ticket before I knew when she was leaving, so she made me go) and the absolute shit I had to sit through before seeing the mighty Swedes, my memory of that night is really bad. Unfortunately for NEURAXIS, the little things wrong about their stage presence and singer’s stage antics were blown WAY out of proportion in my mind and I avidly hated them. For a couple of years, I thought of these guys as some sort of cancer on the Montreal and Quebec scenes.
What an imbecile I have been, I must say. I take back EVERYTHING I said about these guys and will now say this: This band is another quality band that Montreal has brought forth to the world.
Enough with my little story, time to talk about the CD. This is NEURAXIS’ first two releases that used to be distributed through the guitar player’s (Steven Henry) record label, Neoblast records), repackaged as a 2-for-1 deal through Galy Records and packaged with some bonus stuff. One of the neat things about this release is that you can tell the difference between the two eras, as “Imagery” was released in 1997 and “A Passage…” in 2001.
The first album is a more in the simple Brutal Death vein, although the band’s melodic sense is somewhat apparent and the direction that they will eventually take is hinted. The first part of this double-release portrays a young that is searching for its identity and it also hints to their eventual metamorphosis. There are a few curve balls here and there (classical guitar interlude in “Oscilliated To Intelligence”), but the music here is a lot ‘safer’ than what NEURAXIS would eventually start writing. Another thing that bothered me about the record were the vocals. They just seemed lifeless, taking away from the music. The first release in itself isn’t so bad, but it isn’t as good as their later stuff. However, for a debut record it shows PLENTY of potential and if you are a fan of NEURAXIS and don’t have this yet, you should get your hands on it.
The second album on this 2-for-1 release shows the band adding elements of brutality, melody and musicianship to create a stunning Death Metal release. You can tell the change immediately, once “Unite” starts playing. Not only is the production brighter and better done (guitars sound more clear, drums are more powerful), the style of music played is a more advanced version of the album’s first portion. Although the band got more brutal on this album, they also got more technical and most importantly, the music has gotten much more melodic this time around, which allows the band to play with dynamics, which makes this section of the release all the more memorable. A new drummer and a new vocalist also joined the band for this album and both aspects have improved as well.
The bonus stuff includes a track from the first Neoblast compilation album (“In Silence”), a live track from the album “Truth Beyond…” (“…Of Divinity”) and a couple of interviews: one in English, one in French.
This is a great way to get introduced to one of Canada’s best Death Metal bands. (Online May 21, 2004)