For Fans Of
Djent. Oh, boy. Here comes the bitter debate. For purposes of clarification, the phrase is onomatopoeic and refers to the sound made by palm muting the lower strings on a seven or eight string guitar – think Meshuggah. You might say both the term and the genre have been subject to critical division, to say the least.
Catching wind of this band while absentmindedly surfing the internet, one gathers, Stealing Axion as a progressive metal band (labelled djent, of course) from America’s Pacific Northwest. They’ve been around a couple of years, and this album marks their debut major label release.
The ablum’s opening track, ‘Mirage of Hope’ is a bit of surprise. The sound sits somewhere in between Meshuggah without the dissonance and Periphery … dare we say, with elements of metalcore in there. While it doesn’t immediately hook, it’s certainly an interesting way to grab an audience. It’s accessible without fan-pandering. It’s probably not going to get a lot of love from the elitists, but to a casual listener it’s got enough going to maintain the listener’s interest without alienating much audience.
Of course, as a progressive band, it follows the predictable patterns of longer songs, which may be a point of contention for some. However, the band have tasteful atmospheric parts and melodic sequences that make it an easy listen.
The later parts of the album are probably where the release shines most. Track seven, ‘Collapse’ is a joy to listen to, with a good balance of heavy riffwork and melody. The title track (parts one and two) while clocking in at just over twenty minutes still manages to show off the bands strengths – but it does, in turn, bring attention to their weaknesses.
Where the record suffers, is that it simply offers nothing new. Yes, this is done well, but it’s something that has been done before, and frankly, done to death in recent years, to the chagrin of some and the delight of others.
‘Moments’ is an enjoyable, well-rounded listen, discarding all genre debates. Where it falls short however, is the degree of difference from their peers. Because, if you’re heard Periphery, this will feel like Deja Vu. It’s good, but it doesn’t really bring anything new to the plate. With the state of heavy music as it is right now, it’s probably a bit much to expect something groundbreaking to separate every new release, but it just feels a little bit old hat. This is an album that’s worth having in your collection, but it’s not one that’s going to strike you as anything remarkable. Worth a listen if you’ve got time, not going to change your life.
1. Mirage of Hope
3. Everything or Nothing
4. 47 Days Later
5. The Unwanted Gift
8. It’s Too Late Now
10. Moments Part 1
11. Moments Part 2