"Axis have now officially joined the ranks of cutting-edge metallic-hardcore bands in the grand tradition of Converge... Their sound is white-hot fire and seething vitriol and everything great about extreme music."
Metallic hardcore powerhouse Axis returns with sophomore album Shift, coming November 10th on Good Fight Music.
Hear first single "Fear and Impulse," here:
Before Shift, there was Axis' 2015 debut full-length, Show Your Greed, which compelled Stereogum to describe the band as rightful heirs to '90s heroes Botch, Turmoil, and Kiss It Goodbye. An all-out assault, Show Your Greed pummeled and bruised, and Axis took its show on the road with bands like Old Wounds and Homewrecker.
Rather than trying to top the tooth-gnashing of Show Your Greed, Axis then took a left-turn in 2016 and teamed up with adventurous Memphis trio Seraph/The Light to create a collaborative EP which saw the two bands merge into one unholy mega-church, pounding out a slower, crushing vibe inspired by Neurosis and Cult of Luna.
Upcoming new album Shift is the culmination of all this recent history, taking the bark and bite of Show Your Greed and boosting it with lessons learned from the Seraph/The Light experiment – namely, a thicker, more massive sound, and a masterful wielding of tension via the interplay of guitarists Dylan Downey and Patrick Chumley.
Shift also marks the departure of frontman Rafael Morales, and the transition of Axis from 5-piece to 4-piece, with guitarist Downey taking on vocals in addition to guitar. Drummer Thomas Cantwell and bassist Tyler Forsythe (also both members of Gouge Away, currently on tour with Touche Amore) have beefed up their attack into an all-powerful wallop.
Downey states: "The goal with Shift was to write a much more dynamic, compelling, and emotionally provocative album than Show Your Greed. Writing the collaborative record with Seraph/The Light last year played possibly the largest role in pushing our creative boundaries. We also drew influence from a much wider breadth of artists – a lot from the Hydrahead catalog – along with more unlikely influences like Shellac and Drive Like Jehu."
Axis' bellicose personality is in full effect on bangers like "Fear and Impulse" and "Ravine"; "Faith" adds haunting vocals; "Consume" batters with Albini-style weight and repetition; and "The Altruist" is an absolutely earth-shaking dirge. Aptly titled, Shift is a document of a band in transition – and creating astonishing art in the process.
Shift was recorded and mixed by Andy Nelson (Weekend Nachos, Harm's Way), with additional recording by Ethan Murphy (Blistered) at Back Forty Recording. The album was mastered by Brad Boatright (Nails, Full of Hell).
1) Shift I
2) Fear and Impulse
5) Parasitic Eye
10) The Altruist
11) Shift II
Dylan Downey - vocals, guitar
Patrick Chumley - guitar
Tyler Forsythe - bass
Thomas Cantwell - drums
Press for Axis' 2015 album Show Your Greed:
"If you think fondly of hateful Philly bands like Starkweather and Turmoil; if you were down with Converge and Coalesce back when they played mathy chugga-chugga-stop breakdowns; if you wish Botch, Burnt By The Sun, and Kiss It Goodbye had released more music: congratulations! You have the chutzpah to appreciate the good kind of metalcore... Axis pretty much stick to the established template for this kinda thing on Show Your Greed, but they are so goddamn good at it..."
"A hellish storm of gnashing teeth and balled-up fists... This is straight up pummelling you into the ground with every passing second."
"Packing plenty of punch for modern-day hardcore crowds, [Axis] definitely recalls the discordant '90s work of Turmoil, Deadguy, and Kiss It Goodbye. 'Discouraged' hits like a sledgehammer, with atonal, chunky riffage and bone-bashing grooves supporting full fierce tough guy howling."
Cover art by Katharine Leigh Lyons
Photo by Mike Moynihan