"A heavy hit of raging hardcore."
"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."
Axis has revealed new single "Ravine," off sophomore album Shift.
Out November 10th on Good Fight Music, Shift sees Axis in a state of transformation: stripped down from a 5-piece band to a quartet, its metallic attack is broadening into something more dynamic and cathartic, thanks to new inspiration found in bands like Harkonen, Cult of Luna, and Shellac. Shift is an exciting progression from one of the most compelling of the young, heavy hardcore bands out today.
Before Shift, there was Axis' 2015 debut full-length, Show Your Greed, which inspired Stereogum to describe the band as rightful heirs to '90s heroes Botch 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, 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.
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).
Downey states: "The goal with Shift was to write a more dynamic, compelling, emotional album than our last one, 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 like Knut and Harkonen – a lot from that diverse Hydrahead catalog found their way into our psyche, along with more unlikely influences like Shellac and Drive Like Jehu.
"Since a year or so prior to Show Your Greed, Rafael Morales was our singer and frontman. On this record and from now on it is the remaining four of us. Having a demanding creative outlet while trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life often feels impossible. All of us have our own personal relationships, professional and creative goals outside of Axis, and after our European tour in February, Raf ultimately decided to step back and focus on the other important aspects of his life. He will forever be our brother. This is what the bulk of Shift is about; striving to maintain that balance of everything we hold dear."
Photo by Mike Moynihan