Axebreaker‘s newest full-length, Brutality in Stone, surges and pulses with noise-ridden ire that perfectly scores the current state of affairs.
Helmed by Baltimore musician Terence Hannum (Locrian, The Holy Circle, et al), Axebreaker‘s particular brand of power electronics is scathing, confrontational, and is only accentuated by its anti-fascist/anti-racist themes. Axebreaker pushes listeners’ faces into its white-hot flames until the skin has melted away from the skull. Listeners who dare to align themselves with the very ideologies Axebreaker vows to eradicate might as well throw in the towel early because it won’t end well for them.
Gusts of caustic noise open up the record on “Disorder (for Alan Berg)” and bleeds directly into the pummeling, ear-splitting “Ghost Skins”. The track thunders with oscillating drones and walls of hissing sound, which are accompanied by Hannum’s fierce, reverberated shrieks. A twisted sense of melody begins to appear as the song reaches its conclusion, providing a bright, yet buried contrast to the sonic hell above.
“New Nobility” revolves around a pulsating electronic rhythm, drenched in static, that sounds like a house beat disfigured by maniacal hands. This rhythm eventually gets lost in a cacophony of acidic, writhing noise and frantic vocal performances, all of which work together to effectively bury listeners in sound. The following track, “The End of History”, only ups the ante. A haunting, ghost-like motif recurs throughout the seven-minute track as layer upon layer of intense soundscapes takes hold. From industrial groans, to churning, drill-like shrieks, to colossal walls of static, “The End of History” sounds like the inner workings of a machine malfunctioning and crumbling.
What really makes Brutality in Stone excel is its accessibility. There is more than enough abrasive, anti-social instrumentation to draw in the seasoned noise music veterans, but there’s also an equal amount of diverse musicality to rope in the casual noise listener. This approach greatly distances Axebreaker from its contemporaries.
All-in-all, Axebreaker‘s Brutality in Stone is a dark and foreboding record that takes plenty of surprising turns. Listeners who enjoy being decimated by noise, take note. Listeners who own MAGA hats, good luck surviving.
Release Date: January 30, 2019
Label: Phage Tapes
Favorite Tracks: “Ghost Skins”, “New Nobility”, “The End of History” and “Murrah”
For Fans Of: Whitehouse, Many Blessings, Straight Panic and Bloodyminded