We’re fortunate enough, you and I, to live in a futuristic age of heavy metal expansion that has resulted in all kinds of genre blends. Some successful, some not, but when it comes to a band like Portland, Oregon’s semi-stonerly Axxicorn — who are genuinely less classifiable than 90 percent of the groups I’ve heard in the last 12 months — I definitely consider it a success. You can say for sure they like Sabbath, and you can look at them and know they were conscious of what was happening around them during the ’90s, but I think that’s about as far as I get in terms of nailing down a classification for their self-released War of the Giants debut.
The bass on the title-track is particularly Sabbathian, but the riffing as well on songs like “Hades” has some allegiance to doomly roots. By and large, though, Axxicorn ally themselves neither to modern classic doom — the easiest port in the storm of Sabbath-inspired fare — nor retro stylization. The production on War of the Giants is rough, but it doesn’t sound like they’re trying to pretend it’s 1973, whatever the Graveyard-y intro of closer “Typheous” might argue to the contrary. There’s also something sharp in the guitar that seems like any minute it’s going to start ripping into black metal, but it never does, instead keeping some thrash-derived edge that emerges later in the tracklist on “Revolt of the Titans/Wasteland,” which sounds tailor made for a cassette tape more than a Bandcamp stream.
A Bandcamp stream is what we have, however — at least until I get the boombox add-on for my office iMac (god damn it, I wish my real life was as awesome as my pretend life) — and it’s certainly enough to get a sense of what the trio are going for with War of the Giants. As I had the chance today to check out some new stuff from the band on the sly, I thought it was definitely worth having some mention of them on here before I came out with a smattering of hyperbolic language for the next album. You know, something to link back to later and at least be able to say you were warned beforehand.
Tags: Axxicorn, Oregon, Portland, Unsigned bands