Neuraxis - _Asylon_
(Prosthetic Records, 2011)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (
With the exception of Decrepit Birth's _Polarity_ and a couple of above average records from a couple of completely not famous bands, 2010 was a dry year in terms of technical death metal. Names like Psycroptic and Decapitated were only seen on tour posters and the rumors kept circulating aimlessly about Necrophagist finally releasing their follow up to _Epitaph_ and they all said "this time, its serious" but nothing actually happened. But this year, things are starting to look up. Abysmal Dawn, Ulcerate and Ageless Oblivion (a less famous band but as crushing as the best of them) have already released albums this year, and we can only wait for the rest.Montreal's Neuraxis have joined 2011's tech-death assault with their sixth effort _Asylon_, and it features a new rhythm section in the form of Olivier Pinard on bass and Olivier Beaudoin on drums. Changing members has always been a problem in Neuraxis, but somehow the line-up changes don't affect the music as much as one would think. Producing such complicated slabs of metal requires more than a producer with enough caffeine in his blood to light a lamppost. The band members themselves need to be musicians with high levels of expertise, and that is the case with Neuraxis here. _Asylon_ is the first album that this particular group of musicians has put together, but each member obviously knows how he wants to sound.The punches keep on rolling as you absorb _Asylon_. "Resilience" is arguably the one and only stand-out track here, thanks to its darker atmosphere and more natural sounding drums. "By the Flesh", "Asylum" and "Left to Devour" are great examples of riffing intelligence and an avalanche of drumming fury, but with hardly any vocal variety, which come to think of it isn't a jaw-dropping surprise. The main appeal in Neuraxis' music from a compositional standpoint has always been the gear-train like tightness of their guitar and drums arrangements. Others tracks like "Trauma", "Sinister" and "Purity" do not really have an initial appeal and could have you dismissing them as fillers but they will grow on you the more you listen to them.This is of course a double edged trait about _Asylon_ and Neuraxis in general. Looking back on their 2005 effort _Trilateral Progression_ and 2008's _The Thin Line Between_, I remember that they didn't start shining until after a few laps. Neuraxis' machine-gun pace would impress a novice upon first listen, but it would take a lot more convincing to get through a trained ear. _Asylon_ has a few tricks in its arrangements and time signatures, and they won't jump at you in the form of a first impression. Like many records, this one requires some digestion time, but depending on your taste, the result may not turn out to be worth the wait because this record has the potential to divide the band's fans; a proverbial crossroads in every band's career.
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