Axis of Despair | ‘Contempt for Man’
Bland name, bland title, bland history.
According to the press release, “The band formed in late 2013 by former Coldworker members Joel Fornbrant (vocals), Oskar Pålsson (bass) and Anders Jakobson (drums).
The line-up was completed by guitarist Kristofer Jankarls…a few months later and the quartet focused on songwriting. The first recording took place in the spring of 2015 and the 12 tracks were released on the two 7 EP’s ‘Time and Again’ and ‘Mankind Crawls.’ ”
Now, I’m being unfair as virtually all side projects are formed by members with a desire to create a specific kind of record and that obviously doesn’t make for exciting press releases.
But that certainly can’t be levelled at the music, which is some of the finest grind you’ll hear this year.
‘Värdelös’ sets us up for a brutal time with it’s exhilarating speed, widescreen feel and twin vocals that range from determined to deranged. Certainly got my attention.
‘Demons and Angels’ carries on in similar fashion, until it slows down for extra groove and the implied violence is keenly felt.
‘Pawn Sacrifice’ is one minute and five seconds of pure grindcore. A joyous thing to behold. With the history of each band member, it’s no surprise that they can produce something of this ilk.
‘Crush the Empire’ expands on the epic crust feel, going for something between Extinction of Mankind and Napalm Death. Sounding suitably bombastic and apocalyptic, it captures the grandeur image conjured up by the title.
‘Contempt for Man’, like all the best grindcore, straddles a fine line between control and chaos, sounding like it’s about to fall apart at any second, but is held together by sheer brute force. It’s amazing how many times this occurs and, throwing in the other previously mentioned elements, it’s a sonic tour de force.
What stops the album getting 5/5 is the cover.
Although I like the image of both the angel and demon with no face and blood flowing as a river, on the whole it’s a rather dull, lifeless image replete with manys a cliché that can be found on numerous crust punk records from around the world.
A bit more imagination is needed for the next time, not only from an interest point, but because it does a genuine disservice to the music by greatly underselling it.
But disregard that and listen to this record. Bland it ain’t.
4 / 5 –Christopher Owens ::: 09/07/18