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Music Review: Columbia's Axattack excels at thrash metal — but doesn't advance it — on new EP

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Axattack Feasting on Violence.jpg

Axattack, Feasting On Violence (self-released)

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Sometimes rules need to be broken. Just because something has always been done one way doesn’t mean you can’t mess with the formula a bit. 

Thrash metal is brutal, relentless music that sounds “evil,” for lack of a better word. So, for as long as the music has been around, it seems like the lyrics have always had to at least attempt to be as brutal and relentless as the music. The thing is, that gets old after a while.

On Axattack’s new EP, Feasting on Violence, the instrumentals are firing on all cylinders throughout. The trio, singer/guitarist Alec Edelson, bassist Anthony Oliver and drummer Chris Crass, are an absolutely lethal unit on the four songs, playing with power, precision, volume and velocity. There are moments on these songs when the band sounds like prime mid-to-late-‘80s Megadeth, bristling with anger, skill and attitude.

Fans of pure, throwback thrash metal will love this stuff, and there’s a certain joy in simply letting the music pummel you into submission. And most of the time, Edelson’s demonic growl makes the lyrics hard to make out. The words simply become part of the texture of the songs.

That actually might be a good thing, as there are a lot of tried lyrics on the EP. Passages like “Visions of viscera, carnage that soon will be mine / Succumb to savagery, gorging myself on my pain,” on the title track, or “Violence is the answer to the violence that they preach / Make them eat their words and eat their teeth,” on “Suffer No Evil,” sound a little too familiar in terms of thrash subject matter, no matter how deliciously wicked Edelson sounds when he delivers them.

Phillip Cope at the Jam Room recording studio keeps things tight and polished without losing the spark. Overall, the experience of listening to the EP front to back is downright intoxicating.

[Online copy corrected.]

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