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Neuraxis Trilateral Progression

Neuraxis - Trilateral Progression
01. Introspect
02. Clarity MP3
03. Thought Adjuster
04. Shatter The Wisdom
05. Monitoring The Mind
06. A Curative Struggle
07. Chamber of Guardians
08. Caricature
09. Axioms
10. The Apex
2005 Willowtip Records

Reviewed by: Michael Gluck   //   Published: 12/21/2005

How critics and fans could get away for years with boldly referring to In Flames as melodic death metal, especially when their disappointing last three albums, Reroute To Remain, Soundtrack To Your Escape, and newest grand failure Come Clarity have sounded more like singer Anders Friden's nu-pop side project Passenger than In Flames' original sound, not to mention containing nearly no death metal elements, continues to baffle me. This bewilderment has aggressively forged its way to the forefront of my ruminations about the metal scene's current state largely due to Montreal-based Neuraxis' newest and finest effort to date, their fourth full-length and Willowtip debut, Trilateral Progression, single-handedly taking the liberty of defining what melodic death metal truly is. From opener "Clarify," all the way to the almost-overwhelming grouping of melodic bursts "Axioms" and "The Apex" to close out the album, it becomes clear during even the most preliminary listening of Trilateral Progression that there is a certain magic here which cannot be denied or reduced to merely songwriting expertise.

The Montreal metal scene is easily the most tightly knit and simultaneously diverse amalgam of bands to ever exist, with possible exception of the early Florida death metal scene; a grand statement that would take pages and pages of justification to silence the musically uneducated non-believers, no doubt, but one whose place is secured atop this paragraph by the mention of the following bands, and subsequently by reflection upon their distinct natures and uniform instrumental proficiency: Gorguts, Cryptopsy, Torn Within, Neuraxis, Martyr, Augury, Horfixion, Necronomicon, Ion Dissonance, Despised Icon, Quo Vadis. From the Swedish metal scene to the German thrash scene, then back over the coast to the Boston and Florida hardcore and metalcore scenes, what has been seen over the same span of time as the aforementioned multiplicity of Montreal bands developed, is those scenes inbreeding and repeating themselves ad nauseum, with the formation of new bands only driving the potential for creativity and uniqueness farther into the ground.

What Neuraxis have accomplished on Trilateral Progression is raise the bar even higher for themselves and the Montreal metal scene (if even possible), honing their unorthodox writing style to bring a true sense of cohesion to the songs; a sense of structure that was slightly less audible on their previous two, yet equally stunning, full-lengths, A Passage Into Fornorn and Truth Beyond, both of which challenged while brutalizing the listener with fragmented rhythms and clever (although at times shameless, as in "Unite") melodies. The new material sees the band jumping headfirst into ripping double-bass and emotive guitar riffing, as exemplified on epic opener "Clarity," the multi-dimensional "Monitoring The Mind," and brief thrash number "Caricature."

The addition of new drummer Tommy McKinnon is a true boon for Neuraxis, and one that renders Trilateral Progression all the more dazzling, as his shadow snare hits, machine-like double bass starting and stopping, flavorful cymbal work, and perhaps most noteworthy, his ability to intricately transition without compromising speed, mark the dawn of a new era in Neuraxis where the drums, while having always been technically sound, are now professionally executed in every sense of the term. Their first real drummer who performed on A Passage Into Forlorn, the well-respected Etienne Gallo, is still quite active, touring locally and writing with Galy Records veterans Augury, and just recently, beginning to record with Negativa, the highly-anticipated reincarnation of Gorguts. Their second real drummer who performed on Truth Beyond, Alex Erian, is now one of the two frontmen of much-hyped deathcore soldiers, Despised Icon. Both of their complex percussive patterns have been learned perfectly by McKinnon, who pays perfect homage to Neuraxis' material which preceded him by pulling off the older songs, many which have become crowd favorites, with passion and ease. Trilateral Progression sees the band slowing down more infrequently than on previous albums, and thus the speed, whether by means of lengthy blasting over their rapid melodies or rolling double-bass breakdowns, is nearly unrelenting.

Thought Adjuster's opening riff boasts a foreboding melodic element, evoking latter-day Death; a comparison not entirely unfounded, considering guitarist Rob Milley is often known to perform the well-known opening riff of Death's Symbolic title track during soundchecks, as he did during the recent Montreal date where Neuraxis served as opener for Polish eradicators, Decapitated. Milley's other band, Torn Within, released a memorable album last year entitled Allied With Bitterness, which is all but an homage to latter-day Death. Whether Neuraxis achieves similar notoriety as Death did in their heyday is probably unlikely due to the sheer volume of bands being churned out of every suburb nationwide that serve to saturate the scene, but their imagination, both musically and lyrically on Ian Campbell's part, are easily up to par with Death's best; a compliment that will not be handed out again anytime soon.

Bottom Line: The Montreal metal scene has produced yet another instant classic, with Willowtip's second Canadian band, Neuraxis, instantly ending up as one of the best bands on their label. Had they stopped after Truth Beyond, they would have remained cult heroes forever much like Gorguts following their four under-the-radar full-length gems, but with Trilateral Progression, they take all they have learned from their provincial forefathers and American idols to craft a true melodic death concoction that is sure to spawn a legacy of imitators.

fvckyouyoufvckingfvck_   posted 1/26/2007 9:21:31 AM
great f*cking album. love this band. that's all.
anonymous   posted 1/10/2006 5:02:38 PM
wow, something that doesn't totally suck aids
matt_   posted 12/26/2005 4:10:00 PM
damn f*cking good cd.
marching_band_rules_   posted 12/25/2005 1:22:07 AM
that first sentence is way too long.
mojotfb_   posted 12/24/2005 3:21:29 AM
willowtip canada: goatsblood ion dissonance neuraxis electro quarterstaff

posted by joe () on 12/22/2005 1:40:47 PM

Good call.

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