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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
Our score 9

by Michael Gluck

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.

Comments (41) post new comment
nick larusso_ 12/21/2005 7:23:32 PM


Kanye West_ 12/21/2005 7:35:04 PM

George Bush doesn't care about what "melodic death metal" is or isn't.

retch_ 12/21/2005 7:48:25 PM

f*cking awesome band/cd

Say10_ 12/21/2005 8:13:08 PM

If it wasn't for In Flames this band wouldn't exist

Bellusch_ 12/21/2005 9:29:43 PM

With such an extensive vocabulary to his merit, i'm surprised Mr. Gluck has yet to decipher the meaning of the word "brevity". However, i'm mildly impressed with such a superb display of eloquence.

killemo_ 12/21/2005 9:32:16 PM

how about not reviewing cds 2 months after they come out?

HB_Dad_ 12/21/2005 9:55:56 PM

The funny thing is I've been listening to these guys almost non-stop for the last week or so. I got this album back when it came out and last weekend found the rest of their stuff (released as one two disc set called "Truth Imagary Passage") and have been listening to two thirds of the aforementioned double CD like crazy as well. This band should FINALLY get some attention stateside as they are one of the most technical and mindblowing bands today!! Pick up BOTH of their releases on Willowtip (t

ugly old guy_ 12/21/2005 10:05:19 PM

great cd, shitty review

scenepoints_ 12/21/2005 10:16:51 PM

"If it wasn't for In Flames this band wouldn't exist" --- no if it wasnt for Death and Atheist this band wouldnt exist. In Flames is the retarded birthdefected child death metal would rather keep in the closet.

Strongarm_ 12/21/2005 10:59:22 PM

Um, In Flames, at one point, actually represented something experimental/intelligible and veered away from the typical Death metal gore/guts/massacre formula and subject matter. Retarted, I think not. More like the other way around.

bradley_ 12/21/2005 11:18:30 PM

good dudes good cd. BEACH PARTY

XOmeletX_ 12/21/2005 11:56:47 PM

I seriously don't understand what's great about this album. It sounds like a death metal album that would have come out around 1996. Reinventing the wheel does not a 9 warrent.

ghetto_paul_ 12/22/2005 12:08:31 AM

best album of 2005

david_ 12/22/2005 1:04:23 AM

I like this band/cd.. bought it a couple of months ago and I thought it was really good. I say buy it

xtroyx_ 12/22/2005 1:06:08 AM

finally! this band deserves so much respect. good review as well.

mojotfb_ 12/22/2005 2:06:52 AM

"...with Willowtip's first Canadian band, Neuraxis..." uhh...Ion Dissonance? did no one else catch that?

shaihulud2k1_ 12/22/2005 2:29:37 AM

this band is f*cking awesome. amazing album, awesome live show. well deserved rating.

yoshimitsusangels_ 12/22/2005 7:23:32 AM

I think these guys owe a little bit more to cryptopsy and mid era death than they do to in flames. either way, this is some pretty good shit.

some_dude_guy_man_ 12/22/2005 7:57:22 AM

to tell ya the truth ive never even heard of these guys

vegans_taste_good_ 12/22/2005 9:12:36 AM

good band, good review

burzum_ 12/22/2005 9:15:24 AM

"I seriously don't understand what's great about this album. It sounds like a death metal album that would have come out around 1996. Reinventing the wheel does not a 9 warrent." - If your holding out on people to reinvent the wheel, you must have a very sparse musical collection. I do however agree it's not necessarily a "9" in my book, but it is a great album.

burzum_ 12/22/2005 9:17:53 AM

"...with Willowtip's first Canadian band, Neuraxis..." uhh...Ion Dissonance? did no one else catch that?.......he said "second"

Prohibition_ 12/22/2005 12:12:08 PM

That's great that we get a background of Motreal's hardcore scene and whatever. This is a Montreal hardcore scene review. I see something like three separate references to the cd itself. Way to write a review of a cd without actually talking about it. That's all I'm upset about. I don't even f*cking listen to Neuraxis.

eadup_ 12/22/2005 12:25:26 PM

awesome album. one of my fav metal releases this year.

whitelambpowergoat_ 12/22/2005 12:47:11 PM

the first sentence made me start respecting gluck all over again.

joe_ 12/22/2005 1:40:47 PM

willowtip canada: goatsblood ion dissonance neuraxis electro quarterstaff

anonymous 12/22/2005 2:53:57 PM

nice. cd. yeah.

anonymous 12/22/2005 5:18:57 PM

"both of which challenged while brutalizing the listener" I love teh br00tal! I waNtZ diZ

bigego_ 12/22/2005 6:01:23 PM

"I seriously don't understand what's great about this album. It sounds like a death metal album that would have come out around 1996. Reinventing the wheel does not a 9 warrent."....not enough breakdowns?

phobophile_ 12/22/2005 10:41:22 PM

you've really outdone yourself with this one, mike. amazing album, fantastic review.

Konstrix_ 12/23/2005 12:44:44 AM

great band

mike_ 12/23/2005 11:50:04 AM

I have to admit, from the one mp3 this band has chops like a champ. For some reason though, I can't get into the vocals. I think for something with this epic of a review and the actual music itself being so sweet, that maybe the vocals would have been more. I think it would sound really good with some shrill and intense vocals. vokills, rather. eh, just my opinion and i'm a n00b so whatever.

john_doe_ 12/23/2005 12:26:55 PM

it's a good cd, but not nearly a 9.

Monte Connor_ 12/23/2005 12:58:19 PM

I think the webmaster put up an ad asking for new reviewers, so why don't you review something, polesmoker?

xCERVIXDESTROYERx_ 12/23/2005 3:01:38 PM

amazing band. amazing album. great review.

mojotfb_ 12/24/2005 3:20:57 AM

"...with Willowtip's first Canadian band, Neuraxis..." uhh...Ion Dissonance? did no one else catch that?.......he said "second" He changed it. posted by burzum () on 12/22/2005 9:17:53 AM

mojotfb_ 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.

marching_band_rules_ 12/25/2005 1:22:07 AM

that first sentence is way too long.

matt_ 12/26/2005 4:10:00 PM

damn f*cking good cd.

anonymous 1/10/2006 5:02:38 PM

wow, something that doesn't totally suck aids

fvckyouyoufvckingfvck_ 1/26/2007 9:21:31 AM

great f*cking album. love this band. that's all.