Black metal from Poland conjures up a vivid image of uncompromising throaty harshness. I happened to mention to someone the other day that I was reviewing this band’s album, and unwittingly earned a badge of respect for being willing to stand up to an old school onslaught. “Axiom” is Infernal War’s third album even though they seem to have been spreading chaos and destruction for hundreds of years. Not unexpectedly no concessions are made here.
The opening track “Coronation“ is grey and from a place you don’t want to be in, but this is the world of Infernal War. The “charm” is the fast and furious assault, the screeching guitars, the change of pace, the menace and the constant threat of chaos and death. It’s superbly controlled, and that’s what makes it such a good track. The next one’s title covers what we need to know. “Militant Hate Church”. It is of course another violent assault with the vocalist ramming awfulness down our miserable throats. Attacking drums and a menacing guitar riffs make sure all the spaces are filled, and there’s no room to breathe. There’s no deviation in style but the skill is in the intensity and irregular movements and developments. Movement here, I should add, is the occasional break and switch into something more violent and chaotic. The machine gun fire is constant and the wheels are permanently blazing and sparking. In a rare digression, “Into Dead Soil” stops and restarts with a monotonous passage which seemed to only serve the purpose of exacerbating the vocalist’s already sore throat. But normality is resumed as “Paradygmat” rampages round rooms, under floors, in the ceiling, in your head … it’s pure battering violence. So too “Parallel Darkness” rings out urgently like a metal bird. From here on there’s little variation other than the familiar twists of violence. Nothing changes much, but ultimately there’s no nonsense. “Camp 22” had all the usual qualities and maybe an anthemic feel, but the constant choral repetition of the track title commercialised it for me. This was an exception and the title track, which closes the album, made up for that by spreading out the chaos and violence and destruction, which this album is about. And to be fair it has plenty of that.
I knew what to expect and I got it. There’s something cleansing about all this unrelenting nihilistic assault. “Axiom” isn’t the most original album I’ve ever heard but it is delivered with plenty of passion and commitment.
(6.5/10 Andrew Doherty)