Axioma - Sepsis

Angry Metal Guy 70

For every full rotation around the sun this hunk of rock, ice, and ocean water completes, the fascination of the human race towards the macabre never seems to let up. Now, I’m not talking about the proliferation of cinematic horror stories that range from your standard fluff of teenage slasher flicks all the way to the movies that are banned in certain countries. No, I’m talking of the all-too-real stuff that people have a hard time discussing whenever they’re confronted about it and simply respond that they’ve “seen some shit.” If there was an album that can trap that feeling, then Sepsis, the second full-length by Cleveland’s Axioma, comes pretty damn close.

The one-sheet accompanying the promo described Sepsis as “dark metal,” a term usually thrown around with great ease by Century Media Records in the late 90s and early 2000s to describe practically all of their roster. However, Sepsis owns that adjective, because this shit is dark. The frantic fills and percussive abuse by Jon Vinson on, well, every song here punctuates the howling-from-the-abyss Eyehategod-like vocals of bassist Aaron Dallison, who seemingly channels his rage and disappointment in humanity from a neverending well. Guitarists J Meyers and Cyril Blandino toss in some incredible stop-start riffs and motifs on “Contortions of Passage” and “Septic,” flirting with Inter Arma and Converge on the former but ultimately leaving with Yashira and Tombs on the latter.

The biggest reason why Sepsis attains a high level of success lies in the oppressive, suffocating, and intangible vibe it manages to sustain throughout all seven tracks. From the opening salvo of “Blood Ruminations” all the way through to the violent trance-like pummeling of closer “A New Dark Age,” Axioma deftly weaves in-and-out of rhythms and riffs like a veteran prize fighter, stopping on a dime to pull an already downtrodden and defeated atmosphere further into the earth, making sure no light escapes its descent. Album standout “The Tower” highlights this effortlessly with sludgy riffs, bleak percussive fills, and a driving-yet-dire bass riff by Dallison that’s both primal and despotic.

That doesn’t mean that Sepsis lands all their hits, though. Penultimate track “Emptiness of Anguish,” while not a bad song in the slightest, doesn’t quite swing for the fences in the same way the other six tracks do. The bigger beef lies in the mix of Sepsis, which is squashed as all get-out. While the guitars, bass, and Dallison’s throat all rightfully shine in a brilliant black light, Vinson’s drumkit took a massive hit, especially in the bass drums and cymbal work, and that’s a gigantic shame, as Vinson’s an absolute fucking beast on this album.1

Still, in a day and age where humanity continues to fail with extraordinary aplomb, it’s always welcome to hear a band throw that bullshit back to where it came from, and Axioma does so with enough anger and vitriol to power a country for days. Sepsis casts an ugly reflection back at the ills of humanity and levels the fuck out of everything in its path while doing so. Not a bad album to purge your deepest pits of anger to, and definitely one that could end up on my year-end list down the line. For those who need the release, Sepsis awaits.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Translation Loss Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: June 24th, 2022

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Wed Jun 22 11:30:33 GMT 2022