Axeslaughter comes from Finland and performs old-fashioned death metal. They've made a few demo-tapes and splits with Sunface and Necrolepsy, but this EP is their first own 7"-record. It was about time.
I was familiar with the four songs from before (all were featured as demo- or live-recordings on the Rampage Debauchery-tape) which bothered me a bit at first, but after giving the 7" its first spin I could only say that DAMN these songs sound good now! They range from mid-tempo heaviness to positively clumsy grind-chaos, and are all-around rather simple - but that's exactly their charm. Although the band has pretty much reached their own sound and style by now, they're not hiding their roots that dig deep into the soil of early '90s death metal, '80s thrash and speed metal (the latter shows through some really neat solos), and "Apocalyptic Government" shows some clear punk-influences as well. It's all been melted into a traditional but still unique blend of boneheaded olschool action.
The EP's soundscape is rough but well-balanced; the both steady and hectic drums are loud but "soft" enough not to dominate the soundscape, the bass pounds as a strong pulse, and the guitar sounds pleasantly raw but the riffs are still easy to make out. The harsh and shouted growls are perhaps a bit loud in the mix, but they have such attitude and wrath in their delivery that it doesn't matter. A bonus point is given for enhancing the brief speed metal-styled guitar riffs that are just pure ear candy.
If you like black & white-drawings of zombies, you'll like the visual side of this EP. The lyrics are printed in the sleeve, and revolve around the topics of horror, the undead forces and apocalyptic visions. The lyrics aren't anything special, but they fit the music; they're simple, honest, and they work. The old saying "why fix it if it ain't broken?" comes to my mind.
I've been a fan of Axeslaughter for quite a while now so I knew what to expect from this record, but it still managed to surprise me with its high quality. As I've said before, Axeslaughter seems to get better with every new release, so I'm absolutely looking forward to their next offering.