Boil

aXiom

Written by: AP on 21/03/2013 23:01:43

Boil can already claim three studio albums to their name, yet somehow the band have managed to remain a rather enigmatic presence in their native Denmark. Undoubtedly one of the reasons for their low profile is that live shows featuring Boil tend to be something of a rarity, only adding to the mystery in which they are shrouded. It is nonetheless no secret, the persons that comprise the quintet, and vocalist Jacob Løbner in particular should ring a bell, by virtue of his involvement with the slightly more prolific Malrun.

Indeed, with no discredit intended toward the remaining musicians in the band, Løbner's performance is at the forefront of thsi third opus "aXiom", his esoteric Maynard James Keenan, Serj Tankian and Ian Kenny influenced singing giving the band that extra nudge necessary to stand out in the Danish music industry. Contrary to its predecessor, which saw the renowned Tue Madsen handling production duties, the mixing and mastering of "aXiom" was masterminded by the Swedish Jen Bogren and Fascination Street Studios - and the difference is as striking as it is immediate. It is somewhat surprising that despite waving goodbye to Mads Vigeholm and his eight-string axe, the sound of "aXiom" is decidedly heavier than than 2010's "A New Decay", with the bass playing of Kristian Outinen and the guitarwork of Stig Nielsen and Kenneth Avnsted creating a fluid dynamic of soaring melody and thick low-end punch. Imagine a combination of Meshuggah's groove and Tool's adventurous leads, and you'll have a pretty solid understanding of the sort of soundscape Boil have assembled here, with songs like "At the Center of Rage" and "Sever the Tie" providing apt examples of it.

It is not all crushing prog-rock fury, however, as the lusciously anthemic "Moth to the Flame" aims to prove. It musters up a welcome breathing space following the monolithic nature of the opening trio (completed by opener "Sphere") and provides testimony to the fact that Løbner remains one of the most unique and personal vocalists in the country, alongside Siamese Fighting Fish's Mirza Radonjica. On that song, his singing soars through the roof to produce one of the most distinguished moments on "aXiom" altogether, whilst the remaining musicians (including the not-yet-mentioned Mikkel Ib on drums) showcase an uncanny knack for writing a solid, sticky tune. Speaking of which: the ballad is a notably precarious endeavor for any band, which makes it all the more gratifying to find that with the expertly composed "Darkest", Boil have managed to avoid the pitfall and spew out a brilliant sample of such; one that flows seamlessly into the initial delicate piano and recondite spoken word of "Equilibium" - another standout track which more or less encapsulates the prevalent tone and mood of "aXiom".

It is not always that the lead single also serves as the consummate highlight of an album - at least, not if you ask me - but "Vindication" does just that; the polyrhythmic drive, electronic infusions and clever juxtaposition of light and dark, pressing and explorative, merging into a futuristic progressive rock behemoth, the like of which Denmark has not previously witnessed. It's magnificent track which should perhaps have been left to conclude the album, as the following "Sunbound" and "Almost a Legend" (preceded by a short instrumental interlude in "Ashes") never manage to reach quite as high, the former delving into The Black Dahlia Murder-esque blackened metalcore that sounds a little malaligned in the greater context. The latter is much more rewarding, adopting the archetypical approach of ending things with a crescendo - the final minute-and-a-half in particular is quite stunning.

There is no question that what Boil have in "aXiom" is a strong album. Of course, as often is the case in this genre, the music within is marked by complexity, and the subject matter is heavy and sullen. As such, it is unlikely that Boil will manage to entice everyone, especially as "aXiom" has pressing need of a strong, instantly memorable single or two to ease the intellectual demands it imposes on the listener.

8

Download: At the Center of Rage, Moth to the Flame, Equilibrium, Vindication
For the fans of: A Perfect Circle, Meshuggah, Tool
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.02.2013
Vicisolum Produtions

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