When you’re in one of the biggest bands in the world, you have to make sensible, smart decisions at all times. While it must be good to play to tens of thousands of people every night and be fed Cadbury’s Crème Eggs by scantily clad beauties, it must niggle when every decision you make is a matter of life and death and there’s the constant pressure to deliver to a fanbase that’s in the millions. This side-project that’s been created by Bullet For My Valentine leader Matt Tuck is about hocking a loogie at all that, cutting loose and having a beer and a laugh with your mates.
The mates in question on this debut album just happen to be Cancer Bats frontman and lunatic-in-chief Liam Cormier on vocals, Mike Kingswood of Glamour Of The Kill on shredding duty, former Rise To Remain bassist Joe Copcutt and Pitchshifter man Jason Bowld giving a typically stellar drumming performance.
The first thing that you’ll have heard about Axewound is that it’s a heavier affair than Matt’s day job, and it is. If you’re expecting grindcore or something that sounds like Watain, you’re a certifiable moron and you’re going to be enormously disappointed by Vultures, but it is undeniably a heavier, chuggier and beefier proposition than the last couple of Bullet outings. This is not just the Matt Tuck show, though, as Cormier absolutely slays on this album. His wide-eyed, maniacal delivery is perfect for something that’s rooted in fun and the shit-eating silliness he executes is brilliantly dumbass and perfectly metal.
Matt’s growls and Liam’s screams also combine delightfully on the high-octane Victims Of The System and the hulking Exochrist, a song about an inverse exorcism in which a demon is summoned and put into a subject rather than taken out. That’s pretty fucking metal, we’re sure you’ll agree. The pace on offer is often completely unrelenting and even when things become more mid-tempo and stomping, the fretwork sounds delightfully reminicent of Rust In Peace.
Much in the same way you’ll feel when listening to a Municipal Waste or M.O.D. album, you get a genuine sense of fun from listening to Axewound’s first excursion into the world. The sense that everyone in the studio recording these songs was having a whale of a time is something you can feel pumping through the music on the feel-good hit of this summer, Post Apocalyptic Party, or on the solos throughout the album, where Matt is clearly just shredding as fast as he can, purely for the lolz.
The album’s most endearing quality is that it never takes itself too seriously. I mean, they’re named after a slang term for minge for fuck’s sake. Chill out, it’s not Opeth. Axewound are highly unlikely to change anyone’s life but, then again, they were never designed to so. It will, however, sound awesome blasting out of the back of someone’s car as you sit on a local green and drink a crate of Stella to it. Don’t ask questions, just bang your head and enjoy some awesome, uplifting heavy bastard metal.