Triaxis – Rage And Retribution
Posted by metalashesofphoenix
RAGE & RETRIBUTION
Hailing from South Wales, TRIAXIS are a feisty 5-piece metal band that have been around since around 2006 in various guises and have now a settled and solid line-up. Giles Wilson is the rhythm keeper and frenetic sticks-wielder on drums, Owen Crawford is the lunging loon on bass, Clare (CJ) Hale gives us glamour on rhythm guitar, Glyn Williams shreds on lead guitar as if trying to find new ways to tear the flesh from his fingers, and Krissie Kirby has the voice of the Valkyries in full flight!
They already have one album under their belt; Key To The Kingdom (2009) has received plaudits from such as Metal Hammer, Terrorizer magazine and Zero Tolerance, plus had airplay from Bruce Dickinson, (when he was on 6music). Although it is a great album, the recording quality was slightly lacking, (in my opinion), and didn’t do it justice; especially with Krissie’s vocals. The band have also played at Bloodstock Open Air festival in 2009 and 2012, Hammerfest III (2011), and are again due back at Hammerfest V at its new home in Phwelli, North Wales, in 2013. But, this year, (2012), has seen a turning point in the fortunes of TRIAXIS. They have recorded their second album, Rage & Retribution, at Foel studios with producer Chris Fielding, (Primordial, Electric Wizard), with the final mix and master by James Stephenson of Stymphailian Productions. And, have signed with Rocksector Records for its release. The production of this album is absolutely outstanding and works magic with the fantastic tunes that are contained upon it.
Moving on to the album itself; the opening track, Sand and Silver, which originally had the working title of ‘Rather Fast’ is not new to TRIAXIS fans as they have been playing it live for a while whilst writing the album, and its title was voted for by the fans on their Facebook page. As you might gauge from its working title, this song is not the slowest you will have heard, but it does periodically take its foot off the gas for a breather. The double kick pedal of Giles’ drums along with Owen’s flickering fingers on bass lay down that solid backline while the twin guitars of CJ and Glyn create a gripping harmony before Glyn trips off on his own with some incandescent shredding in his solos, and all the while Krissie keeps us enraptured with her clear, crisp and powerful vocals.
Black Trinity opens with a Maiden-esque riff before leading into a story of deceit and retribution. Not only is this a track of fantastic musical construction, but its lyrics have the power to envelop the listener and give them the presence of mind to consider the words of the chorus; ‘You’ll reap what you sow; it’s only a matter of time’.
From the outset, The Infected sets your head to nodding with its infectious rhythm, whilst Krissie tells us the story of becoming something else; a being no longer human, taken by disease and turned into something without hope, nothing but a shell with a need to sate its continued craving and a future existence of emptiness. A happy tale indeed!
A gentle acoustic intro accompanied with an electric opening that speaks of pain leads us into Asunder. And, then we are joined with the vocals which carry on the theme with an emphasis of heartbreak. A story of fleeting passion and of realisation that seeds that once grew fervently have begun to wither and fade, and that the single path has reached a divergence. Glyn splits the story with a mournful solo before the final verses lead us to the song’s climactic finish. I love this song! It seems out of character for TRIAXIS to record something away from their ‘balls to the wall’ style of metal, but I find it shows their creativity, both musically and lyrically, and adds an hitherto unseen side to the band that gives it strength and shows us that there is more to metal than we might think.
And Shadows Creep opens with both Glyn and CJ firing the intro at us in unison before Owen and Giles add their rumbling backline to the song. This is one for the headbangers amongst us; instantly picking up that tempo and rhythm to get that head nodding. Double kick pedal drumming and the bass traversing the scales and giving that ‘galloping’ effect so epitomised by Steve Harris, and with both guitarists harmonising and alternatively firing licks at each other this is one of my favourites on the album. The vocals fit in seamlessly, although you might wonder if this track would be just as good as an instrumental. Krissie puts in an almighty performance and proves just what a fantastic voice she has; utilising her range to perfection and incorporating CJ on backing vocals to great effect. There is plenty of harmonised guitar-work in this tune to satisfy the classic rocker in us, but also some great soloing that shows off Glyn’s talents as lead axeman.
Talking about instrumentals; XGP appears and, what a beauty it is! It showcases the individual talents of all the musicians in this band. It is an exemplar of what they have achieved through their hard work to reach the high standard to which they strive. Giles and Owen mesh like fine gears and flawlessly lay down the thunder that is the backbone of any metal track, while Glyn and CJ work their way up and down the necks of their guitars, harmonising and sparring with each other, trading licks throughout. A fun, yet uncompromising piece that is most enjoyable.
Under Blood Red Skies was released as a free mp3 album taster around the middle of August, and is a damn good choice! Opening with a nice relatively fast tempo before Krissie informs us like a prophet of doom that she “will become your biggest fear; your worst nightmare incarnate”; the way she sings it, I can well believe her! And, the guitars back her up in this by way of forcing their mayhem upon us, with the drumming being particularly dominant in support. Revenge is the keyword to this song, and God help those who get on the wrong side of Krissie if the way she sings it with such gusto has anything to do with it! You can palpably feel the passion and anger contained within.
The next trackis another song they’ve been playing live for a little while, refining it ready for the album. Sker Point is an actual headland between Port Talbot and Porthcawl on the South Wales coast and was the scene of a shipwreck in 1947 with the loss of all lives aboard and those of the volunteers of the Mumbles lifeboat. That’s the trivia bit done, and as to whether the track is based on or around this fact is not for me to say, but it certainly sounds as though some inspiration has been taken from it. The rage of the sea is made profound by the gritty guitar work and rumbling bassline, and the loss of souls made poignant by the power and caress of the vocals. Despite its gloomy tale, this is a work of metal artistry, a song I look forward to hearing in their live set.
Reunion starts as it means to go on; at an incessant pace with frenetic backline and stabbing guitar-work. The vocals rise and fall with inflection as the tone of this tune darkens and returns back to the light. There is also some very fine bass playing from Owen in support of Glyn’s soloing.
The Butcher starts off with a fine example of metal guitar; firstly Glyn before he’s joined in harmony by CJ – they really compliment each other’s individual style. And then we are into the song. Concentrate on the lyrics and you are in no doubt of the subject matter; it could be straight out of a horror movie – an escape from the slasher-type film. All the while they keep the tempo of the tune at full speed, and there are some eerie backing vocals to add to the effect. This is a full-on metal song that will really get you off your backside and into the pit!
The final track of the album is an epic! Starting off by lulling us into a false sense of security with an acoustic intro, you will soon be slapped around the face for thinking that this is going to be a ‘lighter-in-the-air’ type of tune. It is a masterpiece of lyrical and musical ability, continuing apace with the rest of the album, but with a hint of a Scandinavian sound in places – especially in the chorus where it sounds like the whole band are on backing vocals to Krissie. Some Things Are Worth Dying For tells us of the murder, rape and pillage by soldiers from across the sea and the resulting pursuit by those who survived. Leading on to a final battle, the small band are out-numbered but not afraid of what their destiny holds for them – probable death – and they make their final stand in the belief that their cause is just. The chorus is poignant and speaks of infinite courage;
“Never give in,
Never give up,
I’ll die by my own hand,
Taking a chance,
I’ll sacrifice the things I am living for”. The song ends as it started; with acoustic guitar, and Krissie adding a mournful finale to what is, in my opinion, their best song to date.
TRIAXIS are a band that has improved immeasurably in the short time that I have known of them. Their writing has matured along with their performance on this second album, and this is helped by the professional way in which they approach their craft. Their live shows reflect the passion they all share for the music they create; you only have to watch them onstage to see what it means to them. They have that fire inside, that enthusiasm, the seed of something that is growing with an unstoppable force. I do not doubt that TRIAXIS will be around for a good while; they have too much to offer to this world of manufactured mediocrity that is supposed to be music. Buy this cd. Buy their first album as well. Then go see them live. You will not be disappointed!
Rage and Retribution is released on Monday, 8th October through Rocksector Records.
See TRIAXIS on tour:
Thurs. 11th Grand Central, Manchester
Fri. 12th The Gathering, Sutton Bridge
Thurs. 18th Bogiez, Cardiff
Fri. 26th Scruffy Murphy’s, Birmingham
Fri. 2nd Trillians, Newcastle*
Sat. 3rd Yardbirds, Grimsby*
Fri. 9th The Underworld, Camden*
Sun. 11th Talking Heads, Southampton*
(* guests of Absolva)