TRIAXIS – ZERO HOUR
TRIAXIS – ZERO HOUR
Since the release of their second cd, Rage and Retribution, through Rocksector Records in what now seems an age ago back in October, 2012, Triaxis have toured extensively taking in several dates in Europe as well as throughout the United Kingdom bringing their brand of Heavy Metal to the masses. Between the recording of the last album and this, there has been a small change in their line-up; Owen Crawford, (bass), left the band. And, after auditioning for a replacement they were able to announce that Becky Baldwin would be joining them, and my first viewing of this new line-up was at SOS Fest in 2014 at Radcliffe Civic Hall where they went down a storm. And, it is perhaps on the back of this and their willingness to tour so much, along with all the hard work the band put into their performances and musical creativity that they have been invited back again this year to headline on the Friday night.
Zero Hour has been crafted differently from the last album, and has moved on a stage from where Triaxis left off with Rage and Retribution, and guitarist CJ Wilson says “this is a natural progression from ‘Rage and Retribution’, certainly heavier and more complex in places, but with plenty of melody and a return to our roots. We can’t wait to play this stuff live.” In fact, those of us have been watching them over the past six months or so will know that they have been playing and refining two tracks from the album in their live set. On recording of the album, lead singer Krissie Kirby had this say, “we initially recorded the drums with Scott Atkins who really helped us form the basis for what could be considered our heaviest album yet. Self-recording all the guitars, bass and vocals, which Glyn took on the mammoth task of overseeing, has meant we have been able to have complete control over determining the way we want the album to sound. Having James Stephenson (Stymphalian Productions) on board to mix and master brings a further continuity to the album, particularly after the great work he did on our previous album”.
LIBERTY opens the album with a spine-tingling arrangement that builds up to a wailing crescendo from the guitar before launching into a hard-hitting rhythm and growling guitars topped with forceful vocals that make an immediate statement of intent. It’s fast-paced with that ability to make your feet try and keep up with Giles’ kick drum, and an instinctive nodding of the head to the tempo. There is plenty of melody at the bridge with great guitar interplay.
DEATH MACHINE is one of the tracks that Triaxis have been spoiling us with in their live sets; one for the headbangers amongst us. A galloping track containing a semblance of Iron Maiden and Blaze Bayley in and amongst, and Giles Wilson is in his element with some ferocious kit-bashing, whilst Glyn has certainly stepped up to the mark to prove his shredding ability. There are some beautiful vocal harmonies in the chorus that belie this animal of a track.
MINISTRY OF TRUTH opens with moody guitar, covered with rolling cymbals before forging itself into an angry explosion of thunderous vitality that races away only to be called to heel for the chorus and guitar accompaniment before setting off on its course of malevolent energy again. Becky Baldwin’s bass solo at the bridge sends shivers down your spine, before Krissie’s narrative introduces some blistering fretplay on the guitar during the solo. The guitar accompaniment to the vocals helps make this one of my favourite tracks on the album. Telling the story of somewhere that is presided over by a ‘Big Brother’ it brings to mind images once formed in my youth by Rush‘s 2112, but with the added influence of George Orwell’s 1984.
TERRAFORM is full of energy as Triaxis take you on their one-way trip to oblivion in this very heavy, yet melodic, tale of a journey into the stars. The backing vocals will carry you off as they catch you up in the atmosphere of the song, and the rhythm of the backline forms your heartbeat only to be whisked away by the pull of the grinding guitar. Prepare yourself for headbanger’s neck!
DYING SUN starts off with the lulling sound of running water, and then the caressing guitar harmony cuts gently through before opening up into a heavier construction of strong chords and a rocking drumbeat. A softer track than those previous but, it has a heavy melodic tone that encourages you to lay back, close your eyes and be carried away by the vocals as you ride along on the bassline. The combination of the subtle drumming and the steady rolling of the bass compliment the guitar harmonies and medleys superbly; add to that Krissie’s sorrowful and longing vocals and I defy you not to be carried back in time to a moment of regret or a parting of ways. This song is a triumph of musicianship and song writing with the ability to lose the listener in a whirlpool of lost embraces and broken dreams.
VICTORIOUS is the first taster from Zero Hour available to download for free. Somewhat anthemic, it has that ‘galloping’ sound with its thunderous drums and chugging bass. The guitars pick you up and while Glyn taunts you with his shredding, CJ smashes you with the rhythm leaving the listener in no doubt that they are a force to be reckoned with. An excellent choice as a first release!
STAND YOUR GROUND opens with a riff reminiscent of the days of NWOBHM, and the track continues in this vein. Outstanding vocal and guitar harmonies resound throughout, whilst the bassline cannot go unnoticed, either; sounding out the rhythm with ferocity to match. In my humble opinion, this track would stand its ground in and amongst the halcyon days of early 1980’s metal, (I know, I was there!).
QUEEN OF THE ICENI rages with heaviness as the historic tale of Boudicca unfolds and tells of her fight against the Legions of Rome. The fire of the guitars inflames you to war as the frenzy of the backline hint of the fury of battle. Krissie’s vocals are full of passion as she tells the story of the Warrior-Queen and we are avid listeners as we are stirred into life as if we were being called to war. This is a song that will captivate you, hold you in thrall and give a smile that will take a week to wipe off your face.
END OF TIME will have you in the mosh pit before the first verse kicks in! This is a kickass track with relentless pace from the drums and some fret-melting riff-work that is sure to make sparks fly. There is a mellow break wherein piano and vocals combine to sooth you momentarily before we are off on a journey to self-destruction following the path to Metal oblivion.
LEST WE FORGET is inspired by an ancestor of Krissie that gave the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War, and tells of the suffering and the sacrifice not only of those gone to fight, but of those that remain in hope of the return of their loved ones. It speaks of the wasted lives of the ordinary man, whilst those who move the chess pieces remain safe from the slaughter. And, of the healing of the land that still bears the scars of the folly of war, and its bathing in red of remembrance. All this is carried in a melodic, sorrowful ballad that opens with piano accompanied by acoustic guitar. An atmospheric track that rises and falls with sadness, defiance and such emotion that it is immensely difficult to avoid the shedding of a tear. It ends with the well-know fourth stanza of the poem ‘For The Fallen’ by Robert Bynion recited often in times of remembrance.
VOICES fires straight into it, no messing about, hitting it hard right from the get go. Perfect song for a good old fashioned mosh. It hits us hard and fast, grinding out a rhythm at breakneck speed with rapacious double kick-pedal drums, scything guitars and thundering bass; truly, Metal at its best!
ZERO HOUR is a true epic of a track! Running for nigh on eleven minutes we are taken on a journey of metal, melody, harmonies and subtle backing vocals during this tale of a Creator’s wrath with those who inhabit the world made for them. It tells of the fury felt at the ruination of beauty and the continual destruction of their surroundings and of the lives that exist around them. Despite all the warnings and portents, the Creator exercises wrath upon the world to cleanse it of the ungrateful infestation. All this and you can’t help but tap your foot and nod your head as we are lead down the trail to face the final reckoning. This is an amazingly well crafted track, and justifiably the title track of the album. It showcases their musical abilities, lyrical prowess, and their growth as a band, and a fitting way to end the album.
Triaxis have certainly made the grade with Zero Hour, passed with honours and risen through the echelons to stand proudly amongst their contemporaries. This has surpassed Rage and Retribution in its construction and production. Metal Hammer chose to stream this album on their website, and I believe that, rightly, more accolades will be heaped upon them before too long. When you consider that this composition was aided by crowd-funding, it makes you realise how loved this band are to be able to achieve what some more well-known artists could only hope to aspire to with backing from major labels. I thoroughly recommend Zero Hour as an album that you should have in your collection, preferably as a hard copy if only to feel the weight of all that Metal!
Giles Wilson – drums
Becky Baldwin – bass
CJ Wilson – guitar
Glyn Williams – guitar
Krissie Kirby – vocals
My rating: 9.5/10