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Axegrinder - Rise of the Serpent Men [reissue] (Cover Artwork)

Axegrinder

Axegrinder: Rise of the Serpent Men [reissue]Rise of the Serpent Men [reissue] (2006)
Peaceville

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: feeeding5000feeeding5000
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It's become apparent to me that since Will stopped posting, I am the new resident crusty at Punknews.org. I have to say, it scares me a little to know that I'm the go-to guy for all the stench this site has to offer. Still, I figured I might as well fulfill my duties by taking on an Axegrinder revie.
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It's become apparent to me that since Will stopped posting, I am the new resident crusty at Punknews.org. I have to say, it scares me a little to know that I'm the go-to guy for all the stench this site has to offer. Still, I figured I might as well fulfill my duties by taking on an Axegrinder review.

To me, there are no greater words than "CD reissue with bonus tracks." Yes, the words "All you can eat," and "Hot new models every week" are pretty good too, but not nearly as exciting. "CD reissue with bonus tracks" lets you know that something you were too young (or like me, too unborn) to see the first time is back, and ready for your consumption.

Axegrinder was one of several late-`80s crust bands on Britain's Peaceville label, which was probably the single most essential record label in the creation of the modern crust sound. Of course, Peaceville later left their anarcho-punk roots, and became an ultra-shitty metal label (fucking Darkthrone!), but that's not important. What's important is that now, 20 years later, they have reissued Axegrinder's single LP, Rise of the Serpent Men, on CD. With bonus tracks.

The album begins with an instrumental track, "Never Ending Winter," which basically gives away the style of the rest of the album. It starts out with a quiet intro, then leads into Amebix-style, death metal-influenced crust. It's of the slow and rhythmic variety, rather than the fast D-beat style, which gives Axegrinder some differentiation from the other early crust bands (Deviated Instinct, ENT, etc.). The lyrics are typical of the genre, basically bitching and moaning about how the world's gonna end, and all of that bullshit. Meh. There's some use of electric piano on the album, mostly for mopey, gothic intros, which doesn't do much but break up the songs. There's also some acoustic guitar for basically the same purpose. I'd say that this makes the album "varied," but the core of the music is still, well, "the 'core."

The biggest problem with Serpent Men is that it's uneven. Some of the songs do have memorable guitar lines or the usual grandiose "the weak shall triumph" moments, but other songs are just long and boring, with riffs that should really be "groin meets cinderblock" heavy, rather than just "head meets shovel" heavy.

After the seven-track album comes the four-song demo from Wartech, a band that was essentially Axegrinder with a new bassist. Wartech is, in every way, an improvement over Axegrinder. The musicianship improves almost exponentially, and they're no longer limited to playing slowly. The vocals are cleaner, with less of the "Amebix phlegm" and fit much better with the music, which is more of a technical metal or proto-math rock type of deal. The songs do go on for seven or eight minutes, but they're so varied that it more than makes up for the length.

The album artwork and packaging is superb, beyond the other three Peaceville crust reissues. Unlike the Electro Hippies and Doom CDs, this one contains liner notes by Matt, Axegrinder's bassist, as well as full lyrics for the album. Once again, it's in a beautiful digipak case, and has the original artwork by some guy from Carcass.

So, it's not the best crust album ever, and it certainly isn't deserving of the, like, five different t-shirt designs on punkstuff.com, but it's still a good album, and a piece of punk and metal history.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
jordoom (June 19, 2011)

Axegrinder lyrics are awfull on some tracks. really cheesemo. and the amibix rip off is pretty blatant. you cant write songs like amibix there just unique. but wartech are pretty good, glad i bought the disc just for wartech.

Anonymous (December 11, 2006)

"I have a Wolfpack album...if that helps."

Yeah, Wolfbrigade called themselves Wolfpack until around 2001 or 2002, so their old stuff gives you a pretty good idea of how Wolfbrigade sounds. That being said, the album I just mentioned ("In Darkness...") has a lot more metally feel to it. Still, great music. It's good to see people into D-beat and crust on this website.

Anonymous (December 11, 2006)

I bitch because I bitch. I can only write 2 ways; really falling over myself to say how much I love the band, or calling them complete crap. In punknews reviews, there is no choice.

Anonymous (December 11, 2006)

Never heard of Efrafa...Requiem, I've heard maybe one song... And I gave the CD 4 stars because overall, the package is worth getting, and it's historically an important album. It's aged pretty well, it's just not up to the standard of more modern crust.
-feeeding5000

Anonymous (December 11, 2006)

xBraniax are a great power violence band.

Mute98 (December 11, 2006)

hey feeding500 what do you think about Requiem- Storm Heaven? ill admit im more into "neocrust" (i guess you can call it that i mean more melodic crust) but i think requiem will make my top 5

oh and Fall of Efrafa, ive been obsessed with them lately

gladimnotemo (December 10, 2006)

Review EXIT HIPPIES, not Electro Hippies!!!!

SlowStupidHungry (December 10, 2006)

Hey Ken, did Read A Goddamn Book play a show with xBraniax or did you just book them? I just remember seeign a RAGB tape in their demos cart and meaning to ask you but never getting around to it. This was late august. It would be crazy if two people on Punknews knew about, let alone played with, xBraniax.

-Will

Anonymous (December 10, 2006)

As much as I like your crust reviews, I'm a little confused. You gave it 4 out of 5 stars, yet bitched about it for most of the review.

-K

feeeding5000 (December 10, 2006)

I have a Wolfpack album...if that helps. Oh, and I'm only a "crusty" ironically; I just showered!

Anonymous (December 10, 2006)

urgh i hate people that self proclaim themselves punks or otherwise. This album is great, nice to see it on here.

Anonymous (December 9, 2006)

do a WolfBrigade review...In Darkness You Feel No Regrets was a fucking killer album.

feeeding5000 (December 9, 2006)

Hooray for me getting reviews published! I take it my Teh Revolt review is a little too...odd...to post. Anyway, I think I should review the Deviated Instinct CD reissue, and maybe the Electro Hippies one, just so I get the whole "Peaceville Reissue Series" up here.

Anonymous (December 9, 2006)

Excellent intro

Icapped2pac (December 9, 2006)

They're not real crust punks, they're actually trust-fund babies rebelling against the emptiness of the East Grand Rapids wealthy lifestyle their parents lead, but they do look and smell the part.

Anonymous (December 8, 2006)

"some guy from Carcass."

"some guy" and "Carcass" should never be in the same sentence. Other than that, good job, feeding. It's good to see crust on this website.

Anonymous (December 8, 2006)

Grand Rapids has crusties? Why did they never come down to Kalamazoo for shows? B y the way, I love it when crusties try to talk politics and every other word out their mouth is either "fascist" or "totally".

-Ken

Icapped2pac (December 8, 2006)

I hate when Grand Rapids crust punks show up at parties and start fights and break people's windows.

notfeelingcreative (December 8, 2006)

Great stuff.

Anonymous (December 8, 2006)

CD reissues suck. they suck even harder when they have bonus tracks. If the songs weren't good enough to make the album originally, then why should they be on their now? The bonus tracks are usually just crappy versions of songs already on the album. "All you can eat" is a pretty good slogan though.

Sick_Nick (December 8, 2006)

Keep reviewing the Crust feeding, your not the only crusty ehre at the org.

Anonymous (December 8, 2006)

Wow. Way to find a negative in the apparent retirement of WIll/BSD.

strangenotes (December 8, 2006)

"with riffs that should really be “groin meets cinderblock” heavy, rather than just “head meets shovel” heavy."

I don't even like Axegrinder that much, but the fact that this review is on the main page blew my mind. Great job.

Ianw (December 8, 2006)

Axegrinder is preatty brutal.

And how does a lable go from producing crust bands, to a band largly fronted by white supremisists (Darkthrone). Other then the sonic link.

Anonymous (December 8, 2006)

Darkthrone is shitty? You sir have no taste. Peaceville's put out some essential metal albums. Pentegram has releases on Peaceville. It's never been a shitty metal label so kindly fuck off with that shit.

SlowStupidHungry (December 8, 2006)

WHOA! I never have been or will be a crusty. Yeah, I am an avid DIY Punk/Hardcore fan, and that includes some crust (as well as an understanding of its origins), but I am also a fan of showers and tend to not build my political beliefs off of empty slogans. And no, I don't want to try anyone's fucking vegan brownies. Milk and cheese rule. Don't be slandering my good name, little man!

Other than that, GOOD REVIEW.

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