Aksumite - Vinegar Perimeter (Cover Artwork)


Vinegar Perimeter (2018)

Colloquial sound recordings

Michigan winters are harsh. The cold is relentless and unforgiving, it cuts you to the bone and then cuts even deeper. Sunlight is a rarity for five long merciless months, and this ever-evading darkness plagues most of the state’s citizens with a depression that weighs heavy. There are others though, that thrive in these cold, dark, and savage months. Creating art that reflects the desperation and hopelessness of those around them. Giving a voice to those who can’t muster the energy to do so themselves. This is the world in which Aksumite resides and thrives in. Aksumite’s fifth, and most recent full-length, Vinegar Perimeter is the closest sonic representation of despair and anger that the band has ever committed to tape. It is a raw, jagged journey through a bleak frozen Michigan wilderness, where nothing survives unscathed.

Though Vinegar Perimeter is Aksumite’s fifth full-length record, it’s their fourteenth release since their inception in 2011. A very impressive body of work for a band that has only been together half the amount of years as they have releases. Formed by A Pregnant Light mastermind, Damian Master, and multi-instrumentalist Tim Lenger, Aksumite wear their influences proudly on their sleeves; the rawness of the Norwegian black metal scene of the early 1990’s; the youth crew hardcore attack of New York from the mid to late 1980’s; and the early U.K. D-beat scene are the bands prime inspirations. Combining all of these influences and then funneling it through their own Midwestern punk rock approach, Aksumite have created new genre of extreme music which they’ve dubbed, BLOODCULTMETALPUNK. Even if you knew nothing about the musical styles I listed above, but merely read the name BLOODCULTMETALPUNK, you would understand how accurately it describes their music.

Vinegar Perimeter was recorded live to two tracks in front man Damian Master’s basement, keeping true to the old black metal credo of the importance of rawness. The album opens with a scream from Master and distorted cymbal crashes from Lenger, leading into the track “Castration Trophy.” “There is no reasoning/There is no kind of resolve/There is no heart still beating,” these are the intensely fierce first lines of “Castration Trophy”, and Vinegar Perimeter only gets darker and heavier from there. Master’s vocals are buried beneath a wall of distorted guitars and blown out drums, making him sound like he’s screaming inside a steel coffin at the bottom of a blackened pit. The instrumentation is basic, but undeniably crushing as guitar, bass, and drums drive in distorted unison to the edge of destruction. The third track on Vinegar Perimeter, “Spit at the Sun” is Norwegian black metal personified in a one-and-a-half-minute hardcore assault. The lyrics are grim, and the music follows suit, painting an image of a man who has given up on a world that was once good, and now wants its complete and utter destruction. The album’s middle three tracks, “Poison Arrow Straight and Narrow”, “Electrical Tape Scream”, and “Scabbed Knee” are open handed hardcore attacks that break up the biting cold black metal tracks that bookend them. The album closes with the four minute atmospherically heavy and rhythmically plodding track “A Red Thing Happened to Me Today”. A perfect capstone to an album chock full of nail biting ferocity and chilling cold bleakness.

Aksumite may not be forging any new paths with their fast-dark music, but they are unapologetically shining a much-needed light upon the genres they inhabit. Vinegar Perimeter trims the fat off the elven minute black metal jams that you love and gets them down to their essentials, a cue the band has taken from the hardcore and d-beat bands they grew up loving; it’s not so much, “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” as it is “don’t fuck around, get to the breakdown.” With fourteen releases under their belt Aksumite continues to release stronger and more exciting material. If Vinegar Perimeter is any indication as to where the members plan to take, their future Michigan winters may look brighter than their blackened souls could ever hope for.