Axis Powers

Marching Towards Destruction

Pulverized Records 2009

Old school Swedish death metal has always been a favorite of mine so when I hear a band attempt the style successfully it really hits home for me.  One such band that succeeds is Sweden's Axis Powers.  This albums reeks of old, underground death metal from the Stockholm school.  And I don't just mean early Entombed, I mean even more underground and primitive than that.  More like early Grave with hints of Nihilist and Dismember.  Brutal and eerie, War of Attrition begins the album on a gruesome note.  Speedy, muddy notes emit graveyard terror as the violent riffs and gravelly vocals crawl their way out of the rotten coffin.  The opening part of Brutal War is caught somewhere between the macabre melodies of Dismember's Override the Overture, Entombed's Chaos Breed, and Grave's Chirsti(ns)anity.  This whole album, as a matter of fact, is an amalgam of the standard formula of Swedish death.  Which to me is definitely a good thing.  The song continues to deepen its debt to graves meaty riffing style.  Up next is Outbreak of the Blitz, with thick and dirty rhythms that underpin a subtle and spine chilling melody before the song breaks down into a gory festival of rotten flesh.  Forward March is a celebration of speedy Autopsy as viewed through a Carnage tainted worldview.  The album's final onslaught is Artillery Pointing West which displays more of that characteristic sense of gruesome melody before unleashing a barrage of chunky Grave-isms.  Towards the track's 2:30 mark a bizarre guitar break and strange plucking are a prelude to a ghastly melody that draws the listener back towards their own burial vault.  Throughout the album the down-tuned guitars echo with a putrid morbidity that stinks of cemetery dirt.  The production is decidedly less polished than a lot of their contemporaries which is a step in the right direction as it is more conducive to the underground atmosphere that made this style so exciting.  After a close and continuous examination of Marching Towards Destruction I have concluded that Stockholm styled Swedish death is alive and well.  Or perhaps the opposite, unalive and morbid.  heh heh.