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Stealing Axion - "Moments" (CD)

Stealing Axion - "Moments" CD cover image

"Moments" track listing:

1. Mirage of Hope (4:00)
2. Solar (6:53)
3. Everything or Nothing (6:08)
4. 47 Days Later (5:27)
5. Unwanted Gift (4:55)
6. Eventide (7:13)
7. Collapse (8:42)
8. It's Too Late Now (5:15)
9. Sleepless (5:27)
10. Moments Part 1 (9:45)
11. Moments Part 2 (13:11)

Reviewed by on September 12, 2012

"'Moments' ends up an album that will likely have many die-hard supporters, but just as many die-hard detractors, as it loses its own identity in the quest to be 'progressive metal.'"

Stealing Axion presents an interesting case study in just what exactly is meant by the term “progressive” with the band’s debut full-length “Moments.” Does combining different styles make a band progressive? Is it throwing in ‘70s rock vibes, or is it meshing clean and harsh repeatedly? Is djent the new prog? “Moments” ends up an album that will likely have many die-hard supporters, but just as many die-hard detractors, as it loses its own identity in the quest to be “progressive metal.”

This is an album that is amazing on a strictly musical and technical proficiency level, but overall is still a bit of an aimless mess. The style and atmosphere changes at the drop of a hat, and each song is massively different from any other. There’s power metal, death metal, a whole lot of Meshuggah worship, and yes, even some mallcore from time to time. Opener “Mirage of Hope” has a quasi-hardcore vibe, along with breakdowns and electronic elements. “Sleepless” starts out with a creepy mix of black and death, while “It’s Too Late Now” drops the metal and plunges into soft and clean territory.

In theory, all these colliding musical forces should be a fantastic idea, as bands like To-Mera, Leprous, and Haken pull off this sort of variety show with aplomb. While Stealing Axion does have parallels with those bands, unfortunately the end result here isn’t so much a progressive or avant-garde album, but rather a release that throws out as many genre twists as possible in an attempt to sound progressive or avant-garde. Some listeners are going to hear the ever-changing whirlwind of “Moments” and think “awesome melting pot of metal,” while others are going to come away feeling the music is far too uneven to leave a big impact.

There’s no question the songs are still interesting, as these musicians have plenty of skill and there’s a fairly non-stop, balls-to-the-wall level of technical guitar and drum work going on. The album is also incredibly polished on most fronts, from the production to the blistering riffs and dark chugging bass lines. With a stronger sense of cohesion and an unifying structure underneath all the chaos, this could be a world-shatteringly awesome album - and for some it probably will be anyway - but unfortunately, the patchwork and fractured nature of the disc just didn’t fully resonate with this reviewer.

Highs: Individual segments of tech-death or proggy metal have the heaviness and the melody that makes this style of music worth hearing.

Lows: The album as a whole is disjointed, fractured, uneven, and just generally lacking in structure.

Bottom line: A bit of a mixed bag, Stealing Axion's debut full-length is nearly equal parts amazing metal and uneven mess.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)