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MAKE - "Axis" (CD/EP)

MAKE - "Axis" CD/EP cover image

"Axis" track listing:

1. Axis (17:01)
2. Chimera (6:35)
3. The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (6:46)

Reviewed by on December 31, 2012

"The three songs explore much ground in the 30 minutes they take up, though be prepared for lengthy bouts where it seems like the band is waiting for the major turning point."

MAKE’s debut album “Trephine” held great appeal for me when I gave my thoughts on it back in March. Their sludge sound was elevated by periods of drone and ambient sections, though usually regaled to restrained interludes. The new EP, “Axis,” takes these sections and makes them a prime focus that feels like a gradual next move from “Trephine.” The three songs explore much ground in the 30 minutes they take up, though be prepared for lengthy bouts where it seems like the band is waiting for the major turning point.

The title track takes up over half of the EP by itself, and will be the most daunting piece of music to endure through. No vocals are utilized, leaving it up to the three members to give weight to their drone environment. It’s a song with nowhere to go anytime fast, taking almost 10 minutes to get to the heavy tones. It’s very appropriate how the band builds from the lone guitar to the bass guitar and cymbals, before the whole band comes as one to lead the last few minutes in noisy harmony. The transition from light ambience to vengeful dissonance is done with a steady hand, though a few minutes trimmed from the early portion could have resonated better.

The other two tracks are more in line with what the band had with “Trephine.” Their idea of sludge metal includes periods of clean melodies and a stomping pace. Vocals are hoarse shouts and raspy yells, though they are only directly prominent on “Chimera.” MAKE has really gone ahead with the instrumental vibe that came from a few tracks on “Trephine,” letting the music speak for the members rather than words alone. “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” has the eerie appeal of songs like “Surrounded By Silent Lies,” and a tranquil piano outro saves the meandering nature of the song’s first half.

An EP like “Axis” coming so soon after a studio album speaks to the immense quantity of material MAKE has on them. This EP explores more of the drone and ambience that was scattered throughout “Trephine,” and the band seems well-suited for engaging in this style of music. It isn’t as abrasive and outright as most of “Trephine” was, which shows both a level of maturity and a steep curve to get into it. The move from their debut to this EP seems gradual, though not as enlightening as their past album made them come off as.

Highs: Further explores drone/ambient territory, feels like a natural progression from "Trephine"

Lows: Lack of vocals, title track could have been cut down a few minutes

Bottom line: MAKE's new EP follows up "Trephine" with further exploration of the drone/ambient sounds hinted at on their debut album.

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)