Axegrinder – “Satori” (Rise Above Records)
Fomented by Thatcherism during the mid 80s, Axegrinder were an agit British crust punk band whose legacy has remained intact largely due to their 1989 debut “The Rise Of The Serpent Men”. Inspired by the likes of Amebix and Conflict, the dirty hate filled sound matches the angst and furore inherent in the socio political lyrics and vocal expression as you might expect, directed at authority, capitalism and inequality. Now, some 29 years on and fuelled by the current state of world affairs, original vocalist Trev and guitarist Steve have resurfaced to issue this 9 track sophomore which pretty much continues where they left off. Clearly benefiting from modern sound “Satori” is better produced than its predecessor, but in anticipation, Steve has dirtied the guitars and bass even more while Trev sounds even more disillusioned and pissed off than he ever was ha ha! Saying that, the material is less speedy with less metal but certainly more aggressive in its darkness and all consuming hatred as the band show their wider 80s influences like Killing Joke. Likewise, the compositions show a maturity with definite thought, reflected in longer songs, some of which hit the 6 and 7 minute mark. From the sour ‘Halo (Snakes For The Breeding’ with its grind crushing guitars and embittered vocals of Trev screaming ‘…I know wot you are!! I know wot you are!!..’, you can feel the riotous insurrection of the social underclasses aflame before the massive distorted bass comes scything in as viciously as a copper’s truncheon at the Battle of the Beanfield. Brill. Even more vicious is ‘The Hurting’ with that nasty bass twanging evilly in the fore and a definite 80s malevolence with the guitars wailing like police sirens as Trev lays in, his angst obvious in his bitter sadness about ‘..dead children on blood stained bank notes…’. Closing with ‘Too Far From Home’, probably the nearest Axegrinder will ever come to a ballad, it’s an alternating sea of ambience contrasted by massive dirty riffage andTrev matching the mood through impassioned vocals and in some cases, actually singing. All in all an excellent return to form and hopefully some live shows are on the way especially if I remember the intensity of those past ones!