With Meshuggah coming up short on their latest outing, a new breed has come to capture the throne. Two of those bands, Stealing Axion and Monuments (More on them later), happen to be labelmates residing on Century Media. If you like your metal long and djent-like, Stealing Axion’s Moments is for you. The heavy parts are heavier than Meshuggah on their best day but the thing that sets Stealing Axion apart from their peers is the stand out clean vocals that act as a shining light through the darkness.

Oh yeah, and Moments is long. But well worth it. “Mirage of Hope” is subtle with lush melodies until a maelstrom of razor sharp riffing blasts off with the vocals switching between guttural growls, pained howls, and a great clean vocal style that immediately sets Stealing Axion apart from the rest. “Solar” is this downtrodden behemoth with masterfully syncopated guitar licks. “Everything Or Nothing” is just this epic build that degrades into chainsaw riffs and agonized cries. Again kudos to Dan Forbrich, John DeShazo, and Phil Willmarth who all share vocals (As well as play guitar, guitar, and bass repectively) and add a different element to Stealing Axion. Don’t think that drummer Blake Ferris gets to rest easy since he doesn’t join in on the mic. If anything, the kit pummeler has to work twice as hard on each and every song to keep the pieces that make up Moments from coming apart. “47 Days Later” is a prime example of Ferris raging on the percussive brutality while vocally, it’s as if a war is being waged for dominance. Think Jekyll & Hyde (Spoiler alert: The monster wins here).

Nothing solidifies the reps of these upstarts more than the two part 20+ minute closer “Moments Part 1” and “Moments Part 2”. At times Rush on speed, others taking prog-metal in a furious new direction, the songs are flipsides of one another. “Part 1” is all soundscapes and sugar to start until laying on the heavy  while “Part 2” is pure rage and headbanging-inspired aggression to start until gradually segueing into this comfortable beauty.

Moments is available on August 28th through InsideOut Music/Century Media Records.

Grade: A



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