DIY tape label Colloquial Sound Recordings has had a pretty flawless track record so far, putting out a number of highly original black metal inspired releases in the relatively short period of time since its conception. Aksumite, the label’s flagship band, is comprised of two other CSR artists (from the equally great A Pregnant Light and Obliti Devoravit respectfully) and managed to bring both punk and black metal fans alike to their knees with their debut tape last year, ‘The Gleam Of Wetted Lips’. After a couple of short demos, anticipation was running pretty high in certain circles for the band’s second full-length, and let it be known now that ‘Prideless Lions’ delivers in spades.
Unlike many of the black-metal-meets-punk-rock albums currently doing the rounds, ‘Prideless Lions’ is a very diverse listen, from the galloping Venom-on-steroids of ‘Via India’ to the anxious stop-start riffing of ‘Brazen Ape’, Aksumite manage to cover a lot of ground and prove they’re not just one-trick ponies pounding out the same recycled Hellhammer riffs ad infinitum. The song structures here are pretty interesting (especially considering they’re all mostly under the 2 minute mark), keeping you on your toes with a number of captivating ideas, unexpected revelations and, of course, some of the most raucous riffs in the business. ‘Priory of Aksum’, for example, begins as a psychotic ‘A Blaze In The Northern Sky’ style rampage before giving way to a riff that sounds like a glimpse into an alternate universe where Celtic Frost formed in Washington DC circa ’81, whilst fist pumping closer ‘The Gilded Goat’ brings to mind Aura Noir jamming with Discharge on a wind-swept mountain. ‘Ezan’s Right Hand’ melds menacing old school doom with break-neck thrash, and includes a lengthy, cryptic outro complete with distant banshee wails and haunting tremolo riffs.
Just like all the other Colloquial Sound Recordings releases, the production has that fantastic practice room vibe. Everything is clearly audible, but swathed in a warm organic fuzz that gives the album a raw, live atmosphere. This is even further enhanced by the ever-present yet extremely comforting tape hiss, and in all honesty, cassette appears to be the perfect medium for CSR’s releases, as black metal especially seems to benefit enormously from the intimate idiosyncrasies of tape. The guitar tone here is fantastic, bringing to mind 80’s hardcore punk more than it does the harsh, trebly qualities of a lot of black metal, which makes the more BM inspired sections sound particularly fresh and energetic.
‘Prideless Lions’ sounds tighter and more focused than the
band’s previous efforts, with the vocals especially sounding more confident and
passionate than ever before. Whilst evidently taking a large ammount of
inspiration from the past, the band still sound like a breath of fresh air, and
have more in common with Venom’s debauched sense of fun than they do the elitist
posturing of much of the lesser acts that followed in the wake of black metal’s
second wave. Aksumite have seemingly achieved the impossible; a
perfect blend of punk rock and black metal without sacrificing the integrity of
either of those genres. If you’re a fan of Celtic Frost, Discharge and
latter-day Darkthrone, then this is a must-have, but you’ll have to be quick! This
tape has been pressed as a limited run of 100 copies, so head over to the Colloquial
Sound Recordings website now if you want to get your hands on one. Just keep those painkillers ready, because your neck is gonna be sore by the time this tape has finished...