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AU Review Axis Of 'Finding St Kilda'

It may be early days to talk of end of year lists, but there certainly won’t be many better debuts in 2013.

This full-length debut has been a while coming, but honing their craft over several years and numerous raucous gigs obviously hasn’t done Axis Of any harm. The Belfast-based trio and producer Rocky O’Reilly have done a sterling job with 'Finding St Kilda', channelling all the floor-shaking energy of their live shows into eleven focussed bursts of aggression, melody and twist-on-a-dime rhythms.

"Cardiel" kicks things off in thumping style, welding crunchy guitar and bratty vocals to sharp drum rolls and some fine melodic bass work. The rather brilliant "Mendelssohnstrasse" follows, its restless, stop-start timing and inventive interplay coalescing into a great chorus before the band break into a short “la-la-la” section at the end. It’s the sort of wonderfully addictive pop trick that lesser acts would build entire songs around, but such is Axis Of’s confidence that they can casually toss it in for a few seconds of fun.
 
The band’s harder edge is ably demonstrated by "The World’s Oldest Computer" and "Aung", both shorts blasts of rage barbed with subtle tuneful hooks; the latter is especially good, switching from a moshpit-friendly riff to speed-punk blastbeats at will. The pure metalcore gut-punch that is "Re-Written In Black Ink" is also stunning. Their poppier side finds free reign on the Biffy Clyro-esque "Stan Winston’s Rough Seas", replete with background glockenspiel, and closing single "Lifehammer", with its nursery rhyme bounciness and infectious guitar lines. The epic "Edge Of The Cranebrake" is arguably the best of the lot, showcasing every facet of their considerable talent in five glorious minutes of constantly-shifting post-hardcore squalling and gorgeous melodic breakdowns.
 
KEY TRACKS: "MENDELSSOHNSTRASSE", "CARDIEL", "EDGE OF THE CRANEBRAKE"?
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