AxeWound is the moniker for the creative collaboration between Cancer Bats’ lead vocalist Liam Cormier and South Wales metalhead Matt Tuck of Bullet for My Valentine. “Vultures,” their debut album, is full of vim and vigour but whilst it doesn’t set my world on fire, the resulting effort is not the car crash that you cynics might be hoping for, nor is it the all out blast that their defenders will have you believe. It’s pretty solid, if not something that you can find elsewhere and, better.
The actual sound is pretty much what you’d expect in bringing these together. There’s a lot of huff and puff and plenty of Tuck driven riffage. You couldn’t accuse Cormier of ever giving anything less than 100% on anything and the same is true here. The result is a sort of punk edged Cancer for My Valentine with a side order of Municipal Waste thrown in for good measure. The single from the album “Cold” is reasonably indicative of what the album stands for, aurally and aesthetically- standard song structure, solid riffing and an undeniable ability to find a hummable chorus, the album zips along with a good pace and little flab. If you like BFMV you’re going to think this is the second coming. If you don’t, there is still a few things here that you might be intrigued by, particularly ‘Church of Nothing’ or the ambitious ‘Collide‘ but elsewhere you might find the going altogether harder.
It’s fairly obvious as well who Matt Tuck and Cormier rely on in their record collections- there’s a little bit of Metallica here, a little bit of Meshuggah there and it’s all delivered with seriousness of intent that I don’t expect they anticipated when coming together but it’s fairly clear that they have gotten on really rather well.
I came to this debut record from the appallingly named AxeWound (yes, I did see what you did there. And no, it isn’t funny or clever, just a little bit teenage, actually) with a level of trepidation, rather like opening some gone off food at the back of your fridge. If you can get past the name and the creative hinterland of both artists you’re left with a bit of a curio. It’s something that you can probably get elsewhere and, in some instances, a damn sight better and although isn’t as nearly as offensively bad as I thought it might be but neither is it as scabrously infectious as I think the collaborators believe it is. A little bit meh, then.