Music Reviews

Artist: AX
Title: Metal Forest
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
This new retrospective of the industrial/noise and power electronics undergrowth by Cold Spring piles some sonic material from side project AX, before its abrasive sonorities merged into the bicephalous project Novatron in association with Kevin Laska, by British bassist Anthony Di Franco, former member of Skullflower, also known for his artistic indentities JFK and Ethnic Acid and for his long-lasting militancy in the historic power electronics/rock collective Ramleh. The name of this compilation could encapsulate the harsh claws of AX's style as it's knotty, convoluted, lumby, shady and somehow stifling like a thick forest as well as creaking, concrete and sharp-edged like audible displays of a metallurgic factory. After the initial heavy dull thud which renders an obsessively slow cortege on a electrically excited downpour on "Kortex", the creepy drilling of "Track 1" and "Track 2" from his mini-album "Ax II" is maybe the highest peak of expression and the most appalling and diversified moments of his infernal machineries, while the two corrosive parts of "Nova Feedback" are the ones where the presence of guitar strings, even if heavily distorted and scraped, is clearer. The acid bath of stunning dissonances on "Heavy Fluid", the asphyxiating crumpling of noisy dykes on "Theme One", the piercing strangulation of high-pitched frequencies and sinister clangs on the title-track "Metal Forest" and the plumbean congestion of noises which seems to catch in the grips the inner molecular mantra of a metal block on the final "Cluster" complete this interesting shake of noisy manifolds from Anthony Di Franco's archives.

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