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Axemaster: Crawling Chaos
Axemaster - Crawling Chaos CD Album Review

Axemaster: Crawling Chaos

Heavy Metal
4.0/5.0

Founded by guitarist Joe Sims, Axemaster has had a lingering presence in the American underground heavy metal since 1982. Sometimes that presence came with a new band name, The Awakening (1991-1995) and Inner Terror (2008-2010), but Sims was always at the helm. Then Sims revived the old moniker with new found strength and energy. Axemaster dropped Overture To Madness in 2015, their first studio album in 15 years. Now they return some two years later with Crawling Chaos, which introduces lead guitarist Damin Bennett.

Axemaster - Crawling Chaos Band Photo

Axemaster

For those unfamiliar with Axemaster, the band plays traditional heavy metal with something of doom metal influence, definitely with a darker tone. These musical themes rise early with the walloping 10,000 Pound Hammer, then latter with the creepy Flowers For The Dead, the foreboding Shallow Grave, and the chunky and thick Bravado. (For some more illumination of their style, read my review of Overture To Chaos.)

Yet the most obvious, and rather significant, element of this new album is Damin Bennett's guitar lines. Of course, being a classic heavy metal band, the twin guitar presence is all about guitar harmony. But Bennett adds something of a creative and sophisticated flair to the proceedings. He can deliver more traditional neo-classical solos as within Bravado and Knight Of Pain. But within Crawling Chaos, his guitar is lingering and lilting throughout before rising in a tapping solo like sharp sleet in a slate roof. Within Axes Of Evil, his finishing solo is frantic and frenetic, having an almost chaotic feeling. In Flowers For The Dead, the delicate guitar parts at the beginning and end have an eerie mystical feeling, with the larger solo in the latter third twisting between dread and fret precision. Then there's the tasty instrumental Mystify the Dream Hypnotic, with its Middle Eastern tone and spry fret work. Needless to say, the guitar lines and Bennett's guitar wizardry make Crawling Chaos an interesting and entertaining listen. But the guitar lines don't exist in a vacuum; they're also wrapped up in some genuinely surprising and creative arrangements.

Suffice to conclude, with Crawling Chaos, and new lead guitarist Damin Bennett on board, Axemaster has devised a fine album of traditional heavy metal, even raising the bar to greater creativity and proficiency. Recommended.



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The Bottom Line

With Crawling Chaos, and new lead guitarist Damin Bennett on board, Axemaster has devised a fine album of traditional heavy metal, even raising the bar to greater creativity and proficiency. Recommended.

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