Released: 2004, Galy Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Quebec metalllers, Neuraxis, have always been difficult to classify. Are they grindcore? Death metal? Even some prog elements have drifted into their songs. The band has also suffered from the lack of stable lineup. No less than 11 people have been in this band since 1997 including 4 vocalists. Still, Neuraxis has soldiered on with 3 releases in that time. Galy Records has combined Neuraxis’ first two CDs, 1997’s IMAGERY and 2001’s THE PASSAGE INTO FORLORN E.P., into one package. The CD has been remastered and there are a few bonus tracks to sweeten the deal, as well.
IMAGERY is a brutal grind/death record with ultra-low, guttural vocals and is much heavier than their later efforts. Even with production duties from Kataklysm guitarist, J.F. Dagenais, an over-reliance on blastbeats and Maynard Moore’s incomprehensible vocals leaves this record to swim amongst the many acts that fell prey to the sagging death metal scene in the mid-90s. There is little originality here and the record is more of a time capsule of how far the band would come in later years. “Oscillated To Intelligence” is the standout track here and features a classical guitar part and an intro from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, TOTAL RECALL.
The second half of the CD features the much-improved A PASSAGE TO FORLORN E.P.. With a new vocalist, guitarist and drummer, the band begins to incorporate melody into their music without forsaking the brutality. This helps break the monotony that weighs on IMAGERY. Right from the get-go, “Unite” confirms the progress that the band made during their 4-year hiatus. “Virtuosity” features a killer guitar solo. New vocalist Ian Campbell is a FAR better vocalist than Moore was and he shows off his chops most notably on “Unite.” The band also re-recorded “The Drop” with an almost industrial feel to it. Having both tracks on the same CD makes for an interesting comparison.
As a bonus, Galy has included a brand new live track of “…Of Divinity” that was recorded in August 2003. The song originally appeared on the 2002 CD, TRUTH BEYOND…. Also included is a rare track, “In Silence,” from the band’s 1999 promo CD. Then there are two band interviews—one in French and one in English—that offer some insight into the history of Neuraxis.
As a Neuraxis “starter” package, this is an excellent place to get your feet wet. The evolution of this band from a cookie cutter death/grind project to a full-fledged melodic/prog/death powerhouse is quite an experience to hear.
KILLER KUTS: “Oscillated To Intelligence,” “Unite,” “Virtuosity,” “Link”