When I first heard Infernal War on their 2009 EP, Conflagrator, I was absolutely blown away by the speed, aggression and intensity that these Poles manage to squeeze into a short 20-minute release. Since then, Conflagrator has pretty much remained one of my favourite Polish extreme metal releases. This year, Infernal War finally returns with their brand new full length release, Axiom, and it remains to be seen and heard if their third album is indeed a statement for the Polish underground.
While Infernal War was largely the goto band for me for my fix of Polish extremity, the band’s 2010 split with compatriots Kriegsmaschine saw Infernal War explore a different, more experimental sound, which was a far cry from what the band has given to rabid fans on such releases as Terrorfront and Redesekration. It left me wondering what Axiom was gonna sound like, and to my utter relief, right from the first riffs of Coronation, it is nice to hear that the band has gotten back to the style that most know them for – the high-octane, intense and energetic style of black metal.
From the get go, the band sounds as though they were finally free to expand all the repressed energy from the material that was on Transfigurations. While the riffs of Triumphator and Zyklon are often urgent and crushing, as usual, it is the battery of Stormblast that really takes the centre stage here. At a time when I naively thought that Inferno’s works on Behemoth was impressive, Stormblast’s performance on Conflagrator caught my ears, and on Axiom he does not disappoint as well, as he punishes his kit mercilessly, and executes speedy segments with much ease.
Unfortunately, with the masterpieces that are Conflagrator and Redesekration, it is indeed hard to keep up with their legacy, and to be honest things warmed up to me rather slowly on Axiom. This especially so since overall Axiom is a slightly slower record than the material that the band has put out before, with the band even including slower moments on the record such as on Coronoation to divert some focus into the atmospheric aspects of their songwriting. There are moments where one is reminded of the coldness and bleakness of early Second-wave bands, though obviously with a much more abrasive and chaotic touch.
Yet to some, it probably is a good thing that Axiom sounds nothing like a clone to its predecessors, and is a display of the growth of the band as musicians and songwriters after the weird, dissonant Transfigurations.
2. Militant Hate Church
3. Into Dead Soil
5. Nihil Prayer
6. The Parallel Darkness
8. Eater of Hope
9. Camp 22
10. No Forgiveness