The Axis of Perdition - Physical Illucinations in the Sewer of Xulchilbara (The Red God)
Code666 Records
Chaotic Post-Black Metal
5 songs (30:07)
Release year: 2004
Code666 Records
Reviewed by Aaron

Quick note before the review officially starts: Despite being of album-length, this is an EP, and I won't be quoting it.

This isn’t your typical black metal band.

Just take that warning before you push the manhole cover off the street and descend into the Sewers of Xulchilbara. If you’re expecting to hear a Xasthur-like hypnotic black metal band, or a brutal black metal band like Gorgoroth… don’t bother with this disc. Not to say that those styles are tired or outdated (I’m a huge fan of The Funeral Of Being and like albums; same for Twilight of the Idols (In Conspiracy With Satan), etc) but this is just a leap beyond them, on a whole ‘nother plane of musical excellence and sheer, outright dementia.

You were warned.

The Axis of Perdition is a duo from England, and this was their… third release, an EP (originally intended as a split with Blut Aus Nord) with fully original material rather than the usual remix/rerecording/b-side crap that most people put on their EPs. This is the rare EP that surpasses many full-length albums in terms of succinct brilliance. But enough fellatio, let’s get into the sewer.

This album is terrifying, and that’s the best one-word description I could think of. Listen to it at home, at night, with headphones, when there’s nobody around. It’ll scare the shit out of you, and that’s a guarantee.

The production is clear-as-crystal, which is funny considering the nature of the music that’s on it. The guitars are tuned to a ‘static’ setting that still allows for some measure of riff coherency, and yet is anything but an easy listen, and there are numerous samples (from Silent Hill 2 and 3, mostly) and industrial/techno sounds rollicking around in the background. The drums are hollow and echo-y, and the vocals ring with malice and sorrow, and are draped in effects out the buttocks.

The Axis of Perdition does not adhere to many black metal standards- sure, the riffing is mostly tremolo, and sure, the vox are high and creepy, but the composition of the songs and the arrangements are distinctly affiliated with experimental industrial (not that beat-heavy stuff, the weird side) and avant-garde rock. The biggest connection this band has to black metal is the atmosphere.

This album is focused on atmosphere to a degree that’s almost insane, and god-DAMN, this atmosphere is scary. It creates a nightmare world of filth, rust, and insanity, where the corridors you run through are made of flesh, the doors obscene festering wounds that drool strings of pus. Where the people that walk the earth aren’t really people, they’re just… things, horrific things of disease and deformity that lurch staggeringly toward you for reasons known only to them. I swear to you that after listening to Physical Illucinations… just ONCE, I was becoming paranoid about the windows… and the doors… and every noise I heard, really.

My favorite songs? There are songs? I really couldn’t tell you. The album works so well as a whole that it’s as though there aren’t any songs in the first place. Everything flows, in a chaotic and discordant sort of way, if that makes any sense.

But by all means, do pick up this album if you want to hear something that just loses all the clichés in black metal, something that just destroys 99% of what’s out there. This is another attempt to push black metal into the future, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t successful.

One last note: This makes Blut Aus Nord’s 2003 opus, The Work Which Transforms God, look like a Raffi album in terms of creepiness. Buy it before all 666 copies are sold out.

Killing Songs :
Weren't you reading the review? All the songs are brilliant.
Aaron quoted no quote
Other albums by The Axis of Perdition that we have reviewed:
The Axis of Perdition - Tenements (Of The Anointed Flesh) reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
The Axis of Perdition - Urfe reviewed by Goat and quoted 40 / 100
The Axis of Perdition - Deleted Scenes From The Transition Hospital reviewed by Goat and quoted 92 / 100
The Axis of Perdition - The Ichneumon Method (And Less Welcome Techniques) reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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There are 24 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:48 pm
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