Pacific Northwest’s Stealing Axion was formed in the winter of 2009 by guitarists Dan Forbrich, Josh
DeShazo, and Phil Willmarth. By early 2010 they self-recorded and released their EP which rapidly
spread across the net and garnered them tons of praise from fans and critics alike. With these songs
as a solid foundation, the band maintained a steady regiment of writing and developing their sound
and soon had enough material to serve as a full length album. The band was then contacted by Acle
Kahney (TesseracT guitarist and producer) about mixing and mastering the songs. Working closely
with him on the sounds and textures of the album, Moments (the title of the band’s debut full
length) developed into a dynamic and immense listening experience. The album uniquely combines
the ferocity and rawness of modern metal with delicate and expansive atmospheres. The result is a sound that is accessible while maintaining a detailed and complex framework.
One thing for certain, and that all off the songs offer up a different tale for the listener. But is one of those 50% Marmite moments for me. Musically the album is ‘most excellent’ (insert your own Wyld Stallyns GUITAR RIFF HERE), with some pretty ferocious riffs that will stir up many a mosh pit, then segueing into an atmospheric passage which almost takes you by surprise, but it’s the mix of two contrasting vocal styles, screamy and grunty one minute, and calm, collected, and (normal) melodic the next that I struggle with. Me? I prefer the latter style, obviously.
As prog bands go, they have all the attributes of making a success for themselves. They’ve been signed by Inside Out Music, a label that knows a thing or two about prog music and truly spans the generation of prog – from Kansas & Pallas, to Devin Townsend & Riverside. They are in good company.
With the ‘good cop/bad cop’ vocalisation, Stealing Axion are doing nothing new, but the music sets them apart from their competition. Influenced by the likes if Dream Theater, SA have a decent foundation. The album unusually has a much stronger second half, and, thankfully for me, Stealing Axion get a grip, and find their mojo. The reason being that there’s more of a melodic metal influence in songs such as ‘Eventide’ and ‘Collapse’, and none more so than on the mighty fine ‘Sleepless’ (complete with minimal growly, grunty moments than the rest!). Even ‘Too Late Now’, a prog ballad of sorts has its defining moments.
So, the second half of the album has a bit more in its locker than the first, with Stealing Axion finding more of their progressive feet. Whilst it’s not my cup of tea, no doubt Moments will have many a prog fan rushing and possibly gushing after it
1 Mirage Of Hope
3 Everything Or Nothing
4 47 Days Later
5 The Unwanted Gift
8 It’s Too Late Now
10 Moments Part 1
11 Moments Part 2
Dan Forbrich – Vocals, guitar
Josh DeShazo – Vocals, guitars
Phil Willmarth – Vocals, bass
Blake Ferris – Drums