Metal, and music in general, has a sort of wonky relationship with politics. Some musicians and bands endorse a certain politician and their fans go apeshit because they believe that music should be separate from politics. But why? Why should art, music, and literature remove itself from politics? Remember that Municipal Waste shirt that had Trump blowing his head off? Overtly political but objectively funny, yet people seemed to get really offended by it (an irony in the metal world). Fans of metal apparently would like to set the musical and lyrical standards by which metal can be played. At least some fans. Thankfully, there are those that genuinely enjoy it, and not in the conspiracy theory, tin foiled hat kind of way. There are bands out there with legitimate political concerns and themes which they feel passionate about. The great thing is, too, that you don’t have to agree with everything they are saying in their message to acknowledge that what they are saying is important and should be looked at. That brings me to the sophomore EP effort from my friends in Ireland, Axial Symmetry. United Corruption is sort of an apolitical political album that instead of focusing on parties and people it focuses its rabid aggression at government, not a government or the government, government. And I could not have loved this album more.
It’s not often that I get to bring out my Marxist literary theory personality but this album, on this day, it seemed perfect to do so. Axial Symmetry are pretty much everything I love about the Irish metal scene: they are extremely talented musicians, they are intelligent musicians and lyricists, they believe in what they are saying and its importance, and they are angry and aggressive. United Corruption is a step up from their debut in terms of quality of production, musical talent, and overall band image.
They have cleared out a lot of extraneous sound, streamlined their approach for some of the most devastating death metal I have had the pleasure of listening to. They are not brutal death metal, thank goodness, nor are they really any other discernable type of death metal which really frees them up when looking at the options they have for sound. And truly, I think with this effort they have found exactly what Axial Symmetry sounds like. They’re lucky too, many bands go several albums trying to find and perfect it while some never find it. United Corruption signals not only to the Irish metal scene but to the world that Axial Symmetry will be a force to reckon with. They are unsigned (I know I still can’t really believe that with their talent and voice) but I don’t think they will be for long, they are too goddamn good for that. United Corruption is a damn colorful album with lots of hooks, melodies and face melting riffs but that’s really all just the on surface. Axial Symmetry has matured since their debut, becoming laser focused. Each sound, musical note, and vocal note are carefully crafted to blend together like Irish whiskey. It’s strong and it’ll knock you on your ass but it’s smooth at the same time. United Corruption’s sound is like fire wrapped in velvet. The message of United Corruption is honestly far more important than their sound, no matter how good it is.
And the thing is they seem to know that and the emphasis they place on the lyrics and ambient sounds that serve to accentuate the meanings within the lyrics. The lyrics describe the world as it is, not as we want it to be, and what we can make it. Despite the bleak outlook of the album there is still hope to be found within the wall of sound and anger. There’s a call to action against those, anyone, that would try and take away our freedom. It’s no coincidence that I’m writing this review on Election Day 2016 in the US, a day that could go down as the day the world ended. Don’t let those in power, from any party or point of view, take away what you believe in, what you want to see in your world. That’s the message I got from United Corruption. Burn away the chaff, refine the silver, cull the herd.
My hope is that many others, all of you that actually read this, take it to heart, and think about what I write, will see this message and think upon it, that they will not see the imaginary fingerprints of some political party trying to manipulate but the words of their brothers, the people around them. Axial Symmetry has a chance here to be the voice of people that are tired, angry, and ready for something different. That’s what so fucking stirring about the music on United Corruption, despite your political believes, leanings, etc. you want to fight for your brothers and sisters. You want to build a better world out of the muck that this one is sinking into. Listen to Axial Symmetry, listen to United Corruption and tell you me you don’t feel the same. Tell me you don’t feel the urge to do something.
This album has a hypnotic power over its listener and any album that can achieve that deserves to go down in history. Gavin and the guys of Axial Symmetry have really done something, they made an amazing album with an important message. And they did it with piss and vinegar (I did say they were Irish after all) and every synonym you can think of for anger and frustration. Listen to it!
Listen and support!