Axiom
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Axiom

Sacramento, California, United States | INDIE

Sacramento, California, United States | INDIE
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AXIOM’s first full-length album, “A Means to An End”, can be described as a metal album first, a progressive metal album second. The band’s clear focus was to give us a compelling, smooth- flowing, coherent collection of interrelated metal songs that attack the listener with very precise riffing, never losing the focus on the primary goal. The conceptual nature of the subject, the close relation between tracks (between which there are no pauses) and the excellent level of musicianship the band displays are the primary elements that help configure “A Means to An End” as a progressive-metal album.

As mentioned before, the main element in the music is metal. Precise, original riffs dominate every single song in the album. There’s hardly any soloing for the mere sake of soloing. When Whisenhunt decides to take a moment on the spotlight for himself he does it because it’s in the song’s best interests to do so. We never get the idea that he is trying to show-off his skills; what he does is for the concept’s sake. The same can be said of the work of the rhythmic unit, where the drums are probably the instrument that displays a greater degree of freedom throughout the record. But even Herzer, the skin- basher, controls his attack and doesn’t try to steal the show for himself. It’s all part of a conscious plan whose ultimate goal was to create a cohesive, intelligent conceptual prog-metal album. The band AXIOM comes before, the musicians that form the band are secondary in their scheme of things.

If we were to mention a few bands that AXIOM reminds us of in this record, METALLICA would probably be one of the first names to come to mind. In fact, at the beginning of the album, for a few seconds, we feel like if we were going back to the 80’s, ready for our new dose of fantastic riffing. One of the songs even begins with a very similar drum/guitar pattern/fill to the one that opens the heavy part of “Blackened”. On the more directly-progressive side of things, AXIOM clearly drank from the fountain of FATES WARNING. The album’s structure clearly brings back memories of that band’s legendary “A Pleasant Shade of Grey”. The style of powerful singing that the vocalist employs is more akin to that of the aforementioned progressive-metal giant than to the much more sung, melody-based style that the other big prog-metal founder, DREAM THEATER, favors in their compositions. It’s clear that other bands that the members of AXIOM have heard are metal legends like SAVATAGE and QUEENSRYCHE, but also more experimental bands like TOOL, more classic bands like PINK FLOYD and even bands in the post-metal genre with the grey, somewhat-nostalgic feel that permeates the album.

The musicianship is quite good in AXIOM, even though they still can get much better in some aspects. The drummer is clearly the most proficient instrumentalist in the record, with a perfect mix of restraint and acrobatics, using the hi-hat for interesting patters and the double-bass drums sparingly but powerfully enough to create a lasting impression. The bass does it job, we can’t say it shines but we can’t say that it disappoints either. The guitars, the main instruments in AXIOM, are somewhat of a mixed bag. Most riffs are very interesting and perfectly played. It’s when the guitarist tries to solo that a few imperfections in his technique show a little bit, but they never take away from the quality of the sonic experience and the guitar playing never sounds sloppy or even mediocre. It just doesn’t sound perfect. On the other hand, we have to praise the great amount of original ideas the 6-string instrument is able to display throughout the album.

The vocals are my biggest complain with AXIOM. Though not bad or distracting, they aren’t that brilliant. Whisenhunt sounds a little like a less-powerful version of James Hetfield with a little bit of Ray Alder thrown in the mix. But he lacks the soaring heights that the latter reaches or the uniqueness that characterizes the voice of the former. Melody is not this singer’s best skill, and there are times when it would have been of a huge benefit to this album to include more melodic sections and more easy-to-distinguish choruses. This is a department where AXIOM still has to improve.

All in all, a great debut for a very promising career. A few flaws in the vocals and the lack of great memorable melodies make me give this album a 3.5 over 5, which I will round up as the star of AXIOM clearly shines for an even brighter future.

“A means to an end” is just what this album is, the first step towards achieving a goal, which doesn’t seem to be too far to reach for AXIOM.


- Teodoro GomezdelaTorre R. (Progarchives.com)


As wonderful as it’s been to see metal make a return to the masses (even as an underground phenomenon), it is threatened with stagnancy the more people who get into the scene with little substance to offer. Working the hell out of their Sacramento region, Axiom is sculpting something potentially special with bricks borrowed from past foundries and cemented with modes of prog and modern metal blasts on A Means to an End.

Primarily the conception between two minds, Justin Herzer and Scott Whisenhunt, strives for its own identity with airs of Tool and progressive metal like, say, Novembers Doom, though without the latter’s death roaring since Scott Whisenhunt wails cleanly throughout the album.

At first Justin Herzer’s drumming gets a bit too flashy with overambitious rolls, splashes and choppy double bass strikes that undermine the core tempo of Axiom’s music. Undoubtedly Herzer is a gifted drummer and the further A Means to an End goes along, the more homogenous he becomes to the songs, lighting up “Nucleus” (the album’s best cut) the seven-minute-plus “Onesided” and the 8:31“Godgiven.”

Whisenhunt’s guitars on A Means to an End give the album diverse personae through drawn and playful distortion (“Nucleus,” for example) and smooth syncopation as plucked satisfyingly on “A Perfect World” and the marathon closer “Don’t Blink.”

As Axiom grows stronger with each song on A Means to an End, so too do they evolve as a unit. Still to be considered in their nurturing phase, the random imperfections in the earlier part of the album are compensated later on and you can hear these guys growing alongside the very music presented on this album, exhibiting grace and maturity with piano supplementation on (“Don't Blink.”)

The direction the latter half of the album assumes indicates Axiom is leaning towards prog metal, which should be interesting to hear where they shift come their next recording. You have to admire Axiom for at least sticking to a conviction against conventionalism, despite their namesake which would indicate possible adherence to metal’s contemporary norms. Salud… - Ray Van Horn Jr. (Metalminute.com)


Axiom

A Means to an End

In an era in which Nu-Metal and Alternative Pop Rock rule the charts, Axiom’s “A Means to an End” is a breath of fresh air for metal fans everywhere. The album is musically intricate, with heavy thrash/speed guitar riffs, double bass drums and raw vocals that smack you in the face, leaving you wanting more. Furthermore, this album is extremely versatile, containing heavy speed riffs; classical guitar breakdowns and lyrics, which emit true emotion. If anyone thinks that metal is dead, they obviously have not listened to “A Means to an End.” This is the perfect CD for any Metallica or Tool fans.

Track 2 “Dead Dream” – Coming out of “Cell’s” intro, this track is the perfect album opener. This track has it all; thrashy, heavy guitar riffs, speed drums complete with double bass perfection, and powerful vocals. “Dead Dream” not only offers that 80’s thrash metal sound that so many thought was dead, but it also contains an intricate classical Metallica style breakdown that will not doubt leave you speechless.

Track 4 “A Means to an End” – The title track starts out with hard-hitting drums and a classic metal guitar solo and gets right to the point. This track is a true example of progressive heavy metal, and demonstrates the band’s amazing musical abilities.

Track 13 “Don’t Blink” – This track completely demonstrates the band’s progressive style. “Don’t Blink” begins slowly but becomes engulfed in a storm of heavy guitar, fast paced drums and fiery vocals. The track continuously switches up and is the perfect ending to an amazing album. - Travis Sabaitis of Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion


Discography

Alpha Omega EP-released 2006

A Means to an End - released 11/25/08

available for listen/download at cdbaby.com

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Bio

axiom (n) a self-evident truth; an established principal in an art or science.

In November 2002, drummer Justin Herzer answered a musicians classified ad on a local music website posted by guitarist Scott Whisenhunt. As they played they began to form their own style of music; borrowing from their inspirations and heroes like Black Sabbath, Metallica, Tool, Pink Floyd and the Beatles. What they created was a form of progressive metal, with a passion and seriousness unheard of in today’s musical climate. To label their project, they used a name that would describe the music, content, and ideals they wanted their work to represent: Axiom.

After building a fan base in the Sacramento area, Axiom recorded their first non-demo CD in the form of the “Alpha-Omega EP.” The 7-song EP was released in June 2006 to local music retailers, local radio, and online digital music stores. To continue their do-it-yourself work ethic, Axiom planned a month-long tour of the west coast to promote the “Alpha-Omega EP”. With their new bassist, John Coffee, the tour would take the band as far north as Boise, as far south as Las Vegas, as far east as Reno and as far west as San Jose.

In 2008, the band released their debut album, A Means to an End to positive reviews from the press worldwide. In 2009 Axiom continued to grow; managing to sell albums around the world, and is planning a national tour in 2010.

Axiom is a band that will always embrace what’s to come and never fear change. Axiom is a band that will never fail to explore their music, grow, and reinvent themselves without losing sight of where they came from. With their unwavering convictions and uncompromising ideals, Axiom have proven themselves unstoppable in their attempt to leave a mark on this world; and with music as their weapon, maybe help to change things for the better. In this day-in-age of image selling, regurgitating trends and passing fads, Axiom hold on to the belief that artistic integrity, creativity, and idealistic dreams are things that still matter.