Album Title: Zero Hour
Label: Rocksector Records
Year Of Release: 2015
From my vantage point, Triaxis are a band that seem to do everything the right way. Hailing from South Wales, Triaxis have a clear mission: to launch an attack to take over the heavy metal world. With a massively strong work ethic that sees the quintet playing gigs up and down the UK and further afield whenever the opportunity arises, their name is becoming more and more well-known as time goes by. Moreover, thanks to a friendly and balanced presence on social media where not every little thing is posted ad nauseum, they are a band that has already been taken to the hearts of many metal fans. At the current time, their following is slowly but surely growing and gathering momentum with something of a cult fan base developing. With a bit of luck and more hard work, album number three, entitled ‘Zero Hour’ has every chance to push Triaxis to another level entirely. Actually, I’m not sure luck is required because, put simply, this is a fabulous album, deserving of all the critical acclaim and plaudits that it will no doubt receive.
For those unfamiliar, Triaxis were formed in 2006 and the best part of a decade later are comprised of founding members Giles (drums) and CJ (guitars) alongside vocalist Krissie, lead guitarist Glyn and relative newcomer, Becky, who joined the band in 2014 to fill the vacant bass slot. In 2009, Triaxis released their debut, self-produced album, ‘Key To The Kingdom’ and then, in 2012, recorded the follow-up, ‘Rage And Retribution’.
I always considered Triaxis to be a band influenced most strongly by the thrash scene but over time and with ‘Zero Hour’ blasting in my ears as I type, I have come to realise that this observation might not be as accurate as it could be. Yes there are many nods to the thrash genre thanks to the aggressive and powerful drumming, the barrage of tight, incisive, fast-paced riffs and the overt attitude that vocalist Krissie conveys with her singing. However, in addition, there’s a demonstrable NWOBHM and classic metal vibe to much of the material. The likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest to name a couple are referenced thanks to Triaxis’ love of galloping tempos, harmonies and choruses that contain enough hooks to catch a blue whale. And then, there are also a few more modern twists for good measure, including a smattering of metalcore- tinged growls to compliment the clean voice as well as the occasional use of synths and sampled sounds away in the background. These latter elements are not overplayed; they’re merely there to subtly accentuate when required and its a nice touch as far as I’m concerned.
In the accompanying press release, Triaxis are quoted as saying that ‘Zero Hour’ returns a little more to their roots but is the heaviest album that they have recorded. I would tend to agree with this statement, but perhaps go one stage further. From my humble perspective, I’d go so far as to suggest that not only is it their heaviest recording to date but that it’s also their strongest material to date full stop. The playing is more honed, the song writing is even more focused and the blend between the aggression and the melodies are fantastic, a real joy to behold.
‘Liberty’ opens the album in truly majestic style. A simple lone riff kicks things off before sparingly-used drums and the sound of a ghostly choir enter the fray. The lead guitar joins the steady and atmospheric build-up before the track explodes into a thunderous heavy metal anthem. Krissie’s voice soars above a mid-tempo verse that gives way to an instantly memorable chorus that ups the pace very nicely. From then on, the tone has been set and what follows is a further eleven cracking metal tracks.
‘Death Machine’ is a frantic track that contains some superb riffs, thunderous blast beats and an introduction of those aforementioned growled vocals. But yet, for all its savage and uncompromising approach, it’s groovy and features another killer chorus that’s almost power metal in its execution. ‘Ministry Of Truth’ features some dark, dystopian lyrics whilst delivering more thrash-inspired incisive riffing subtly reminiscent of mid-era Megadeth, as well as some of the best lead guitar work on the record.
‘Terraform’ is classic stadium-friendly NWOBHM fodder with a stunning chorus, ‘Victorous’ is a furious and energetic battle-hungry call to arms whilst ‘Stand Your Ground’ flies from the speakers with a wonderfully breezy melodic hard rock vibe. The album closes with the title track and in my opinion, they’ve saved the best for last. ‘Zero Hour’ is a ten-minute behemoth that dials up the synths and the atmospherics within a stunning, elongated intro. From there, it pulls everything together from the preceding eleven tracks and wraps it up in a generally stomping mid-tempo epic piece of music that sends shivers down my spine each and every time I hear it.
I’ve mentioned vocalist Krissie in previous blog posts, suggesting that she’s one of my favourite female vocalists in heavy metal. Her performance on ‘Zero Hour’ does nothing to dissuade me and if anything, puts her even higher in my estimations. Note perfect, full of attitude and blessed with a huge set of lungs, Krissie has pulled out all the stops and majestically fronts an already impressive album.
The icing on the cake is a really excellent production that blesses each element of the music with a clarity that allows all the Triaxis ingredients to be heard and enjoyed to their full. Kudos should therefore go to the band themselves and to Scott Atkins who assisted with a particularly brutal drum sound and James Stephenson (Stymphalian Productions) for a top quality mix and mastering job.
Put as succinctly as possible, ‘Zero Hour’ is the very best that Triaxis have ever sounded and put the Welsh band into the upper echelons of the British metal scene. The confidence flows, the album oozes attitude and every track offers something positive to the listener. If you’re after a dose of uncompromising straight-up heavy metal, you need to hear this record. I predict big things for Triaxis and deservedly so.
The Score Of Much Metal: 9.0
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Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
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Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
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Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
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Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
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Knight Area – Hyperdrive
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James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
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Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
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Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld