Live Once Die Twice
Richmond, United States
Axus Bliss’ unveil a mighty sound in their album, ‘Live Once Die Twice.’ It's an album that explodes from the black the moment you press play and never lets up, not even for a second. Mix the textures of new indie rock and grunge with the musical flair and composition of metal and you have yourself a sound that can burn as bright as it likes. Smashing vocals soar and harmonise with gritty prowess as bass lines grow and weave through the thorns sprouting from the heavy guitars and drums. It's a soundscape of rock that is inescapable, and it's all too entertaining.
The album begins with some atmosphere. ‘Fallen Inside’ builds the tension that the album uses like a bow against its violin strings. It cradles you in dark emotion and blows sweet melodies and vocals across you in the night, then when your time is up, the sound wraps around you and you’re in for the long run. ‘As We Row The Waves Of Destruction’ picks us out of the nether-brush and flings us into the throes of metal rock melodies. Loud drums span the track and add a texture like dense jungle leaves. The rock is seeping through in crepuscular beams, you are lured toward them by the thrumming. The thrumming rattles the floor, its guitars and drums and bass singing together as if all played by one great being — the Axus Bliss. Its call rips you from your comfort, the vocals bring you through the thick. They are clean, bright and full of exotic energy that feels all at once futuristic and straight out of the 90s. It's amazing what such a sound can do to the hairs on the back of your neck.
We push on toward the heart of the album: ‘Cartel Love Affair,’ ‘Parlay (for Choade),’ and their flanking muses serenade us with tales of love, passion, the world about them and pure energetic emotion. Rock needn’t have a subject, the songs that are born of great rockers can simply be about the music itself. Though ‘Live Once Die Twice’ minces in themes of life, death, grief and hope, the main message for me is good, hardy rock. Think Soundgarden with the flair of Deep Purple; Nirvana with some operatic metal bangs; soul music, clad in black with sparkling wigs and face paint.
The sound that Axus Bliss have curated here on ‘Live Once Die Twice’ is a mix of the great features of old, blended into a new and well-constructed mantra — play like you mean it. To this end, they bring unto themselves a Led Zeppelin vibe, with each instrument and vocal line being performed within an inch of its life. The whole album holds you in permanent agog, its sound seemingly teetering on the edge of the black-rock abyss. Yet it never falls, and that is the art.
‘Live Once Die Twice’ has carved its sound into a physical metaphor. It's a message to live by; hard and fast with no regrets, say yes to those opportunities and chase the dream because you love it. Tantalisingly thick and oozing passion.