Axewound @ Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton – 4 October 2012

Creating a stir with the recent release of their debut album ‘Vultures’, British-Canadian supergroup Axewound consist most notably of Bullet For My Valentine frontman Matt Tuck and Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier.

The curious draw to Axewound is of course Tuck and Cormier, highlighted tonight by young girls in Bullet For My Valentine tees and lads sporting Cancer Bats apparel. However, credentials that complete the line-up are former Rise To Remain bassist Joe Copcutt, Glamour Of The Kill’s Mike Kingswood, and Pitchshifter drummer Jason Bowld, who has also played for the likes of Pop Will Eat Itself, Bill Bailey and Killing Joke.

Opening with ‘Vultures’ and ‘Victim Of The System’, Cormier bounds around like a man possessed, his ferocious vocal output coupled with a grin from ear to ear. “We are here to have fun and play songs in a club” he says. “Like real bands do, and we are a real band” he continues, dispelling any negativity that may lurk amongst the audience.

With massive riffs, exhilarating guitar breaks, screaming vocals and the devastating double bass drum and extraordinary capabilities of Bowld, this is a band seriously on form, and all clearly enjoying what they have set out to do.

Ok, so there are some characteristically Bullet For My Valentine moments, but nothing quite as commercial. Whereas the aggressive assault of the Cancer Bats is made altogether more accessible via the culmination of resources. The end product is quintessentially bold and brash.

Every track from the album is played with aggressive precision and chaotic execution. Heavy-as-you-like, technical mastery and fierce vocals dominate the onslaught, with the infectious hooks of ‘Exochrist’, and the imaginative ‘Collide’ providing some genuine light and shade.

With 10 songs of their own, a cover of Pantera’s ‘Fucking Hostile’ is followed by the debut single ‘Post Apocalyptic Party’, before the mass sing-along to ‘Exochrist’ rings out for a second time. This in turn leads to the only downside of the show – its conclusion.

This may have been a relatively short outing, but the packed out Slade Rooms masses don’t seem to care. Comparable to trademark 80’s thrash, both young and older attendees appear to dig the Axewound style, and like me they’ll be hoping this modern-day supergroup will be around for a while.

Review & Photography: Steve Johnston