Axis of Despair – ‘Contempt for Man’

By Danny Randon

Although this is their first full-length album, Axis of Despair are entering the frame with cap-doffing pedigree. Emerging from the ashes of drummer Anders Jakobson’s post-Nasum grindcore mob Coldworker, the Swedish quartet also boast one-third of Livet Som Insats amongst their lineup.

It’s with this reputation that they come roaring out of the traps with Contempt for Man. Save for the brief squeal of feedback that sees in album opener Värdelös (which translates
lovingly as ‘useless’), it is a 32-minute barrage of wall-to-wall blastbeats and skin-flaying dual vocal assaults.

There’s less moments of innovation to be admired here when held up against Coldworker’s back catalogue, but Contempt for Man is hardly a knuckle-dragging slump backwards to meat-and-potatoes grindcore: on Lockdown there are sinister flashes of homegrown death metal, and Crush the Empire (one of only two tracks on this album to surpass the two-minute mark) is more mid-paced but no less brutalising.

Axis of Despair aren’t reinventing the wheel here – they are simply fitting the wheel with Ben Hur-esque chariot spikes before sending it hurtling towards your face at 200mph. It’s probably the last record of 2018 that you’ll want to play to your nan, but for the merciless purpose it serves, Contempt for Man leaves little for you to despair over.

DANNY RANDON

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