The South African metal scene is often criticised for being too samey and lacking the innovation that has characterised the (admittedly, much larger) European and American scenes. Trends come and go, with bandwagons often full to overflowing with groups hoping to become the “next big thing” on everyones lips and it takes a certain amount of vision to fly in the face of this to make the music that you want to hear.
Enter Axxon, the industrial metal quintet with a “make no concessions” approach that makes them a truly unique contender on the local scene. Mixing elements of EBM dance music with industrial guitars and harsh, almost black metal vocals, their rhythmic onslaught is set to close off the festivities of Metal4Africa’s Winterfest ’12. Their performance marks their first live gig since Rock the River at the beginning of this year.
“We have spent a lot of the time writing new material, and experimenting with new styles and approaches to song-writing,” says frontman and mastermind Stephen Green, “The members of the band have also been given a small amount of breathing room, which is always a good thing; it helps in keeping sanity levels high.”
Winterfest also marks the band’s debut release as a full entity with their Bite Your Tongue maxi single (previously, Axxon released a solo, all electronic album.) Originally announced in January, Bite Your Tongue has taken longer to materialise than initially expected.
“For the past few months, working on the debut EP/maxi-single has been of prime concern, and being the perfectionists we are, we have taken a while to get the level of quality we want out of it,” continues Stephen. “We have recorded elements for the release up to three times over, in search of what we want.”
Bite Your Tongue contains eight tracks and clocks in at over forty minutes, certainly no ordinary “single” release by local standards. “The release contains the single version of the title track, which has become a favourite at shows. In addition, there are two b-sides showing a different side to the band. One being “Dangerous”, a Depeche Mode cover that sticks to it’s synthpop roots, but adds an industrial electro flair and the other, “Panopticon”, a twelve minute long dark ambient journey. On top of this, there are two total reinterpretations of the title track; a rhythmic noise inspired version called “Deviance”, and “Consequence”, a piano driven trip-hop inspired version, as well as remixes that cover everything from psytrance, futurepop to down-the-line electro.”
“We want to make some giant leaps forward at Winterfest,” says Stephen when asked about Axxon‘s plans for the festival. “We are pushing our own boundaries for this show and will be debuting two new songs that show off yet another side to the Axxon sound, as well as having our first live guest vocal appearance, with Ryan Higgo of Crow Black Sky featuring on one of the new songs.”
If you have any doubts about watching Axxon at Winterfest, check out their promotional video and stream Bite Your Tongue below. ‘The beat returns…’