Feb 162018


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new EP by Seattle-based Stealing Axion, which was released on February 13 and is available now on Bandcamp.)


Stealing Axion appeared for all intents and purposes finished once the band announced a more-than-likely-to-be-permanent hiatus after the release of the phenomenal Aeons, an album that was one of my absolute favorites of 2014. Ever since their debut EP, I’ve been a devoted and avid fan of the band’s unique blend of progressive metal song structuring, death metal vocal approach, and Meshuggah/Textures-inspired angular rhythmic and melodic strategies. They became one of my favorite bands to emerge from the 2010‘s, a hallmark of what new-age meets old-school transcendent genius sounds like. I guess I’m really hamming it the fuck up here, but I do adore this band.

Stealing Axion announced last year that they would continue without vocalist/guitarist Josh DeShazo, with no real news to speak of after that. As it turns out, Josh DeShazo ended up rejoining the band, and Eternities is a four-song EP born from this reunion. It brings back everything about this band that made them great. Eternities isn’t particularly ground breaking, nor does it see the band exploring new territory per se, but it is definitely a mish-mash of the more energetic direction of the debut Moments combined with the introspective melancholic approach of Aeons, one that forecasts a direction for a future release that I’m eager to hear. Continue reading »

Dec 312014


(TheMadIsraeli returns to our pages with this review of the new second album by Stealing Axion of Tacoma, Washington.)

Holiday break from academic slavery has arrived, so I suppose it’s time to get some writing done.

I praised Stealing Axion’s debut Moments to the high fucking heavens — it’s still an album I listen to often to this day.  The perfect intersection between death metal brutality, progressive ambition, and syncopated grooves that defined the best aspects of the djent movement has had me hooked since I first heard it.  I’ve been eagerly anticipating Aeons, and I’ve been watering at the mouth for a long time, considering that I knew from being in contact with the band that a lot of this music was already written at the time Moments came out.  I even got to hear a clip or two (ones that didn’t make it onto the album) and couldn’t have been more excited.  Aeons is a very different record from Moments in its approach.  The music this time is slower, and much of it drags and pulls you under with the weight of the grooves.  A lot of this album borders on being doomy, but with syncopation as a heavy component of the grooving.

The central elements are still there, though, and what the album sacrifices in driving energy compared to its predecessor it makes up for by bringing forth spine-crushing slow-mo beatdowns and lush atmosphere that drenches you like glowing plasma rain. Continue reading »

Nov 082014


(TheMadIsraeli provides the following introduction to our full-album streaming premiere of the new album by Stealing Axion from Tacoma, Washington.)

You may all remember I gave Stealing Axion’s debut Moments high praise (here) back in 2012. Their combination of djent, death metal, and progressive songwriting aspirations really hit a resonant note with me, to the point where Moments still gets a good amount of play time in my music listening. Now, we at NCS have the exclusive honor of streaming the band’s new album Aeons. A review from me will be coming later down the line.

Is Aeons better than Moments? That is hard to say. While the combination of djent/death metal/progressive elements is still there, Aeons see’s the band taking a much more atmospheric, and in a lot of ways (dare I say) doomy approach to the music. If you really want an answer to the question of Is it better?, I’d tell you it’s equally good in it’s own right — and that’s saying a lot. Continue reading »

Nov 012012

Here are some quick notes about a couple of noteworthy tours announced over the last 24 hours.

Nile has announced that it will tour the U.S. next March and April with 28 dates around the country. There are two interesting aspects to this tour. First, the band will be playing two full sets with only a brief intermission, which means fans are going to get a lethal dose of Nile, with time for the band to provide a thorough selection from their discography.

Second, Nile aren’t taking any supporting bands along for this ride. Instead, they’re asking promoters to pick the three best local bands from each locale the tour will visit. As Karl Sanders explained in a press statement:

Supporting local bands in each city is a way for us to give something back to younger bands and the metal scene.  We’ve asked promoters to keep ticket prices low, so that fans of all ages can come and join us for an evening of metal.  In these difficult times of our recessionary economy, an evening of killer metal shouldn’t have to break the bank

This is a cool idea, and of course it provides an opportunity for local bands to get some great exposure. Exclusive pre-sale tickets are available now at EnterTheVault.com. I checked the prices, and they range from $10 to $20, depending on the city. The price in Seattle is $18. The schedule is right after the jump. Continue reading »

Aug 272012

(In this companion to our full-album stream and review of the dynamic new album from Stealing Axion, TheMadIsraeli interviewed the band’s Daniel Forbrich (guitarist/vocalist) via Facebook chat, and this is the result . . .)


Daniel Forbrich: Oh herro

TheMadIsraeli: Hey there man!  Wassup?

DF: Not much, I just read on Josh’s screen that we could do the interview now lol

TMI: Yeah if you want.  Here is how this works.  I ask questions, and we bullshit on stuff that’s relevant.  This conversation, aside from formatting, will be totally unedited except for typos.

DF: Ok

TMI: Ok cool.  So, the only person I’ve talked to of you guys has been Josh (Josh DeShazo).  Explain yourself a little bit and how much of a role you play in the Stealing Axion machine.  Just as a little introduction, you know =P

DF: My name is Dan Forbrich, I play guitar and sing in the band. Behind the scenes I share writing responsibilities of the music with the other guys. We all live together, so much of the other work is delegated pretty evenly.  We also all work together at our day jobs in one form or another, so we are inseparable it seems.

TMI: Brutal man.  Just brutal.

DF: Haha

TMI: So, musically, how do you fit in? I was surprised to find out Josh actually isn’t into metal too much despite the fact your music crushes my intestines. Are you into the genre at all yourself?

DF: Definitely. My roots are in metal… My dad raised me on the classics… Slayer, Pantera, Metallica, Sabbath, and what not. I still say I listen to Metal about 80% of the time. He and I still actually go to shows quite regularly together… metal head for life.  I did however start to get into stuff like Yes/Pink Floyd/Frank Zappa in my teen years for whatever reason.  I’d like to think those bands have had just as much impact on my songwriting as the metal. Continue reading »

Aug 242012

(TheMadIsraeli follows up our full-album stream of the debut album by Stealing Axion with this review.) 

I have been so hyped for this album it’s hard for me to even quantify.  Stealing Axion absolutely wowed me with their self-titled free EP (which I reviewed here); it combined progressivism, the best groove in the Meshuggah/Textures school of thought, and a refined sense of dynamics between brutality and melody.  The band demonstrated that they knew how to write really fucking good metal and how to hit a broad spectrum of notes while carrying all of it off equally well.

In my mind, Moments is the quintessential modern metal album, demonstrating the best of what modern groove has become in heavy music.  I am going to warn NCS readers, this album is DEFINITELY an exception to the rule, with close to a 50/50 split of brutal and clean vocals going on here.  As with all exceptions to the rule though, I TRY NOT to review something that breaks our mantra unless it’s really fucking good.  Moments IS really fucking good, I assure you (unless you’re just a kvrmudgeon).

A few facts you need to know about this album before I begin: It’s a concept album about the end of the world.  Because of its particular story, the song flow is a bit askew from what you might expect (e.g., the album starts with one of the softest songs).  It is LONG (77 minutes), and a lot of the longer songs are peculiarly structured.  You won’t get the payoffs you’d typically expect on what feels like a buildup, and songs don’t end on the notes you’re absolutely convinced are coming, but by the same token some of the moments of brutality on this album completely wreck your intestines when you least expect them to pop up.  This is a truly progressive album. Continue reading »

Aug 242012

We’ve been watching the rise of Tacoma’s Stealing Axion since first hearing their sweet 2010 self-titled EP (reviewed at NCS here). Now the band are on the verge of seeing the release of their full-length debut by Inside Out Music and Century Media. Entitled Moments, the album will hit the streets on August 28 in the U.S. and a day earlier in Europe — and we’re giving you a stream of the entire work beginning today.

Stealing Axion join together a variety of musical components — off-kilter, jack-hammering rhythms; intricate and often mesmerizing guitar performances; memorable, beautiful melodies; and an effective contrast between abrasive, harsh vocals and clean, clear singing that echoes and soars. (And for those newcomers to the site, despite our name we do make exceptions when the metal is as good as what’s on Moments.)

The music weaves together brute-force aggressiveness, higher-order complexity, and shimmering atmospherics, delivering a blend of piston-driven body-movers and progressive stylings that send the mind surfing on astral waves. The songwriting is excellent, and the musical performances are all top-shelf. The album was mixed and mastered by TesseracT guitarist/producer Acle Kahney, and it sounds fantastic, producing the clarity and separation that best suits this kind of progressive, technically demanding music.

Moments is a long, ambitious work that demands serious attention, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun to hear. Fans of bands such as Textures should find it especially appealing, but we recommend that every devotee of metal give this a try. The stream begins next . . .  Continue reading »

May 152012

Through the good graces of Century Media, we sponsored a free ticket give-away for the DUAL DESTRUCTION TOUR of two of our favorite up-and-coming bands, 7 Horns 7 Eyes and Stealing Axion. The contest is now closed, and we had a random drawing for the winning entry.  Congratulations to Nicole B!  Nicole, we will be e-mailing you shortly with info about your ticket.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  Even though we aren’t getting you a free ticket, this will be a tour well-worth paying to see anyway. Check out the tour dates here.

May 032012

When it comes to Washington State metal bands, my objectivity could be questioned, because I live in the Seattle area. But that’s only because you don’t know me well enough. Fact is, when it comes to the metal, I don’t think about the music of Seattle or Tacoma bands any differently than I do bands from California or New York or India or Europe or anywhere else. Yes, I have a chance to see them perform live more often than bands from elsewhere, but I won’t change my rule: I only want to write about bands I feel I can honestly recommend.

And I’m not bending the rule when it comes to 7 Horns 7 Eyes or Stealing Axion. They are extremely talented bands making music that ought to be heard far and wide. So, from my perspective, it’s extremely cool that these two bands have managed to arrange a tour together, sponsored by Guitar World. It’s called the DUAL DESTRUCTION TOUR, and I expect that’s what they’ll bring — destruction.

We’ve reviewed both of these bands’ most recent releases (7E7H here and Stealing Axion here), and in fact we got the privilege of streaming the new 7H7E album. But we have two more things to throw your way today, besides the tour schedule, which is still being expanded (see the current schedule after the jump).

First, we have one pair of tickets to give away, courtesy of Century Media, in a market of the winner’s choice. I’m going to make this contest really simple. Send me your name via e-mail to islander@nocleansinging.com. I will put each name on a slip of paper and put all the paper slips in a bowl. Rather than smoking all the slips, I will instead ask my non-metalhead wife to pick one of the slips from the bowl, and her pick will be the winner. I will then smoke all the rest of the slips. This contest will end at midnight, Pacific Time, on May 11, 2012

True story: this ticket offer came my way from Century Media minutes AFTER I wrote the balance of this post. If that’s not a freakishly felicitous coincidence, I don’t know what is.

Second, I have for you a play-through video by Stealing Axion drummer Blake Ferris. Watching and listening to this video brings to mind a question I have about skilled metal drummers every time I get a bird’s-eye view of their performances: How they do this? Continue reading »

Jan 162012

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the 2010 EP of a Tacoma, Washington, band called Stealing Axion — whose debut album is on the way — and we’re offering a free NCS download of the EP, too.)

Some of you may recall that not long ago I engaged in a bit of a fueled rant about djent in which I suggested (among other things) that the term should be replaced with “progressive groove metal”.  A lot of the best bands who have come out of this so-called djent scene often REALLY have nothing to do with “djent”.  Sure, they might incorporate a Meshuggah-like moment here and there, but when it comes to bands like Textures, Hacride, or in this case Stealing Axion, they simply do not fit into the djent mold as most people understand it.

This self-titled EP came out in 2010, perhaps a bit outdated for some who read this site for the newest and coolest in metal badassery, but Stealing Axion is no band to scoff at.  I’m mainly reviewing this EP as a prelude to the band’s debut full-length, Moments, due this year, which I also plan to review.  So, consider this review a primer and a sampler of what’s to come.

Stealing Axion is an unusual band indeed.  A band who borrow from Tool and Sevendust just as much as they do Meshuggah or Lamb Of God, Stealing Axion is ramping up to become a new leading force in the progressive groove metal movement, delivering a diverse sound that remains monstrously heavy at every corner, with a stunningly crushing mix brought by Acle Kahney of TesseracT fame (who is also  mixing and mastering Moments). Continue reading »