I came across this 3-song demo from a band called Stealing Axion over at the John Petrucci Forum a few days ago and was really blown away by it!
If, like me, there is a Sikth-shaped hole in your heart, you will love what these guys are doing.
Here is a brief bio from the band themselves:
"Stealing Axion is described as a progressive metal band hailing from Tacoma, Washington. Formed in early 2010, they have been working diligently on writing and recoring new, exciting and unique material that many listeners have described as "brutal yet melodic."
After only a few short months of its inception, Stealing Axion has pushed a three song demo of their first upcoming album. The demo highlights their talent for naturally melding complex progressive rock with elements of death metal and fusion. They are currently in their home studio recording the rest of their full length debut album.
Although Stealing Axion was founded in 2010, its members have known and collaborated with each other for many years in various musical projects.
Stay posted and expect the release of their debut album by early 2011."
The demo offers 3 tracks and you can stream it at: http://soundcloud.com/stealing-axion.
It is mighty impressive for a demo - the band have a super-precise 7 and 8 string guitar based sound, with complex riffs, an amazing vocal performance and some really great songs. If you are a fan of Sikth and similar bands like Meshuggah check out their demo and keep an eye on their MySpace page for updates about the release of a full album:
The first track, Everything or Nothing, starts off with an atmospheric sounding acoustic/ mandolin theme reminiscent of Led Zep's Battle of Evermore that is repeated to great effect in the song. After this theme is established, the drums, bass and guitar come in with an aural onslaught over the initial intro. This develops and builds until the downtuned guitars play a tight riff. When the vocals come in, the singer certainly has the ability to not only growl his words, but also to sing melodically. There's lot's of character in his voice and it's a standout performance. The song is well structured and the chorus is memorable.
Next up is Mirage of Hope, which, although rich in riffs, again shows the band's melodic side. The compositions wouldn't be out of place in a movie soundtrack - they have a really striking atmospheric quality.
The final track is Sleepless. The bass tone is simply huge here! Think Doug Pinnick turned up to 11 and you will probably get the idea! The rhythms are complex and intriguing, but still the band manage to create a well crafted song at the same time. No mean feat. Some of the riffs reminded me of Jelly Jam - the project featuring Ty Tabor, John Myung and Rod Morgenstein.
In summary, this demo is a very promising piece of work. I for one will certainly be keeping an eye on these guys and picking up their debut CD when it's released.
I think you will be hearing a lot more about Stealing Axion in the not-too-distant future.