With Jens Borgen, of Opeth, Symphony X and Devin Townsend fame, behind the production desk, Boil’s thirds album aXiom carries high expectations. A concept album that explores paranoid schizophrenia and the very meaning of truth itself, it’s safe to say that aXiom is something of an ambitious beast.
The theme of biploarism underpins the musical structure of the entire record, with nearly every song jumping between jagged angular riffing, accompanied by harsh vocals, and the Danish band’s take on melodic progressive rock. The influences of Tool, Karnivool, Porcupine Tree and Textures are evident throughout, with Boil borrowing ideas from across the progressive metal spectrum.
These influences are most apparent in Jacob Løbner’s undeniably impressive vocal performance. On tracks like early highlight A’t The Centre of Rage’, Løbner channels Maynard James Keenan, Jonas Renkse, Chino Moreno of the Deftones and even Hansi Kursch in a couple of bombastic moments. Other standouts include the near-eight minute long ‘Vindication’, the emotive ‘Moth to The Flame’ and ‘Blink Of An Eye’, which punctuates savage aggression reminiscent of Hacride with vocally-demanding chorus sections.
aXiom is a competent, atmospheric and highly professional progressive metal release all things considered but the myriad of influences and sonic touchstones hint at its main shortcoming. Unfortunately it doesn’t have much of a musical identity of its own. While it’s full of ideas, few are original and there’s a sense that while Boil have upped their game in terms of songwriting, they haven’t quite succeeded in making an otherwise highly impressive production truly their own.