Axis Mundi “Sci-Curious” Review

In the 1970s the world witnessed the birth of hard rock, taking the sounds of 50s rock legends and 60s politically driven folk music and playing them faster, louder, and heavier than ever before. The mid 1980s, welcomed the acid house movement, influenced by the remnants of 70’s psychadelia and Goa trance. Incorporating elements of new beat, drum & bass, and other more aggressive electronic sounds, acid house DJ’s made their way into the warehouse rave scene of the early 1990s, attracting people to the euphoric bedlam of all night dance parties and laser light shows. The 2000s, however, may mark a new musical era of cross pollination and hybridity, fusing rock and electro into something wildly delectable and futuristic.

Leicester band Axis Mundi is delivering this mind-blowing “raverock hyperparty” fusion with their latest, dynamic album Sci-Curious, available June 22. The brainchild of vocalist Shaun Garner, guitarist Gary Frewin, and drummer Matt Frewin, form Axis Mundi and supply an imaginative brand of “nu-electro,” teeming with sizzling electronic hooks and rock melodies. By taking the high-octane rave energy and sounds to rock audiences, Axis Mundi amassed a large following across the UK. Their 2011 debut album Chapel Perilous garnered critical acclaim, with Kerrang! DJ Emily Scott hailing the album as “one of the best samples of new music we’ve heard in ages.”

Sci-Curious doesn’t leave fans disappointed. It’s a stunning 11 track kaleidoscope of science and music, reminiscent of The Chemical Brothers or The Crystal Method supported by the socio-conscious hard rock edge of Enter Shikari. “E-bomb” displays streamline transitions between high drum & bass vigor and honeyed alt-rock smoothness. Garner’s rock vocals and the song’s sci-fi lyrics mesh perfectly with the pulsing and often gloriously chaotic backbeat. Black Sun Empire meets Rage Against the Machine meets Carl Sagan takes sonic form in “Science Junkie.” Axis Mundi slows things down with “Shut Down the Rave,” which showcases Garner’s astounding vocal range and an almost vintage glam-rock vibe. Clocking in at nearly 10 minutes, “The Astounding Fact” is arguably one of the best tracks off the record. It’s evocative of a 12th grade chemistry textbook on steroids and shots of adrenaline, with a synth rock-infused soundtrack that is sure to be a mosh-pit catalyst. “Only Genes Can Judge Me” and “The Gospel According To Science” are auditory missiles of electronic intensity, seemingly bizarre Molotov cocktails of rhythm and passion that somehow converge into something both sonically beautiful and intellectually stimulating.

Sci-Curious manages to impeccably reinvent the sounds of the raging all-night, glow-stick adorned and bass-pounding acid house parties of yesteryear. Intelligent and aggressive, Axis Mundi’s high quality song-writing and instrumentation turned what could have been a failed concept record into something otherworldly and brilliant. For fans of electro-rock, and groups such as Pendulum, Rage Against The Machine, Enter Shikari, Black Sun Empire, or The Prodigy, be sure to check out Axis Mundi’s Sci-Curious, available June 22.

-Lauren L.


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