I’ve been on a little bit of a post-rock, post-doom trip recently and Oakland’s Daxma has been satisfying the sludgy, brooding metallic itch. Opening with the hypnotic and dreamy, Birth, the band finds a smooth stoner groove set to a thick and weighty production. The sludgy riffs play second fiddle to an eerie melody that remains prevalent through most of the song. At nearly eleven minutes in length, the track never outstays its welcome. A fine start indeed. The second song, Wanderings Beneath the Eternal Sky, begins hauntingly before settling into another solid track. Unlike Birth, this track features vocals, adding another dimension to the bands sound. Abandoning All Hope is a soul-crushing number. I like how the vocals are almost buried in the mix on this track. It is a song that serves up a heavy atmosphere and it is probably my favourite song on the record. Everything just fits together so well and the lighter moments allow the female vocals to serenade you into a dreamlike state. There is also some very nice lead guitar in this weighty tune.
The band hasn’t missed a beat yet and I’m really enjoying this album. The shortest song on the album is AUFHEBEN, it serves as a prelude to the epic Our Lives Will Be Erased by the Shifting Sands of the Desert. This has to be one of the song titles of 2017, right?! Isaac’s vocals on this track sit perfectly alongside Jessica’s violin. I love the addition of the violin on this song. The moment I heard it, I wanted more, it fits the music so well. To my ears, this song is thirteen-plus minutes of doom excellence. The final song is the album’s title track. A melancholy vocal drifts dreamily over the top of more subtle violin and guitar. This song lulls you into a false sense of security before unleashing a flurry of splattering drums patterns and the reoccurrence of that trademark fuzzy guitar tone. It is a fitting end to what is a stunning record in my eyes and it certainly leaves you wanting more.
I feel like I have really stumbled upon something a little special here with Daxma and if you’re a fan of the stoner, doom metal movement then these guys are more than worthy of your time and your coin. Daxma has a new fan, highly recommended.
Thanks, Magnetic Eye Records for sending me a digital copy of this album for review. \,,/
Named after the ritual structure in the Zoroastrian religion used to dispose of the dead, Oakland, CA post-rock/doom metal collective DAXMA (pronounced [dahk-muh]) descends onto the heavy music landscape with no shortage of weightiness, both in their music and their motivations.
Without a doubt, it’s an ambitious band that sets forth with such lofty ideals as:
- drawing lyrical inspiration from philosophical concepts like Marxism and post-structuralism
- exploring the sonic badlands that stretch between Sunn O))), SubRosa and Godspeed You! Black Emperor
- declaring a stance against nationalism, racism, sexism, and totalitarianism
Formed in 2014 in Santa Cruz and comprised of members whose musical backgrounds encompass black metal, psych, and classical, Daxma unites nuance and fragility within a framework of devastating crush that imbues significance to each motif and passage.
Nothing exists without purpose here. To ignore any element or drift away from these otherworldly musical constructions, even for a moment, will just be letting yourself down.
Inspired by philosophical works including Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit, Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling and The Heart Sutra, DAXMA’s debut album The Head Which Becomes the Skull serves as a meditation on the journey of the soul from birth through death.
True to its ethic to subvert hierarchical systems of oppression, DAXMA has no leader. The band’s ambition is to create beautiful and challenging music that is meant for more than passive consumption, but rather to inspire its listeners to action against injustice.
Recorded/Mixed by Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios and Mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, The Head Which Becomes the Skull is available now via Bandcamp and receives its worldwide release through all major download and streaming services on November 17, 2017.
- Jessica – Vocals, Guitar, Violin
- Kelly – Vocals, Bass
- Isaac – Vocals, Guitar
- Forrest – Guitar
- Thomas – Drums
Original album artwork by Leah Jean.
Artistic Collaboration by Stephen Ritchie.