The Thin Line Between

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For a band named after the human nervous system, Neuraxis sure know how to make their fans nervous, and their fourth full-length, The Thin Line Between, sees them ushering in yet another different lineup after parting ways with longtime vocalist, Ian Campbell, and founding guitarist and creative leader, Steven Henry. Now, bassist Yan Thiel is the only remaining original member, and how often do you actually hear the bass player in death metal? Not often, let's be honest, but, for what it's worth, there's no discernible stylistic difference or artistic shortfall between the technically challenging death metal presented here, and what came before. In fact, the album's title probably alludes to the very nature of Neuraxis' chosen sound throughout their career, as they carry on sprinting along a thin line between the intricate proficiency of their playing and the brutal savagery with which they attack their instruments, and deliver those requisite Cookie Monster growls. As a result, eyebrow-singing scorchers like "Darkness Prevails," "Deviation Occurs," and the prolonged beating of a title track match their muscle against everyone from old-school technicians like Disincarnate and late-period Death, to fellow Canucks like Kataklysm and Cryptopsy. Like those bands, Neuraxis aren't ones to regale listeners with ample melodic elements, but rather weave them tightly around their low-pitched, labyrinthine riffing (e.g. -- "Versus," "Oracle"), rarely stepping off their distortion pedals long enough to add some acoustic intros to highlights "Wicked" and slow building finale, "The All and the Nothing," and for the unexpectedly gentle interlude "Standing Despite..." Extreme metal fans wouldn't have it any other way though, and since The Thin Line Between asserts that no amount of musician turnover can stall the Neuraxis locomotive, anyone who can't stand the ruthless pace might as well jump off while they still can.

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