I’m not an expert in crust punk by any means. I do however like a fair number of bands who utilize the style as it’s a perfect fit for metal, if you ask me, and I know you did. That, and that Amebix is fucking amazing. That’s my crust knowledge. Axegrinder is a band that seems to keep popping up on my radar recently and when I heard that it was 80’s crust punk and that Peaceville put it out way back in the day, my interest was piqued. Come to find out this one and only full-length album of theirs is considered classic for crust punk and the band has a cult appreciation as a legendary band. Who’d of guessed? So with that I dived into The Rise of the Serpent Men.
To my ears, Axegrinder veer more towards the metal side of crust. I’m sure in 1989 there was less band exploring the limits of the style seeing as Amebix was busy inventing it, but this one is more metallic. The harsher vocals help with that as well. For the most part the album goes about mostly the same, they lure you in with quiet, bass lead, acoustic guitars, or synthesizers then jump to the mid-paced crushing, dirty, fuzzed up guitars and heavier sections. It’s a gloomy fucking record, dark and dirty, but engaging.
Now it might be remiss of me not to mention the obvious Amebix inspiration here. At times it’s very similar and maybe borderline tribute, but it does have a similar approach as to Amebix’s Monolith. However, that doesn’t keep me from enjoying this on it’s own. It’s still a killer album and a good example of the eclectic nature of these early crust albums.