Album Review: Kilter – Axiom (Label Alter-nativ)

Brooklyn trio Kilter will release their first full length album, Axiom, on February 28th, 2020. A follow-up to their 2018 self-titled EP, Axiom features instrumental metal-jazz inspired by the unrelenting hustle and grind of New York City. Founder and bassist Laurent David (Label Alter-nativ) teamed up with drummer Kenny Grohowski (Imperial Triumphant) and saxophonist Edward Rosenberg III (Jerseyband, Heart of Barf) to create a daring and spontaneous work of avant-garde metal.

The album features guests appearances from Andromeda Anarchia (Darkmatters) and Per Nilsson (Meshuggah) and was co-produced by Grammy award winner Marc Urselli.

Possibly taking the award for strangest metal album you’ll hear all year, Kilter’s Axiom can proudly say it’s a very unique listen. Unique doesn’t mean good though and at first, it’s really hard to get on with it. A disjointed fusion of fuzz-heavy guitars, feedback dripping everywhere and seemingly random squeals of jazz, Ax and Spear is bloody weird.

An intro and outro called Beasts of Summation bookend Out of Kilter. Both soft and bassy with smokey inserts of sax, whereas what sits in between them is just twisted oddness.

What can literally be best described as madness in sonic form continues into the noisy bursts of fuzz on New Sun before Vandermeer creates some ear-splitting high pitched screams to ‘enjoy’. On one of the longest tracks, From the Caves of the Quram, Kilter attempt to create something more resembling a structured song but quickly tire of that in favour of jerking about like they’re having a fit. Even with that, it’s easily the most enjoyable track thanks to a much more subtle use of the jazz elements.

Weirdness personified with just 50 seconds of Detention, the moodiest and most ambient sounding track so far arrives in the form of Kafkanated. Their ambition still far from reached, Kilter enter another realm of weirdness with the following Pluto is Not Just A Rock, Pitless Garment and Mover’s Acid.

Admittedly things are starting to seem like inventive and just irritatingly odd at the latter stage of the album. There’s out there and then there is Kilter.Without a shadow of a doubt this is one of the most marmite albums you’ll hear in some time. The thing is, for all it’s utter wackiness, it’s really lovable. Taking some insane risks and coming up with a sound that could only be their’s has made sure Kilter is a name few will forget after hearing Axiom. Behind Your Door and Spherical Bastards almost seem ordinary compared to what came before.

The important word there of course is ‘almost’. Have we mentioned yet that this is a bloody weird album?!

Kilter – Axiom Full Track Listing:

1. Ax and Spear
2. Beasts of Summation (Intro)
3. Out of Kilter
4. Beasts of Summation (Outro)
5. New Sun
6. Vandermeer
7. From the Caves of the Quram
8. Detention
9. Kafkanated
10. Pluto is Not Just Rock
11. Pitiless Garment
12. Mover’s Acid
13. Behind Your Door
14. Spherical Bastards




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Kilter - Axiom (Label Alter-nativ)
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