Portugal might not necessarily be a country that produces metal band after metal band on the international stage, instead it produces a range of metal bands with the potential to. Naturally the first metal band to spring to mind would be Moonspell, arguably the most successful Portuguese Metal export since the scene first emerged. However one of the latest bands to find the path to international recognition is the grindcore outfit Axia, whose latest album "Pulverizer" (released via Selfmadegod) is a brutal force to be reckoned with; album was mastered by Peter In de Betou (Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, Meshuggah, Hypocrisy). GMA was able to grind the band down and to analyse what makes Axia, Axia.
For those who have not heard of Axia, could you please give us a history of the band?
"Hello. We're basically a group that have been together for quite a long a time, collaborating with other bands and projects. We frequently tour and write music very often, and was the genesis of Axia. One day after listening to a stack of songs and realizing that it followed a musicality that wouldn't fit in any other of our projects, we decided that would be necessary to create a new identity capable of bring those tracks to life."
What do your families think of your music, and when did you get your first taste in metal music?
"I've been consuming music ever since I can remember of my existence. I was still a child when I first started to collect entire tape discographies from the 60's/70's, heavy metal was gradually introduced during my curiosity incursions through my friends collections.
I think metal music eventually became much more respected and user friendly than it used to be 20 years ago. People tend to respect and appreciate the musical/skill abilities from a given musician, even if they do not enjoy the music there's a lot more recognition and value."
What enticed you to play Grindcore? How would you define your sound?
"Extreme metal as always given me a sense of excitement and freedom. There's such huge energy stream gleaming when the music is playing that it makes the heart beat synchronizing with the the tempo.
I wouldn't describe us as a grindcore band, I rather say that The backbone of AXIA‘s music is an hybrid raid of extreme paced songs, infused with infinite levels of self-inflicted negativity and hopelessness."
What was reception like for your album "Pulverizer"? Was there a album launch party?
"We're still collecting opinions and reviews about the new record, but so far the reactions are quite above what we initially expected. We did a release show during the almighty SWR - Barroselas Metalfest XXI, along with a line-up of awesome bands which actually went pretty great."
What challenges do you face as a band in Portugal?
"Well, Portugal is developing quite fast during the last couple of years. Things have change a lot and nowadays the only obstacles are the geographical position and of course the low wages. Musicians are getting better and more ambitious, there's a lot more planning and creativity."
What is the general attitude towards metal music in Portugal like? Is it well supported?
"If we take in account the population size, I would say that Portugal is one of the best countries to play live shows. With a good promotion campaign, an underground show can easily achieve a massive attendance of 200/500 people depending on the band popularity."
What is the metal scene like in Porto? What venues, bars, etc are there? What sights / attractions could you recommend to metalheads to go and see?
"Porto became a crucial landmark in what regards to music, there's very few chances that any band won't play Porto during a tour that features the peninsular area. There's many great places to visit, to enjoy live music or simply to listen and buy old rarities. Make sure you don't miss Bunker Store, Piranha, Zhe isuisria."