Archive - 'Axiom' - Cover- 2014


1. Distorted Angels
2. Axiom
3. Baptism
4. Transmission Data Terminate
5. The Noise of Flames Crashing
6. Shiver
7. Axiom (Reprise)


Two years after the band’s great With Us Until You’re Dead, which came along as an emotional manifest fusing orchestral, electronic, sentimental and progressive elements, London-based collective ARCHIVE is about to strengthen their inventive genius and creativeness. Axiom, their epic new album, features all the before mentioned characteristics, however adding a spiritual level full of haunting metaphors.

The opening track Distorted Angels stands out due to its balladesque musical background and its haunting singing. It is very melodic and full of harmonious elements that create a kind of post-apocalyptic scenery. One in which rays of sunshine are cleaving dark clouds. The strings contribute to this dramatic tension, leaving you with great expectations for what’s still to come. The title track Axiom is opened by the church bells of Greenwich – a sound element that became an important part of the album genesis, as Darius Keeler, the long-standing core of ARCHIVE alongside Danny Griffiths, admits. The epic and reviving atmosphere continues, created by an angel-like choir singing background. But there are also darker passages, suggesting that something slightly threatening is creeping through the heavenly realm. The sinister feeling is supported by creepy noises – sort of a monstrous breath. This ambiguous concept is emphasized by beautifully arranged electronic elements, creating a velvet sound driven by dancing beats and guitar riffs. The ten-minute track is a very catchy and stimulating, purely instrumental piece of music. The following Baptism is an energetic, unsettling piece, featuring the band-typical avantgarde style, combining electronic and industrial rock elements. Repetitive lyrics add to this restless song that seems like a desperate call.

Particularly, the album’s seven tracks continuously merge, thereby creating a 40-minute musical experience, which has rightly so been turned into a soundtrack. Transmission Data Terminated is another song featuring complex sound elements creating inquietude, in spite of its contradictory lyrics ‘It’s time for quiet. Let the quiet settle in.’ Shifting between different singers only contributes to this feeling of movement in all of its literal meanings.

The following The Noise Of Flames Crashing is a rather peaceful, heaven-like tune, featuring the piano and a shy female voice. It is one of the more hopeful and sanguine tracks of the album, which the title seems to suggest in an oddly way. Also the proximate track Shiver is more light-hearted, however rather in its sound patterns than in its lyrics. ‘Shiver in the dark’ or ‘No one matters any more’ are only hints to the full range of emotion-soaked lyric poetry.

ARCHIVE‘s new album ends with a reprise of Axiom, featuring orchestral and electronic elements as well as the church bell-ringing. Despite of these closing components, you can’t get rid of the album’s insisting character. It seems unfinished, though its creative beauty is doubtless. As already mentioned, the coherent, significant nature of this album made it a perfect basis for a follow-up project, that is a short film, made by the acclaimed Spanish film collective NYSU. ‘Every time we make an album, somebody says it sounds like the soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been made. Well, this time, we decided to make the movie. We’ve always harbored ambitions to bring together our music and the filmmaking process.’ says Keeler.

We’ve already listened to the album, before seeing the 90-second trailer, being as unsettling as imagined, yet in a different way. The film is rather a dystopian fantasy, reminding on Orwell’s 1984, than a heavenly utopia, as pictured before. However, its themes of despair and strugglewith different vigors are also featured by the film. This reveals how transforming ARCHIVE’s musical landscape into visuals can become a real mission, as NYSU director Jesus Hernandez confirms: ‘Our challenge was to translate the band’s script into images; it’s the most exciting project we’ve ever been involved with.’

As the film has already seen its world premiere on Friday, April 25, the band will perform the album live to accompany the film at a one-off worldwide exclusive performance at the London Roundhouse on May 29. You can preorder the set at

‘Axiom’ by ARCHIVE is definitely worth a lingering listen and can be enjoyed solely or together with the film as a complete experience.

NBHAP Rating: 4/5