When you’re standing before an Axel Serik opus, you can't quibble over genres. Multiple canons inform his work but he isn’t concerned with any form of piety to their conventions. Rather, Serik takes an involved approach towards unpacking their historicity and mining from their overlapping trajectories transcendental sounds with incredibly resonant power. Today, he exhibits the latest iteration of that in his debut album Left Behind under his guise as Navire Creux.
Given the sweep of Left Behind, the christening of Navire Creux is apt. The term is French for "hollow vessel" but Serik's endeavour is very obviously not without substance. The moniker is his license to make art with a blank slate every time he wants to. There is nothing governing his pen other than the intimations of his vision. And on Left Behind, the spirit that governs it is the drive towards cathartic deliverance. The creative process of the album provided a psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions; it helped me with filtering my soul to pave the way for not only the work I create today, but acted as a process of letting go of what no longer serves me, bringing me closer to the evolution I’ve always yearned for", he states.
"Letting go" manifests herein in broad strokes overlaid with impressionistic detail. The eight-tracker is prog-and-post-prefixed but not cloyingly so. Riff-heavy, groove-suffused and propulsive when you’re not expecting it to be, it also bears the air of finality – that the mythos of Navire Cruex terminates here.
Epic flourishes are everywhere. The opener 'Fate & Time' goes through several changes in time signature. But every shift is accompanied by a sky-parting guitar passage and a voluptuous measure of bass.
Such is the lay of the land that the songs help the listener write their own stories. Songs such as 'Flummox' and 'Fall of Humanity' are emblematic of this. Both are heavy and sludgy but have deep-burrowing harmonics that are far from just background noise. And then there’s straight-for-neck rock in all its kinetic, Technicolour splendour. 'Another Human to Love' and 'Novitate' are leviathan bangers in the best and truest sense.
If all this is Serik’s kiss-off to old ways, then, it’s a magnificent parting gift. If it does indeed give him, "the space to revel in new energy", then we absolutely can’t wait to behold what comes next and after.
Listen to it below.