-- Aäxor gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
I was invited by non-profit organization Stubborn Donkey to come over to their Holiday Thrash-In in Kuurne on July 22, 2017. One of the bands present, Aäxor, had already expressed interest in getting shredded so that night was the perfect opportunity. I sat together with Brecht and Armand to discuss Aäxor upcoming major lineup change, the possibility of an upcoming EP and we talk about Brecht’s charity event Metal Against Child Cancer. An awesome event you should all support! All right, it’s shredding time!

Photo collage made by Bianca Lootens from Stubborn Donkey.

BMS: Good evening, guys. Tell me, how did you begin Aäxor?
Brecht: I used to play bass for the thrash power metal hybrid Eternal Breath but I left that band for personal reasons. Franky, Eternal Breath’s guitar player at the time, said that he would always be available to jam with me should I one day consider starting a band of my own, which I eventually did. And so Franky and I formed Aäxor in early 2016. Armand joined the band shortly after and the three of us began working together. A few months after Aäxor’s formation Franky left the band to focus on his family life. However, Armand and I decided to keep the band going and so we went out to find additional musicians. We’ve had a few different guitarists and vocalists over these past two years but I’m pleased to tell you that we’ve finally established an ambitious, talented lineup that we will unveil in the very near future.
BMS: We’ll talk about that lineup change in a moment but first, does the name Aäxor have any particular meaning?
Brecht: Not at all actually. We wanted to give our band a short, simple name that’s easy to write and to remember. We added the ümlaut to pay homage to the rock and metal bands of old who had such ümlauts in their names like Motörhead, Mötley Crüe and the Blue Öyster Cult and because we consider ourselves an old-school metal act.
BMS: The name Aäxor sounds pretty good in my opinion. Like you said, it’s easy to write down and you can hear the word AXE in it. Yeah, I know, it’s cheesy. Now tell me something about the upcoming lineup change.
Brecht: Tonight was the final show of our current vocalist Nick as well as of guitarists Jonas and Kuba. Nick decided to leave Aäxor to focus his efforts on other music projects.
Armand: Kuba currently has some family related issues and since he lives in Antwerp it takes him a long time to meet up for shows and rehearsals since most of our band’s activities take place here in West-Flanders. As for Jonas, we’re not exactly sure as to why he’s leaving along with Nick and Kuba so we’re not going to discuss that.
Brecht: Not only our lineup will change but so will be our sound. Up till now we played a more classic heavy metal sound but from our next show onwards we’ll be going for a 90s thrash metal sound, similar to acts from that era like Pantera, Machine Head and Sepultura. Our old material will still be present in our upcoming gigs but they will be reworked to fit our new style. We’ll also have a new tagline, at the moment Aäxor’s credo is “Stronger Than Hate.” A line that Nick came up with and was inspired by certain events he had experienced in his life. Don’t ask me what it was because he never told us. But we’re going to come up with a new tagline out of respect for Nick.

BMS: Interesting! Are you planning to release some other recorded material in the near future?
Brecht: We’ve got enough songs written for an EP, however, we haven’t yet planned when and where we will record our stuff. We will bring out recorded material in due time. We’ll keep you informed.
BMS: What other things do you guys do in life?
Brecht: We’re two beer drinking, love making and fun having fellas!
BMS: Just like me, it seems! After all, you only live once!
Brecht: Damn straight, buddy!
BMS: So, Brecht, you organize an annual metal festival called Metal Against Child Cancer. Tell me what motivated you to start that great event?
Brecht: About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately I made a full recovery and now I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been. But I recall one day, when I was sitting in the hospital to rest from my life-saving surgery, that my wife and then 6 year old son paid me a visit. My boy was the first person to enter the room and as I was seeing him standing there at the entrance to my hospital room a horrible thought went into my mind. I was imagining him lying in that hospital bed, suffering from cancer and me standing at that door, hoping he would recover from the exact same disease I was trying to recover from. Although that wasn’t the case, I knew that many families around the world were experiencing exactly the same situation that I was imagining in my mind.
Brecht: So after leaving the hospital I began searching for charity foundations for child cancer treatment and I eventually ended up discovering the Child Cancer Fund of the Ghent University Hospital. I was shocked to see that the Child Cancer Fund’s financial resources were solely dependent on sponsorships and donations. No government money is given the fund at all! So I decided to establish a metal festival for which all profits go to the Child Cancer Fund. The first edition of Metal Against Child Cancer took place in 2009 and featured bands like FireForce and Izegrim. It was a huge, unexpected succes and I immediately decided to make it an annual festival.
BMS: Yeah, I was present at the 2015 edition of MACC and was very pleased with the lineup you brought up that year. It was a varied, all Belgian lineup with bands like the Basement Critters, Hope Erodes, Eternal Breath, FireForce and Ostrogoth. I had a ton of fun there and since it’s for charity, you’ll always have my full support!
Brecht: Thanks, Metal Shredder! You know, during the first editions I relied on both Belgian and international bands but after a few festivals I decided to keep every MACC event 100% Belgian from that point on. As you know, there are a ton of great Belgian metal bands in pretty much every metal subgenre you can think of.
BMS: I totally agree with you, Brecht! Say, during MACC 2016 you played as Aäxor. It must have been a special night, playing at your own festival!
Brecht: For Armand and Jonas it was their first show on MACC. Nick had already played there with his former band Murderset Pieces and Kuba had also been present at MACC earlier as part of another band called Titan. As for me, I’d already played at MACC before as well when I was part of Eternal Breath. But still, it’s a true joy to play at my own festival.
Armand: For me it was truly memorable experience as well. Having fun on stage and supporting charity at the same time. What more does it need to be?
BMS: Nothing else, my friend! So, it there anything else you wish to tell me before we’ll wrap this shred up?
Armand: I know this is a cheesy line, but we hope to as many gigs as possible. We bring old-school thrash metal and love to party well before, during and after the show! Sure, we can keep on talking about how we play, but the best way to discover Aäxor is to see us live on stage!
Brecht: Our next gig is on October 21 in Peer and should anyone be interested to book us, be sure to send me a message via Facebook or contact Isabelle Jonckheere from Metal Fun. As for you, Metal Shredder, thank you for shredding us tonight!
BMS: The pleasure was all mine! Time for the picture!

Aäxor live at JH Tap - Den Kuurne - 17/09/2016