|Review: Axxis - Utopia|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: November 1, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Axxis is a German Power Metal band that plays a style very similar to countrymen Gamma Ray and (early) Mob Rules. Utopia, their 12th full-length album, is full of speedy double kick numbers with some slower, heavier pieces mixed in and, of course, the obligate ballad. Keyboards are used to support the songs, rarely to carry them, and the choruses are absolutely huge. This is "happy" Power Metal at its best.
As stated, Utopia sounds a lot like the early output of Mob Rules, both in sound and tempo. Lead singer Bernhard Weiss sounds quite similar to Mob Rules' Klaus Dirks, right down to the accented English. I bet you could pass off Utopia as a "lost" Mob Rules album, circa Savage Land or Temple of Two Suns, and few would notice. Utopia is hardly a lame rip off, however. Far from it. The bottom line is Axxis have recorded some killer songs for Utopia. Extremely well written (if a bit familiar sounding), the songs are executed perfectly. The riffs are crunchy and the choruses stuck in my head for days after each listen. Weiss has a high mid-range voice that soars over the melodies. He rarely bothers with any high pitched screams, leaving that to some well placed female singers, most notable on songs like the German language "Fass Mich An." Axxis also mix things up, which is very refreshing. "Sarah Wanna Die" (nice title!) has an odd, haunting keyboard intro that sounds like the soundtrack from a new installment of the Halloween movies. "Sarah" is also one of the faster and catchier songs. The title track and the closer, "Underworld" simply burn. The ballad, "My Father's Eyes," while heartfelt I'm sure, lays the emotion on rather thick and is probably the weakest track.
Not merely a copy-cat, but a fully realized effort firmly in the "happy" style, Axxis' Utopia is highly recommended for fans of Gamma Ray and early Mob Rules. It is also a safe bet for those looking to test the Power Metal waters as everything you could want from a Power Metal release is here.
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