AXXIS - Utopia

Axxis - Utopia

11 songs
49:56 minutes
***** ***
AFM

Bandpage

Axxis from Germany have long since secured their place on the international melodic and power metal scene. The band started in 1988 and have been busily releasing albums, making Utopia their already eleventh longplayer. Add to this countless live albums, compilations and singles.

The cover artwork should be enough to understand that Axxis are not always too earnest. The songwriting is, just like the cover, not afraid of using clichés. The band reminds me strongly of Helloween and Gamma Ray, always performing with such exaggeration that you can’t help detecting a certain comic touch. Especially the choruses invite to sing along, which counts above all for The Monsters Crawl, Eyes Of A Child and the title track. Axxis have a good nose for the symphonic and epic, and it’s this talent that sets them apart from most other genre bands that too often end up sounding identical. Another advantage in favour of Axxis is Bernard Weiss’s strong voice that never falters, even in the higher registers. Perfectly arranged choir vocals that tend to accompany the singer furthermore increase the good impression. Even the unobtrusive keyboards fit perfectly the music’s pathos.

Despite all these compliments, some tracks still give me a headache. Fass mich an, the only German sung song on the album, sounds to martial and turns out to be a failed experiment. Father’s Eyes is overall too mellow, and Heavy Rain also never climbs above average. The negative points are clearly in the minority though.

I admit that I was prejudiced against Axxis who in the past were never one of my favourite bands. In their early days, they sounded too polished which made me give up on them. It’s good to hear that the musicians have learned much in all those years. Axxis are obviously not innovative, but still manage to perform their power metal with an invigorating freshness. Just don’t expect them after two decades of existence to suddenly surprise you.

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