|Review: Axxis - Utopia|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: August 23, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Picture this: it's bang in the middle of the "Great British Summer" and it's a truly horrible day, winds a roaring and the rains a pouring, my spirits are low – looks like the beach is off. Fortunately for me I have a shed-load of albums to review and at the top of the list we have the latest Axxis release. Turns out Utopia is the exact order of the day, over the top, hyper melodic, super catchy and most of all ridiculously fun. While it's gray outside, my room becomes lit up. It's hard not to smile with these guys – but that's always been the case with Axxis. I love a band that puts the fun into metal – I mean don't get me wrong I love dramatic albums featuring grim tales of horror, plague, and death but sometimes I need to cut loose and have fun! These guys are certainly one of the best around today at just that matter. Of course I have to give a special mention to the album cover because quite frankly it's one of the coolest I've seen this year, and what's not to like about a lady with a fire whip straddling a sea serpent? If you were familiar with the last Axxis release, this is more of the same only better and they've certainly done away with a few of the offending matters from Doom of Destiny. Utopia is hands down a better album, featuring superior production and musicianship and of course greater songs.
Obviously this wouldn't be Power Metal without the mandatory intro (I'm slowly becoming more accustomed to these as of late.). After the intro we have the immense title track and honestly it's hard not to smile (which can lead to bizarre looks on public transport.) As always Bernhard Weiss' vocals are as much fun as ever – if you like Kai Hansen, chances are you're going to love this guy. Immediately noticeable is how much the guitars have improved since Doom of Destiny. Marco Wriedt really does take names and kick ass here. Despite bearing one of the more laughable song titles I've seen in a while "Sarah Wanna Die" stands out as one of the finer tracks on Utopia – and certainly one of the catchiest. "My Fathers' Eyes" is the weakest link here, although the intro piano and guitar solo both sound fantastic. "The Monsters Crawl" features a cracking intro riff although I'm still quite unsure how to take the bizarre keyboard effect used over the top of it – which slowly becomes more frequent during the later tracks, admittedly taking a slight dip in quality when compared to the first 4 or 5, especially the more mid-paced numbers as these guys work far too well playing fast. However the album closer "Underworld" is an awesome double bass-fueled Power Metal gem featuring a damn fine chorus and quite possibly the best song these guys have ever penned – it's just so goddamn fun!
Overall it's hard for me not to recommend Utopia. Axxis are a superb act who deserve more recognition, despite a few niggles (and of course my wish of an album filled with tracks like "Underworld") Utopia is a very strong release which certainly blows Doom of Destiny out of the water. Power Metal fans you need this in your life even just on the strength of "Underworld" and the title track. If you're feeling down, I'd suggest ordering this album; it certainly brightened my day up. Recommended
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Review: Utopia (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
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