Axenstar - The inquisition 4/5

Reviewed: 5-13-05





Tracklist:

1. The fallen one
2. Under black wings
3. Salvation
4. Inside your mind
5. Daydreamer
6. Drifting
7. The burning
8. Run or hide
9. The sands of time


It was just a few weeks ago the 3rd CD from Thunderstone was impressing me, and already I've got the 3rd CD from Axenstar doing the same thing. While Thunderstone's 3rd CD 'Tools of destruction' was an improvement over their previous CDs, this 3rd CD from Axenstar 'The inquisition' isn't really an improvement over their previous CD 'Far from heaven'. But 'Far from heaven' is an excellent CD, so Axenstar didn't necessarily need to improve, as Thunderstone desperately did. As if these 2 outstanding releases aren't enough, we've also recently been blessed with releases from Dreamtale, Celesty, Twilightning, Freedom Call and Sonata Arctica. This fast-paced power metal style seems to be getting amazingly better (much to my surprise), and I'm glad I'm in the middle of it!

Although the clear vocals from Magnus Winterwild were good on their debut 'Perpetual twilight', he really seems to shine on 'Far from heaven' and 'The inquisition'. He's a bit dry, with a limited range, but I find his nice tone makes for a very refreshing listen. With the perfect chorus, his clear voice is fantastic, and there are definitely some songs that supply the wonderful choruses! Track 2 "Under black wings" is the first example of this, and the 2 seperate guitar solos on the song are instantly memorable. Track 7 "The burning" is definitely my favorite though, with its amazing melodies and catchy guitar work. The song is in the perfect place on the CD too, bringing the CD back up to its high level after being brought down by the preceding (very disappointing) ballad "Drifting" that doesn't even come close to matching the powerful "Northern sky" from 'Far from heaven'. Thankfully, "drifting" is a short song and doesn't really detour my concentration or cause me to hit the "skip" button. There are some songs that lack good melodies, but are saved by the overall excitement and pace of the CD, and don't bring the CD down much (yet don't take it to the next level either).

I've found Axenstar's best guitar work to exist on 'The inquisition', as every catchy song leaves me wanting more. The production is top-notch and the short length (clocking in at just over 40 minutes) really draws repeated listens. With the latest output by the mentioned bands constantly rotating, I'm going to be a happy power metal fan for quite a while. One thing's for sure, this is a tuff one for me to pop out of the CD player!



CLINT




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