Axxis - Utopia 4/5

Reviewed: 8-21-09





Tracklist:

1. Journey to Utopia
2. Utopia
3. Last man on earth
4. Fass mich an
5. Sarah wanna die
6. My father's eyes
7. The monsters crawl
8. Eyes of a child
9. Heavy rain
10. For you I will die
11. Underworld


Less than 2 years after the impetuous and resplendent 'Doom of destiny', Germany's power mettle mavens - our allies of honesty and inspiration, Axxis - recoil with their new masterpiece 'Utopia', which allows for more majestic experimentation, but never too much ear candy. The line-up remains stable with only one substitution: Alex Landenburg replaces André Hilgers, who has become a permanent member in Rage, after Mike Terrana's departure to work with Axel Rudi Pell.

I'm very pleased to pronounce that the fire still burns strong and bright, and again Axxis will not disappoint their fans. They follow the same epic formula of fast songs, emotional power ballads, and mellifluuous, magick melodies which respond with an evocative charasmatic quality. Simply stated, Axxis are pure Teutonic steel, with hard rockin' influences.

I continue to celebrate the vivacious vocal verasimilitude of Bernhard Weiss. He has such a unique range, and quaver. Like Peavey of Rage, Michael "M.A.J.O.R." Knoblich, and Shelko L. Coe from Noise-era Scanner, or even Gerd Salewski from Chroming Rose's tales of golden glory. He has such a mesmerizing wit, and wisp.

Like those aforementioned acts, as well as Angel Dust, Reactor, Insania, and other Germanic creations, Axxis grind their axes with a real passion for rock and metal. Excellent axe-slinger, Marco Wriedt, handles all those exceptional guitar aerobics, with such dexterity and poise, thereby contributing to the blissful harmony felt during the whole experience of 'Utopia'. Harry Oellers contributes his skills with a suggestive talent, accessing the keys, synths and samples, only when necessary; alluding to, and allowing for an integral stardust dance style rave. He drapes and shadows the scene providing the backdrop for some other worldly yet solid entertainment.

Once the "Journey to Utopia" commences, leading into the title track, and a philosophical sojourn of mind, body and spirit, I am instantly captivated by the infectious grooves and capitulating rhythms. I'm utterly enthralled in the essence. I am also drawn into the dynamic drama and ultimate questioning of the meaning of life.

"Last man on earth" is an experience of solitude and relinquishment. I am instantly reminded of the efficacious "Tales of glory island" sentimentality. The rush of adrenaline surges through my veins, as I indulge in the melody cadence. This song surely shares ancestry with "Dance with the dead" and "Blood angel", as well. I am not quite sure about the meaning or mindset behind the pensive "Sarah wanna die", as I only received a digital promo (from AFM Records), but after playing this song, the words continue to reverberate with a decadent, incandescent ring. I embrace the sympathic affectations, and mystery, thereby pronounced and provoked.

"Father's eyes" seems subjective, and focuses on the acceptance of dire loss; for which I am all too familiar. "For you I will die" which begins with a "clip-clop" ping-pong pounce, also seems very personal, and highly emotional. This has a similarity with "I hear you cry". As can be expected, female vocals permeate the presence, peppered by the haunting presence of Nathalie Mol, who still sounds like Lakonia. Her sedulous singing serves to exemplify the contrast, and allow for a mercurial balance and convulsive collucution.

It appears that Axxis has a tendency to concatenate their mettlephysical themes throughout each consecutive release. These kings made of steel and starlight, cautiously ride the tides of change, during the heavy rain and thunderstorms, prevailing through the good times and bad. Whereas, one would assume 'Utopia' would concern itself with brilliance and perfection, which it clealy achieves musically, matching the energy and efficacy of 'Doom of destiny', 'Paradise in flames', 'Time machine', and so many of their earlier flash rockin' accomplishments; essentially, the lyrics are very dark, broodin, and meloncholy. You can almost feel "The monsters crawl" under your skin.

I homologate this adept insistence, as I feel that there must have been a real tragic impetus which has inspired the lachrymose song writing process. This may appear ironic, since the title suggests an almost sense of perpetual bliss and peace. I feel that perhaps this is the ultimate hope that is implied, namely, that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Songs such as the agnostic "Heavy rain", or the utter dismay characterized by "Fass mich an (barrel me in)", thus carry a deeper sense of more solicitous interpretation, and interlocution. As the CD concludes with "Underworld", this forlorn ramification is not necessarily pejorative, but really a wake up call, for living life to the fullest. 'Utopia' therefore exemplifies not just hope, but a supernatural trust and overwhelming confidence in Mankind. It is almost as if life were being viewed through the "Eyes of a child".

I am amazed that with such bleak commentary, the music is so engaging and surprisingly uplifting, and thus very satisfying. Even in the canicular contrast, on the eve of autumn, Axxis maintain their intellectual confluence with such an endorsible magnetism. The special edition will include the bonus tracks "Taste my blood" and a 20th anniversary anthem. I highly recommend adding Axxis to your catalogue, if you are new to this amazing German power metal outfit. Access all areas to secure their noble and magnamimous efforts. They truly have so much to offer. It is not surprising that they are celebrating 2 decades of success.

Now, if you will kindly excuse me, I must return to the kingdom of their rock!



MICHAEL




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