Axxis - Paradise in flames 3.5/5

Reviewed: 5-12-06


1. Paradise in flames
2. Dance with the dead
3. Tales of glory island
4. Take my hand
5. Will God remember me
6. Talisman
7. Don't leave me
8. Lady moon
9. Icewind
10. Stay by me
11. Gods of rain
12. Passion for rock
13. Break your soul (bonus track)

I have always enjoyed the larger than life vocal style of Bernhard Weiss from Germany's Axxis. This face to face frontman and company have been consistently recording hard rock and melodic metal CDs for almost 2 decades. Each CD bears marked improvement and refinement as the band ages gracefully. Axxis originated in the late 80s amidst a whole warehouse of powerful exports from Deustchland. In '88 they were signed to EMI based on the label's ligature and entrustment for their 'Tears of the trees' demo. Shortly thereafter they released 'Kingdom of the night' in 1989 which was the most successful debut ever release by a German melodic rock outfit up to that time. Back to the kingdom of present day and several line-up changes later, Axxis recidivates and reciprocates with the big thrill and passion for rock on their road to never neverland with 'Paradise in flames'. I feel like I must have taken a trip in their time machine since this CD is such classic 80s metal! As usual the music is pure & rough like the burning rain with hints of the lazy sun shining with resplendent female vocals during duets performed by Lakonia and Bernhard. Another day has passed and C'Est la vie, voila there are more choirs chanting and orchestrations accomodating. The voodoo vibes ventriculate with variegation due to prinking production mixed by Denis Ward (PC69) and mastered by Jurgen Lusky from the House of Audio studios. The lyrics are erudite and breathtaking with well discerned themes emphasizing empathy for everday real relationships with "Don't leave me" or "Stay by me"; spiritual soul-seeking concepts like "Will God remember me" and "Talisman", epics like "Lady moon", and ultimately their love of metal: "Passion for rock".

The CD begins with the title track as an opener presaging the track "Dance with the dead" which is just jostling. Next up is "Tales of glory island" recalling the glory days of Running wild & Stormwitch. Even though Axxis consider themselves to primarily be a rock band heavily influenced by the music of the 70s & 80s, I assert that they play power metal more proficiently than the overflow of overconfident Helloween clones. The guitar work of Bernhard and Guido Wehmeyer is so reminiscient of classic 80s Helloween, Scanner, Rage, Chroming Rose, and so many other major acts of that era, who have now become rather staid and sluggish. This is seldom the case with Axxis as every song has some degree of intellectual confluence and an endorsible quality. Consider the song "Take my hand" where the convulsive collocution between Bernhard and Lakonia furtively focuses on the marital malaise and amicable ability of a loving relationship; all the while the guitars have such a hardy harmony. The keyboards played by Harry Oellers unlock the mysteries of this music without ever upstaging or usurping the driving guitar sound with too much symphonic suggestion. Andre' Hilgers' drum technique really resembles Stefan Schwarzmann and Uli Kusch. He knows when to speed up and rage, and when to relent in order to provide adequate room for guitar and vocal vicissitudes.

A song like "Icewind" has such a pummelling pace recalling 'The day after tomorrow' and more matters of survival. This piece is power metal rolling with thunder ready to touch the rainbow. Nota Bene O' Insaniae et Storytellerae diligaveris ex magistris! Through the eyes of darkness one begins to hear the arrival of the four horseman welcoming the dawn of Megiddo. An underlying current to this whole CD concentrates on kharmic retribution and the dance with the dead. Scrupulous scrutiny and exegesis unveils a detailed story involving the listener in a divine dichotomy, exhorting him to become more proactive in his everday decisions to contend with his inner guidance lest he be lost in love with lady moon in wonderland preparing to perish in paradise wondering will God remember me on the battlefield of life?




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