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Atlas & Axis - March of the night 3.5/5

Reviewed: 4-1-12


1. The call for help
2. Help me
3. Winter
4. New life
5. March of the night
6. Choice of life
7. Days
8. These words
9. I know
10. Power and might

Out of Switzerland, Atlas & Axis introduce themselves with their self-released full-length debut 'March of the night'. The CD contains 10 songs, but they're all short and the total running time is just over 33 minutes. Normally I would want more from a full-length CD, but the songs are instantly catchy and never drag on, so it's hard to complain about the length. The band's style is heavy/power metal, and very much in the vein of early Iced Earth, though I'm also reminded of the new band Hadean. Just like Hadean's debut 'Parasite', this CD has a lot of crunchy riffs that recall guitar work from Iced Earth's long-time guitarist Jon Schaffer. Other comparisons have popped up to though, like Boomerang, Edge of Thorns, Winterfell, Sencirow, Mystic Prophecy and early Brainstorm. Basically, this is power metal on the heavier side of the genre, as opposed to "happy" power metal like Freedom Call or Rhapsody of Fire.

Vocally, the same band comparisons apply, as Jonas Ambühl has a low voice a la Matt Barlow (ex-Iced Earth), Michael Haas (Hadean), and so on. If you like vocalists from the mentioned bands, you'll surely like Jonas too. Plus, there are a lot of fantastic guitar solos that really highlight some of the songs and make for a short but enjoyable CD. The songs that stand out as the best to me are the galloping track 2 "Help me", the pounding track 8 "These words", the slow track 9 "I know" (the only slow song, which provides a change of pace), and the extremely memorable track 7 "Days", which has it all - catchy rhythm, melodic lead guitar work, great chorus, and since it's so short (both the CD and this song), I usually listen to this particular song a few times during each spin.

When all is said and done, this is a CD that I can easily recommend to fans of the heavier side of power metal, especially those who are into the mentioned bands. This won't be the easiest CD to find since it's self-released, but it's certainly worth the hunt, and I hope we hear more from this band in the future.




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