AXXIS - KINGDOM OF THE NIGHT II (AFM Records)
In the past 15 years, I had the chance and opportunity to interview Axxis several times and all together I spoke a few hours with vocalist Bernhard Weiss. Can I consider myself as an Axxis fan or Axxis follower? Perhaps, but one thing is for sure, during all those interview sessions I got to know a passionate musician that is proud and elated about his band that is celebrating their 25th. anniversary in 2014. Dortmund is the city in Germany where the members of Axxis resides and this is the place where the magic happens; The lyrical themes of Axxis are a combination of fantasy and everyday life and their first full length album was released in 1989 as ‘Kingdom Of The Night’. That album was the top selling debut album of a German hardrock band, and through the years, Axxis evolved from hard and melodic into a bombastic Power Metal band.
Axxis recorded two albums to celebrate their 25th. anniversary, and there is a small guideline to both releases. One of the albums can be called the white album, while the second release can be considered as the black album. The white one contains the quieter material like commercial tracks and ballads, while the black version includes the heavier material. Axxis decided to split both albums in different moods, although they don’t match modern trends, but both contain the authentic Axxis melody and completely stand for themselves.
I decided to start the tour with the white album and slowly switching into heavier material. That would increase the heaviness and seemed to be the ideal way to have an objective report and review on this Yin & Yang situation. ‘Hall Of Fame’ is the first track on the white edition and can be described as a typical Axxis song: heaviness, melody and quality go hand in hand and the vocals of Bernard Weiss add the typical Axxis sound. ‘Heaven In Paradise’ has a more direct approach and the chorus contains a lot of sing along attitude. This is melodic metal that will lingers on for hours and perhaps that’s the secret of Axxis when they create songs in the melodic mood. An acoustic guitars opens ‘Living In A Dream’ and refers to the personal favorite bands of Berhard: Kiss and Queen! The next track has a very personal approach, if we focus on the lyrics. ’21 Crosses’ has a very personal touch as it handles about the drama that happened during the Love Parade 2010 in Duisburg. 21 young people lost their lives being trampled because of a panic reaction. The song ends by mentioning all victims names and that causes a very personal and sensitive approach to this song. The White edition has really great songs with interesting melody lines and musicians that deliver the best of their abilities! After several listens to the White album, I can conclude that the songs and material on this album is perfectly for those that want to hear some extra melodies, and are into the melodic parts with sing along choruses.
On the contrary, the Black album contains songs with more balls and heaviness; As I’m personally more into heavier material, it’s only a matter of taste and preference. Highlights on the Black edition are ‘Beyond The Sky’, ‘Soulfire’ and the amazing drum hooks in ‘Lie After Lie’. It was a good move to start with the white album and increase the speed and heaviness bit by bit, but in the end, I have the idea that both albums are equal if we talk about quality. Depending on your own mood, I suggest to select the smooth songs or the heavier songs, but there will remain one common feature and that’s the quality of the material. Axxis succeeded in delivering a very appropriate result to celebrate their birthday, and it indicates only one thing: this band is ready for the next 25 years ahead of their career! Axxis Official homepage / AFM Records
My rating: *White edition: 86 / 100 *Black edition: 88 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish