AXXIS – Utopia

AXXIS - Utopia
  • 6.5/10
    AXXIS - Utopia - 6.5/10


AFM Records
Release date: October 6, 2009

User Review
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Axxis is one of Germany’s Melodic Metal greats. 2007’s Doom Of Destiny garnered a heck of a lot of praise and the band was intent on duplicating that reception with Utopia. The mainstay in this group is Bernhard Weiss. His lofty and soaring vocals have led this group for more than twenty years and he shows no signs of slowing down. Marco Wriedt’s guitar is just as driving as Weiss and Harry Oellers creates quite a lot of atmosphere with his keys. The latter is said to have “recorded millions of keyboard tracks” during the making of this album.

While the group certainly sounds inspired, Utopia is a very tacky album. This is the type of release you really want to enjoy, but can’t because of its often outlandish nature. A song like “My Father’s Eyes”, while meant to be sincere, sounds like it was designed to be too much of a sing-a-long. “The Monster’s Crawl” features the occasional bit of harsh vocalizing, but doesn’t really lend itself to the gloomy sound you’d expect from a track with such a title.

Weiss seems relegated to an afterthought when compared to his counterparts. Even though he can wail, the guitars and keys seem to overwhelm him. In addition, his voice, while clearly strong, isn’t the easiest one to get into. Weiss’ accent is pretty obvious and will hinder many a listener’s pleasure. A lot of the vocal harmonies seem a bit overdone and the grandiosity is enough to have you rolling your eyes.

If there’s a standout track, it’s “For You I Will Die”. Even though Oellers establishes a rhythm that sounds like its been lifted from an early eighties video game, the way the guitars escalate is pleasing nonetheless. One could also argue on behalf of “Fass Mich An”. Seems this is the first time in Axxis’ history that they’ve recorded a track in German.

While this is an interesting and fast paced collection of songs, it’s a bit too eccentric for most tastes. No one will deny the talent of this group, but it just doesn’t add up to create anything remotely close to Utopia.

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