Axxis: Utopia

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Axxis: Utopia
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Axxis: Utopia
Heavy Metal, Power Metal
AFM Records
August 28th, 2009
Release length: 49:27
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Utopia is the latest release from the German Metal act Axxis, and is definitely a release that casual listeners can get behind. While not musically over-the-top like many other acts in the style the band dabbles in, much of the album is comprised of simple structures, and vocals that both are unique and frustrating to listen to thanks to it rather nassaly and high-pitched falsetto nature.

If you approach Utopia not expecting anything over-the-top or really flashy, then you’ll be safe. Much of the music sounds as if they are a fun band that is trying to be serious, with the exception of the title track “Utopia”. Even the heavier track “Sarah Wanna Die” has this sort of Glam Rock feel to it, mostly thanks to the keyboards as well as very low, background male vocals. There are also background female vocals thrown in, but not to the killer extent that some of the band’s more recent releases wound up having. The vocals only appear during certain songs and act as vocals to emphasize certain aspects of the song moreso then just being there, such as in the background of “The Monsters Crawl” to make it sound more orchestral. It would have worked if it weren’t for the humorous moment in the song where the music stops except for the keyboards and a very cheesy homage to vampires by singing, in a rather silly way, about sucking blood.

Aside the fact that a good majority of the album being composed of guitar riffs and solos that would best suit a Hard Rock album instead of a Power Metal-like album, what is presented here is not that bad. It has it’s moments, yes, but the only really annoying aspect lies mostly with two elements: The keyboards and the vocals. While the keyboards add a nice element to the music sometimes, instead they could very well destroy a good song, such as with “Sarah Wanna Die” with very high pitch keyboard element during some of the bridges, and “For You I Will Die” which reminds you of something from an old 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System video game. The vocals also prove an issue, sounding rather refreshing and different at first, but the more you listen to it, they will begin to aggrivate the Hell out of you thanks to them being basically one simple nasal pitch. Even the track “Heavy Rain”, which features some variances in the way the singing is done, it still is present because that same monotone style is in the background against the different singing style. By the time you hit the chorus of “For You I Will Die”, you’ll probably be about ready to give up on this one.

But, though the vocals can become gritting and mind numbing, Utopia is not a completely bad album. There are plenty of tracks on here that still kick you pretty hard, like “Utopia”, “Sarah Wanna Die” and “Underworld”. The album is best in small doses after your first few playthroughs, mostly in part of the rather bland vocals. It’s the heavier, more Power Metal fueled cuts on here that really work best with those vocals, and will definitely have you headbanging right from the start of the track. If the band only put more effort into writing more of these heavier tracks, and tried to put their Glam side aside, then Utopia would have been a phenomenal release instead of one that you will get the most joy out of just listening to casually as background music.

01. Journey To Utopia – 1:39
02. Utopia – 3:59
03. Last Man On Earth – 4:51
04. Fass Mich An – 5:10
05. Sarah Wanna Die – 5:54
06. My Fathers’ Eyes – 4:40
07. The Monsters Crawl – 4:44
08. Eyes Of A Child – 4:32
09. Heavy Rain – 4:32
10. For You I Will Die – 5:30
11. Underworld – 3:56
Overall Score: 6.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by AFM Records via Earsplit PR.