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Axxis - '25 Years Of Rock & Power' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 24, 2016    
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A phenomenal package that's well worth your pennies.

For me there are distinct parallels between the careers of Axxis and Helloween circa Michael Kiske. Both bands released two great consecutive albums, Axxis with 'Kingdom Of The Night' and 'II', Helloween with the two 'Keeper' albums. Then an instrumental member takes the band away from their signature sound (guitarist Walter Pietsch with Axxis, Kiske with Helloween) much to the chagrin of fans and falling sales. Said member leaves and the band release a new album embracing the old sound ('Back To The Kingdom' with Axxis, 'Master Of The Rings' for Helloween) and everyone is happy – especially the fans.

I personally gave up on Axxis with the awful 'Voodoo Vibes' in 1997 and it seems vocalist/main man Bernhard Weiss is of a similar opinion as not one track from this twenty-five year celebration of Axxis comes from that much maligned album, which saw the departure of Pietsch soon after.

Last year's double-sided 'Kingdom Of The Night II – White Edition' was one of my favourite albums of 2014, and four of those songs are represented here, including the stirring 'Hall Of Fame' and the emotionally affecting '21 Crosses'. The 'Black Edition' of '...Night II' showcased the more modern side of Axxis, one that I personally didn't care for with the exception of 'Kingdom Of The Night II' which also opens proceeding here (after 'The Kingdom Arises' introduction instrumental), along with 'Venom' and 'The War' which both lose that intrinsic melodic vibrancy that I love about Axxis.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'25 Years Of Rock & Power', recorded in Bochum on 28th December last year (the actual concert itself reviewed by Dave Scott in issue #68), covers the majority of the band's career with the emphasis quite rightly being on the first two albums and the latest release. But the collection is sub-titled 'Axxis & Friends – A Very Special Show' and there are quite a few guest appearances, some more successful than others. Rage guitarist Victor Smolski lends his guitar to 'Trash In Tibet' from 'Access All Areas Live' whilst Hannes Braun (Kissin' Dynamite) appears for the 'Utopia' selection 'Heavy Rain'. Elsewhere, Dawn Of Destiny vocalist Jeanette Scherff takes the part of Lakonia on two of the three 'Paradise In Flames' songs on offer ('Take My Hand' and 'Dance With The Dead'), and performs admirably, although Doro Pesch really takes things a notch higher with her duet on 'Stay Don't Leave Me' from 'The Big Thrill'. However, the guest appearance from Scorpions percussionist Petti Hecht will have you scratching your head and asking 'why?' and when former bassist Werner Kleinhaus appears on stage for penultimate song 'Kingdom Of The Night' it really does seem like somebody's grandfather has mistakenly wandered in off the street and had a baseball hat plonked on his head – he really should've dressed up a bit more Rock 'n' Roll!

Everyone gets up on stage for the final track, 'Na, Na, Kiss Him Goodbye' which was actually covered by the band on their 'Back...' album. Not exactly a most fitting end to three hours of hard hitting Melodic Metal but everyone seems to be having great fun, and really, that's what it's all about.

Anyone who saw Axxis at last year's Firefest will know exactly what to expect – a band on stage having fun while belting out riff after exhilarating riff of the most amazing and addictive Melodic Metal. At three hours long and coming as a 2CD/DVD set complete with extras including interviews and backstage/sound-check footage, this is a phenomenal package that's well worth your pennies. Make somebody happy this Christmas.

Bruce Mee

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