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Axehammer - Marching On

Marching On
by Eldad "Blacknasa" Stainbook / Michael "MettleAngel" Francisco at 04 October 2012, 7:50 PM


Check this out, these guys released their first demo on 1983, don’t rob your eyes it’s true 1983, that’s the year where some of the legendary and life changing album were released like DIO’s “Holy Diver", ACCEPT’s “Balls To The Wall" and QUIET RIOT’s “Metal Health” (Only a few of the amazing albums released back then) and then they disappeared just to resurface again in 1988 with another demo, only that on 1998 they released an EP just to wait seven more years before releasing their first album in 2005 and now that’s there second release on 2012 after a long silence, I do have to say that there were some changes in the band however I’m not going to share all biography of thirty and something years. AXEHAMMER play what I like to call pure Heavy Metal and they like to call it US Metal very similar to bands like JAG PANZER and even late 80s JUDAS PRIEST. These bands have an amazing thing in common as they all have a great frontman and great music, so what about AXEHAMMER?

The album starts with “Walk Into The Fire” and from that song, it will be easy to understand about the band’s style that it’s mix of the early days of Power Metal with classic early 80s American Metal, boy that is such a great combination. From the first song we can figure out that there will not be any guitar sawing or heavy deathly riffing only classic harmonic passages.

“The Dragons Fly” begins with an epic intro, mark my words as you will not forgot this intro so easily. What could be heard in “Walk Into The Fire” is now obvious. Kleber Mandrake, AXEHAMMER’s frontman does deliver, soaring screams like Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin” of JAG PANZER and even Rob Halford. Maybe Kleber doesn’t have the exact vocal range and quality as these two great ones I mentioned, but he does know how to reach high ends with a sensation as if you are about to go soaring to the sky like the dragon’s fly.

Coming as the third on the list, “Swing The Steel” fucking delivers with an amazing opening riff and god like bass playing alongside the main riff played along with it. This song fucking rocks. Kleber shows some different vocal style, however he didn’t let me down. “Fire Away” shows a few Glam Metal features that erodes quickly into US Metal riffing with great tempo and again immense bass work by Horacio Colmenares. Honorable mentioning goes to “Flesh Machine”, great song that follows that more European Metal pattern but yet again great job by all bands member, riffs, bass, drums and Vocals, a pretty solid offering.

Five out of eight are great songs as the other three are adequate. I do think that  AXEHAMMER succeeded to revive US Metal after with their offerings, especially when their local scene is being dominated by the New American Metal, kill me if I understand why.

Overall great album and effort by AXEHAMMER, I can only say that part of some Production glitches (like always) the band did a great job on all aspects and I hope that we will not have to wait another 7 years for the third.


The lords of the realm – AXEHAMMER - are back for vengeance, again ready to rise up with passion and power. These wind riders of destiny re-awaken the fire that burns within us all to hear True Traditional US Metal. If you are fans of DESTINY'S END, STEEL ASSASSIN, PHARAOH, GOTHIC KNIGHTS, LIEGE LORD, SEVEN WITCHES, etc. or any of the Classic Metal acts signed to Pure Steel Records such as ASKA, ARTIZAN, OMEN, ZANDELLE or EXXPLORER, then these demon killers will slay your souls, like when they slayed the dragon of the shadowlands. In fact, Horacio Colmenares has joined the band on bass, and if you are a fan of his guitar work with NEW EDEN or STEEL PROPHET, you know just what to expect with his dynamic delivery.

Breath deep the dark wings of fire and fretboad transition, as long term member Jerry Watt continues to deliver his sacred waver with each swing of his axe, hammering salacious steel chords into our mettle hearts. His style resembles Jack Frost, Larry Barragan of HELSTAR, or Dan DeLucie from CRESCENT SHIELD. While dancing with demons in his head, never sedentary drummer Joe Aghassi is destined to deliver that punishing and pulsating blow until the living end.

New vocalist Kleber Mandrake has a decent range reminiscent of what Wade Black or Todd Michael Hall of REVERENCE reveal, but he is not as accomplished as Joe Cameau, James Rivera or Bobby “Leather Lungs” Lucas; although much of the music does mirror “Return Of The Snow Giant” by OVERLORDE.

AXEHAMMER stand and deliver, and every song has merit and worth, and will surely fire away and allay any fear that they are the real deal. The stand-out tracks would definitely be “Swing The Steel”, “Midnight Train” and “Cemetery”. Here armed with sword and shield, they step outside the myth and mystery and almost take a macabre horror stance, as they deal with desperate subjects.

Sadly, I do not think the songs are as infectious or as memorable as what their sophomore album “WindRider” delivered. I must also comment on the deplorable production, which sounds more like a demo recording, than a full-length release.

I will never forget when I purchased the Sentinel Steel Records re-release of the self-titled (EP). I did not know about the band prior to this, and I have supported them since. For a band that has existed for over three decades, and only released three albums, they definitely have to deliver quality material. I understand that original vocalist Bill Ramp had to step down due to illness, I just miss his gritty affectations and ability to make the songs resonate more.

Overall, this is an excellent album, which suffers from poor production, and less than exceptional songwriting, but it still deserves recognition and praise just for the fact that the band are still breaking down the walls, and that despite all odds they continue marching on!

4 Star Rating

1. Walk Into the Fire
2. The Dragons Fly
3. Swing the Steel
4. Midnight Train
5. Fire Away
6. Demon Killer
7. Cemetary
8. Flesh Machine
Joe Aghassi- Drums
Jerry Watt- Guitars
Kleber Mandrake- Vocals
Horacio Colmenares- Bass
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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Edited 27 January 2023

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