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Axenstar - Aftermath

by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 13 April 2011, 10:50 PM

The last time the name AXENSTAR was officially seen on an album cover was back in the year 2006 when the band released its fourth album, "The Final Requiem". Was it final? Because following that album, there was a complete silence. Why? Good question. But hey, they are back and they boasted with the same musical approach that led them throughout their time under the AXENSTAR emblem. Via the band's new label, IceWarrior / Rock It Up Records, the fifth Metal message was set free from its studio cage and into the hearts of whoever might have found his way into the melodic, yet heavy, side of Metal.

It was as if those past five years didn't hurt the band even for a bit. With a good material there is the band's production. I always found AXENSTAR's up to date sound mischief and others like it, as something of an addiction because it is hard to run away from it. As for the music, AXENSTAR got back to doing what they have been doing since day one and that is melodic Power Metal music that will forever attempt to carve its way into one's memory. There is this kind of a surge that keeps the material breathing with easiness while channeling both heaviness and tenderness under the same sequence.

The heaviness, which crushed with its steel talons, drove straight from the power of the overall music. The riffages, even that some share many common elements with other bands of the kind, were played with finesse and with the addition of melodies, both guitars and keys, they sounded even heavier. I can pinpoint some tracks that blew me away with their heavy features as "Until Your Dying Breath", "A New Breed" and "Agony". However, I can't say that I was that electrified by the guitarists' lead guitar efforts. The rhythm section might be strong, yet where were the quality appetizers?

The tenderness mainly came from the touches of the keys and the velvet vocals of the band's Magnus Winterwild. Although the production wasn't that kind with the vocal section as it was left a bit behind the rhythm section of the guitars, Winterlwild's voice can't be ignored as it was amazing. His performances on "Forever The Pain", "The Escape" and "Dead Kingdom" were a work of art.

To be honest with you, AXENSTAR's contradiction between hard music and soft, and sometimes quite atmospheric, vocals was not so quite distinct than others; yet, they are a part of a sect of groups that is able to impress. Along with that, I must imply that although "Aftermath" presents a well done template of Power Metal, I felt as if most of the songs were similar to one another. AXENSTAR chose to use the way of creating catchy tunes, and they created some superb ones indeed. However, I believe that even if catchiness is that important, the tunes should not be channeling or marking how obvious the similarity between the tracks is. Thus, the "Aftermath" album, in general, will be a another truly great Power Metal addition that holds several of old school landscapes of the 80s, yet, no more than that. 

4 Star Rating

1.Dogs of War
2.The Escape
3.Tears of the Sun
6.The New Breed
7.Dead Kingdom
8.Until Your Dying Breath
9.Signs of a Lie
10.Forever the Pain
Magnus Winterwild - Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Joakim Jonsson - Guitars
Jens Klovegård - Guitars
Adam Lindberg - Drums
Record Label: IceWarrior / Rock It Up Records


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