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Axxis - Virus of a Modern Time Award winner

Axxis
Virus of a Modern Time
by Emily Schneider at 11 June 2020, 7:14 AM

AXXIS hails from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and they have a lengthy discography with 15 studio albums. This distinguished Melodic/Power Metal band began in 1989 and have a pretty consistent album release track record. While full album number 16 is in the works, many events of 2020 so far (prominently COVID-19) has sparked inspiration for the band to take a short detour to record the 7 track EP “Virus of a Modern Time”. This EP is essentially music from the theater project written by Bernard and Harry in 2007 called “Prometheus Brain Project” that eluded to many of the events that are happening in these tumultuous times. Bernard is quoted on the new album web page, 'When I thought about the play and the songs we wrote for it at the time, it felt a prophecy had been fulfilled.' This information enticed me more than enough to get this album playing.

“Babylon” opens with a classic sounding speedy Metal riff. The lyrics, of course, are rather grim yet fitting for society as a whole right now. “Boats of Hope” has a darker feel than the first track. There's this ominous feel from the keys and the chuggy guitar riffs. You could almost imagine boats rowing down our own version of river Styx with the ferryman pointing us to our own demise. You're left feeling kind of hopeless after this song ends, truth be told. “Last Eagle” leads in with a cool low bass line and a great beat worth banging your head to. There's some gloomy keys to really help this track about the desperate need to fight for freedom hit home as well. “Mother Money” is a chilling track with how accurate it is about how society revolves around money. The solo in this one is great and I love the synthy keys. Not to mention, you really feel like this song is right in your face, over your shoulder, everywhere with how Bernhard sings with so much intention and feeling.

In comes the title track “Virus of a Modern Time”, the 3 and a half minute version comes first, then a 5 minute one follows. (the longer video edit has a bit more instrumental portions for some extra theatrics)  The whistley sound, much like something from a vintage horror film, is a strangely fitting choice to use in a song about a plague being brought to modern times. I shuddered several times while listening because honestly, this song truly IS prophetic to what's happened and what is currently happening with the virus that has spread across the world. “War Games” closes the album with one last biting track about another screwed up aspect of society; the military complex. This whole song has this 'we're sad but it is what it is' emotion surrounding it, yet the melody is still authoritative and looming; a consistent theme of this EP.

Overall, I can most certainly see why AXXIS was inspired to record this EP in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. There are so many things happening, politically and historically, that this album accurately describes. Everything from plague spreading across the globe, revolution (protests were NOT happening yet when this EP came out in April) not to mention songs about losing freedoms and money being the root of it all is enough to almost make your head spin. Musically too, these guys really know how to paint a picture in audible form. The guitar work was awesome, the keys were eerie and always had the slightly hint of hope in every track, plus the drums really helped build the drama with the bass plus orchestration. The vocals were great too, you could really feel every emotion and get enveloped in the prophecies… I mean, tales being told in each song. This group of German lads certainly know how to play some great tunes with dark yet catchy melodies and just the right amount of shred!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Babylon
2. Boats of Hope
3. Last Eagle
4. Mother Money
5. Virus of a Modern Time
6. Virus of a Modern Time (video edit)
7. War Games
Lineup:
Bernhard Weiss - Lead Vocals
Harry Oellers - Keyboards
Matthias Degener - Guitars
Rob Schomaker - Bass
Dirk Brand - Drums
Record Label: Phonotraxx Publishing
     


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